We have the same number of hours in every workday. It’s interesting, though, that some days feel incredibly productive while others leave us wondering how exactly we spent our time. From impromptu chats in the hallway to social media scrolling, there are many ways to get off track during the workday.

Fortunately, you don’t have to let your productivity remain up in the air. Best-selling author Fran Hauser says you just need to know the three phases to take back control of your time. She says you can cut out the disruptions and distractions and still be a great colleague. How can you do this? We share Hauser’s three-phase framework in this issue of PromoPro Daily.

Phase 1: Evaluate your time. What are some of the common disruptions that keep you from focusing on your most important work? It might be as obvious as getting caught up in too many long conversations or it may be more complex, like needing to take on additional responsibilities. Hauser recommends writing these down.

Phase 2: Decide what to keep doing and what to stop. The next step is to review the list you just made and determine what needs to go and what still belongs on your to-do list. She suggests asking yourself the following questions:

• Does this support one of my personal or professional goals?
• Is this a fundamental part of my job description?
• Does this give me access to a valuable connection or a different part of the business?
• Does it bring me joy?
You may not be able to completely remove items from your list, but you could potentially talk to your boss about delegating them to someone else.

Phase 3: Embrace the power of kindly saying “no.” This is one of the most important skills when it comes to taking back your time. It’s okay to decline requests for your time or projects that you simply can’t take on right now. Say something like, “Thank you for the opportunity, but I’m unavailable at the moment.” If you are declining a request from a client or your boss, Hauser says you can still be intentional about your workload. Try a phrase like, “Yes, I can do that, but it will take the place of X. Does that work for you?”

It’s normal for productivity to fluctuate. But if you start noticing your workdays getting eaten up by timewasters, try implementing the plan above to get back on track.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Fran Hauser is a best-selling author, startup investor and long-time media executive.