You were not born with time management abilities. You may notice that some people are better than others at managing their time, but in most cases this just means they were taught this skill at some point. Fortunately, time management abilities can be learned by anyone.

If you want to do this, however, you will have to make some adjustments in your daily habits and patterns. When it comes down to it, time management is mostly about creating a responsible plan for your day and then sticking to it. With this in mind, let’s explore some proven time management strategies you can start using today.

If you start off your day with the most pressing actions, everything will go more smoothly. When you do this, you get these actions out of the way so they don’t weigh you down.

It’s also a good idea to begin with whatever’s most urgent so that you’re sure to complete these tasks. Very often, things take longer than you think, and if it’s something crucial, you want to do it right and take all the time you need with it. To get good at time management, you must learn to set priorities and do things in order of importance. Never spend time on less important activities if something urgent is still undone.

Don’t automatically say “yes” to everyone. The inability to say no is, in fact, a major cause of many people’s time management problems. If people are in the habit of looking to you whenever they need help, you will have trouble finishing your own tasks. You simply have to learn how to say no when people ask you to do things that will take you away from your own crucial activities. You can still help people out when you can. Your own work has to come first, though, and you aren’t obligated to put this on the back burner for others.

Anyone knowledgeable about time management will tell you that, to be truly productive, you must learn how to delegate. When you attempt to do every task yourself, you will usually run out of time. If you delegate some of the less important but time consuming activities, you’ll have more time for truly important ones.

This way your day will not be spent on hundreds of trivial tasks and you will be more productive and creative. You’re more likely to complete the important activities when you aren’t overwhelmed with smaller ones. If you are like many people, you may have certain problems with delegation. This is just something you have to make yourself do.

You can’t become a time management expert overnight. If you catch yourself procrastinating, remember that it’s a common problem. Diversions are everywhere. No one is productive all the time. Don’t let setbacks discourage you, as everyone has them. Just focus on completing one activity at a time, and things will get done. You will one day realize that getting things done is natural to you. You’ll be able to do this automatically. Then you will be the one others come to for advice on time management.