Time is the one resource in your life that is neither replenishable nor renewable.

Regardless of how you spin it, everyone starts each day on an equal playing field with 24 hours in the time bank. And while people often yearn for more time, what they really need is better time management.

Understanding where your time goes, when you are most productive and why you should protect yourself against distractions are the keys to achieving your max productivity.

Take an inventory of your time: According to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers are putting in more hours than expected, averaging 8.5 hours during a normal workday. Moreover, those who worked on the weekend averaged 5.4 on Saturdays and Sundays.

It’s important to understand where your time is going in order to take control of it to be more efficient during your work hours.

Take an inventory of how you spend your time during a given day. How many hours amount for productivity? How long do you spend checking emails or attending unnecessary meetings? What causes you to work long days or come in the office over the weekend?

Once you understand how your time is spent, you will be able to cut out time-wasters and or delegate tasks that other team members could undertake.

Examine your most productive moments: Whether you consider yourself a morning person or a night owl, everyone has their preferred time of day to work on specific tasks. From creative brainstorming to focused data entry to head-down trailblazing, different types of work are best done at different times of the day.

According to Business Insider, most people function best in the morning and should use the hours before noon to do tasks requiring critical analysis when logic and deduction are at their sharpest. Business Insider also found that the worst time of day for brain function is about 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Protect your margin, avoid distractions: When we are stressed out, overworked or anxious, we tend to be less productive and engaged in our job functions. This usually comes from not protecting your free time, or margin. Interruptions during our day can not only eat into our margin, but they can also derail productivity and cause anxiety.

According to Dr. Donald E. Wetmore, founder of The Productivity Institute, an average person is interrupted 50 to 60 times a day, adding up to approximately four hours per day. Of those interruptions, 80 percent are categorized as “little or no value,” causing three hours of wasted time per day. Over the course of a year, that wasted time amounts to more than 45 days in lost productivity.

Christy Skojec Taylor is co-owner of Express Employment Professionals in Rocky Mount.