With the fourth quarter of 2017 fast approaching, you may be finding yourself in a situation nobody enjoys.

You check your calendar, then check on your annual goals -- and realize just how badly you miscalculated.

We've all been there.

It's never a comfortable spot to be in, but it doesn't have to be crippling. And, if approached the right way, it can help you become more productive than you have all year.

For situations like these, I like to break things into a target chart with three sections: the things I can't control, the things I have some control over, and the things I am directly responsible for. With a little organization, you'll quickly discover your roadblocks. You can then prioritize -- and de-prioritize -- as needed, and be on your way to crushing your goals.

Let's take a look at each category:

Things you can't control

When you have a big, meaty problem, it's easy to get weighed down both mentally and emotionally by stuff that you can't necessarily control.

It helps to realize these and erase them from your list of fears. In the outer ring of the chart, I'll write these things down.

Coming out with a new, disruptive product and afraid that the market won't accept it? Sure, that's a rational thought - but you have no control over the market's preferences. By simply acknowledging that, and realizing that you shouldn't spend any more time stressing over it, you'll be surprised at the weight instantly lifted off your shoulders.

Things you have some control over

Before considering your direct responsibilities, note the things you have some level of control over.

Maybe one of your goals is sales-related, and while you may not physically be part of the pitch, you still have some influence over it.

Bucket these types of worries into the second ring. You won't be in the meeting, but perhaps you can help prepare a great sales deck, or gather other details to fully prep your sales team.

Things you can directly control

The final ring is where you'll note all the things you directly control. If you're in charge of hiring, and your company needs to bring on ten salespeople, then it's your direct responsibility. Or if you're giving a presentation that could net you new customers, that presentation falls into this category.

The important thing to remember, though, is to never sacrifice the important for the urgent. Consider this example:

If you need to generate sales in June, you'll need to hire in January and February to contribute to that June goal. And while "urgent," short-term tasks may pop up during that hiring process, remember the importance of your long-term goal -- and prioritize accordingly.

Keep a calendar

After that you've organized and prioritized, there's just one step remaining before you can start tackling your goals: Calendarizing.

Breaking down your lofty goals into sizable, achievable pieces is necessary on your path to success, and setting aside chunks of time to make progress encourages this. I have two standing 90-minute "meetings" on my calendar every week that are set aside to work on my goals.

With just three hours a week, you'll be surprised with how much progress you'll make. With prioritization, organization and a clear vision, you'll be prepared to hit those objectives - just as you planned, all those months ago.