When both work and play are on the mind, the clock can be a persuasive and tempestuous friend. Working under pressure is a job that mostly everyone is tasked with during the week. There’s really no avoiding it. Deadlines, assignments, projects; they all come as baggage to bear while pacing through life’s exquisite and constant adventures.

Glancing over at the clock during a productive work session (as if it could tell you to take a break) however, is always a dangerous move to make. With each excuse for another sneak peek, it’s always a mystery as to how much time has passed in-between strides. It’s times like these where we slip effortlessly back into the weekend, and give in to procrastination taking the wheel for awhile.

Managing time well is like a glass half-full: things can always happen, but being prepared is half the game. Managing one of life’s classic curve-balls with work piled up from procrastinating is perhaps the worst headache to deal with. Being organized and efficient is a skill that carries through any task, and is one that takes time to develop wholly.

There are many reasons why one might get lost in videos and social media for up to hours without completing anything. Like any vice, however, there is always a way out.

Here are some simple steps to easily becoming a time management pro.

Be Schedule Oriented.

Having a plan is always the best way for preparation. The calendar was invented for a reason, use it. It’s like a best friend: Always looking out for what’s on your plate. The act of even making a calendar can minimize potential procrastination. It’s almost completely a reminder for you, by you, about you!

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Having a schedule in your own words is essential for strong time management. Building these skills is often based around having a schedule. If you really want to get things done, you need this.

Minimize Bad Internet Habits.

Being a student, professional, or even a boss doesn’t change the fact that Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are hurricane forces of internet nature. They exist, period, no matter what. After gaining a false sense of accomplishment by putting a dent in the work on your calendar, all your friends, and videos of anything possible (not limited to endless videos of cats) are just a browser away.

Will power is the key here. Limit yourself to the time you use social media and such during work time. For some, job details include the use of social media. These are the hardest, as work virtually mixes with play. It’s a hole some can fall into for hours, “trolling” the internet. When finally finding yourself under internet hypnosis by Reddit.com, it’s definitely time to get back to work.

Have a Solid Workspace.

Sometimes, nothing can be more frustrating then a cluttered work area during times of pressure. Whether you work from home, at the office, or even from a dorm room, the workplace should be a sacred area apart from the rest of real life.

Obviously keep this area clear of trash, dishes, cans of Redbull; the usual. It can be anything, a desk, a table, even a bed. It is essential, however, to be sitting with your back to a wall. Not a window, not a door, a wall. Having that kind of anxiety is distracting and unnecessary, plus looking over your shoulder is a pain. Additionally, a plant or two is a nice thing to have on a desk that isn’t distracting.

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Be in Control of Devices (Not the Other Way Around).

Among the calendar and clock, smartphones and tablets are worthy contenders for a best friend in times of work. It’s the hub of communication for all means. It’s hard to just check an email when apps are begging to be tapped, and the in-your-face anticipation behind notifications that are just waiting to be uncovered. While these “toys” can be extremely useful in working situations, they can cause serious harm to your session.

A good way to manage the use of such technology is to use apps that help with your work! Applications like Due, Checkmark, and Astrid are used for keeping schedules, due dates, and reminders in your face to keep better track of your days (weeks). These apps help bolster your device use for work-related projects, and not distracting personal use.

Like a well-oiled machine, it takes a lot of moving parts to stay ahead of procrastination and on top of what needs to be done. Having fun is not negotiable, and in serious times of work, it’s hard to keep weekend thoughts at bay.

It’s not easy to cut a stack of work in half with Farmville commanding the computer screen, but efficient time management (without excuses) is the real key to success. The clock might deserve a glance every once and awhile, but no matter how many desperate looks it gets, it won’t lend a hand. Buckle down, own the work, and be the task at hand. Time management is better than being managed by time.

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