I had trouble being productive (work or otherwise) last year and I started ’16 with a goal to be more productive than I was back in ’15. Here’s what helped me.
Wearing headphones / Wear them not to hear music, wear them so you don’t hear anything else. Like your colleague on the same desk talking across the room for the last 15 mins or a car reversing into its spot; small noises cause the biggest disturbances. If you find sanity in music, this works even better. People around you think twice before tapping your shoulder and disturbing you from completing that email.
2 min rule / All tasks which take 2 mins or less to complete, do them immediately. An email which needs an acknowledgement can be triaged up your priority vs. the one that’s going to take you 10 mins to type and may involve a third person. Call your partner/mom to let her know you’ll be late, immediately rather than 2 hours later, when you’re probably already late. Your day is full of 2 min tasks, identifying them is key.
Maximise your mornings / Be it a Monday or Sunday, I always start my day at 830 and get most important things done early in the day. This way I get more (quiet) time to reflect on what happened the day before, what I need/should do today and what can I triage for later in the week. Morning are best because no ones up and you’re at your highest possible energy level.
Get things out of your head and in a task manager / At the end of reading Getting Things Done, I was really surprised how much headspace was wasted with me just remembering things I need to do later. Have a system, keep it updated with everything you need to do and forget it until it’s the right time. Follow the system. Repeat. I use Active Inbox for emails and Google Keep (syncs across your app and web) for notes/reminders.