Many people who read the title of this article will be scoffing already. “My schedule is my friend? You must not be an adult with things to get done in your day, let alone an entrepreneur like me.” But here’s a radical concept: if your schedule is not your friend, it’s because it’s not really yours.

Most of us learned to hate schedules from the first time our parents put us to bed too early to go to a party or see a favorite TV show. Or the first time we realized we were going to school and rushing from class to class at the ring of a bell. When you’re a child, your time isn’t always your own, and to one degree or another, the schedules of those around you dictate your life.

Once you are an adult, though, the rules have changed—but you may not have changed with them. Does your day feel hectic and scattered? It might be full of things you’d rather not be doing. But where do those things come from? To what degree are you letting other people, or even the old “shoulds” from your past, decide what you do with your day? How much of your time is spent on your priorities? And the real kicker—how much of your time is spent on doing things for other people?

To make your schedule your friend, you need to make sure that your priorities come first. Excellent self-care like good nutrition, exercise, and sleep will make a huge difference in your productivity and clear thinking-make these first in your life. Take a look at what matters most to you? You can’t reach your goals in life—in business, relationships, family, anything—without making time for it. Yet so often it’s the trivial things, the extra favors, the last-minute “please do this one little thing” requests, that eat up our days. Schedule your priorities first, and don’t let anyone else tell you what those priorities “should” be.

Got a comment? A good schedule trick? Ready to declare your freedom from schedule domination? Let’s hear it!

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