Do you have big plans you just can’t seem to make happen or goals you always feel you’re just a few steps shy of reaching? Maybe it’s a business or a community outreach concept. Maybe you have an idea for the next great novel. If you’re struggling to get going, the secret to your success may be in how you’re managing your time.

Holly Hanes is a 20-year corporate strategy veteran who started a new business last year to help other women get out of the rut that keeps them from meeting their goals. But even for her, getting started wasn’t easy – particularly when a pandemic hit the week she launched her podcast!

In the process, Holly leaned heavily on her time management skills and expertise. Her philosophy is simple yet incredibly effective for just about anyone. Here’s her 4 secrets to help you use your time like a pro :

  1. Set a weekly goal

You have to start somewhere, but even that can seem overwhelming. Commit to setting a weekly goal you want to meet that will move you closer to your bigger goal. This can be small at first, such as applying for a business license or making a list of potential customers.

  1. Use your calendar

Next, take a look at your schedule and add 2 things to your calendar related to your goal:

  • Find time in your week to block out 2-3 hours on one day for big picture items like vision work or strategy. This will probably be a day with less on your schedule. For some Saturday mornings are perfect, for others that open Wednesday night is ideal for brain dumping and connecting the dots from vision to how and what that will look as action.
  • Plan on smaller increments of time to execute your plans the other days of the week, the action items resulting from vision and strategy concepts and ideas.
  1. Prioritize

Writing it down on your calendar is one thing, but what about life? We all know the average day rarely goes the way we plan it to. This is where Holly’s Cake Method comes in handy. Each day, plan for 3 things, or layers, to focus on:

  • Your typical 9 to 5 responsibilities
  • Family and/or friend time
  • Working on your goal

Then, treat everything else like sprinkles, or extras. Write down what each layer will look like each day and you’ll be creating time to move forward in a healthy way.

  1. Connect with others

The best laid plans will go nowhere if you go it alone. That’s why it’s critical to find an accountability connection. This may be a coach, a colleague heading down a similar path, or a group that is working towards the same goal – either online or in person. And don’t be afraid of competition! There is room for everyone to succeed and collaboration with like-energy individuals in a similar situation is always helpful.