When your to-do list looks longer than it has ever been, it’s way too easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged instead of finding the motivation to work harder to get things done. It’s easier to push it off until later and justify that decision by comparing yourself and your previous success to someone else’s. And that’s exactly how procrastinators start to populate our world. But that is no way to live a successful and utterly remarkable life.

The most important thing to remember when your to-do list creeps up on you or when life throws you a curveball is to stay calm and keep your focus on what needs to get done first. It’s no secret that if you don’t work with priorities in mind, you will never get everything done in time. But how can you make the most efficient progress on crossing items off your to-do list and hitting life’s curveballs out of the park, all while making sure you stay calm and focused during the process? It takes self-discipline and practice, but after you master the technique, it becomes almost second nature.

It all starts with one simple question. Ask yourself if these issues that seem so urgent and pressing in the moment will matter five years from now. In other words, be honest with yourself about everything you need to get done and if it directly affects your path to success and where you see yourself in 5 years. If the answer is yes, put that item at the tippy-top of your priorities, so you can tackle it first. If the answer is no, confidently allow yourself to put it off until you find time later to complete it. In doing so, you will visualize a clear path and action plan to get yourself closer to your goal.

This 5-year mindset is a great rule of thumb for keeping everything in perspective when life gets hectic because it requires your most level-headed and honest mentality. Additionally, this 5-year rule keeps your dreams and the vision you have for yourself and your success in the background of everything you do. And perhaps most importantly, the 5-year rule keeps you calm when circumstances are telling you to be anything but calm. Prioritizing your to-do list with the 5-year rule will allow you the freedom to make decisions confidently. This simple technique reassures you that you are perfectly capable of making progress on becoming your most successful self because it provides you with a crystal-clear starting point, and it reminds you that, no matter where you are at in life, now is always the perfect time to begin.