In no particular order of priority, here are 10 simple ideas to greater productivity. I say "simple" but they are by no means "easy." Personally, I struggle with several of them, starting with number one:
1. Good is Good Enough
Don't be the perfectionist. I know this one very well. Sometimes we can get so bogged down by trying to get every single detail nailed down to perfection, that the project never gets out into the world. It's a wasted effort.
2. Clear the Work Area
Starting the day with a clean and neat work area makes it easier to get into the flow. It reduces stress at the beginning of the day. Get everything ready to work in advance. Consider an afternoon routine before leaving work that includes cleaning, filing and organizing all items in your work area.
3. Brain Dump
Ever get that feeling of being a little overwhelmed, even paralyzed, with the thousand things you need to do running through your head? Then it's time for a brain dump.
Stop everything you are doing. Pull out a clean sheet of paper or open up a blank Word document. Take a few breaths...and start writing. Make a bullet list as fast as you can. Like the brain "storm" the brain "dump" can relieve stress ease that feeling of overwhelm.
4. Set a Timer
Use your phone or even an egg timer to use time to your advantage. By setting a countdown timer, for example 10 minutes, you can "game" your productivity. You challenge yourself to finish the project within the set number of minutes. Seeing the time countdown keeps your energy level up and fuels your competitive spirit.
5. Be Anti-Social
This is your time to focus, not build relationships. It's not an all day thing, but for a specific amount of time, say one hour. Close your door and unplug from email and social media. No interruptions and no notifications from your phone, iPad or email. At the end of the hour, respond immediately to those who needed you you. Once they know that you will definitely get back to them, they will be more understanding of you being anti-social from time to time.
6. 80/20 Pareto Principle
You've certainly heard of it but do you use it? If you know 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts, how does that change your day? Find the clients, items, or projects which are the most significant and devote more effort for a bigger bang. And if you really want to see results, focus on the 20% of the 20%. Which means that 4% of your efforts can have an enormous impact. Take it to the next level.
7. To Do List
Captain Obvious here. But sometimes just an old fashioned, low tech "To Do" list spurs more productivity. The act of writing it down and then leaving it in plain sight and carrying it with you throughout the day has an impact.
8. Use Technology
After just mentioning low tech above, use the cutting edge technology available to make your life easier and more productive. With the free and $1.99 apps, money is not the issue. Get the hardware, software, and apps to squeeze more out of your workday and commute time. What kind of price can you put on the extra hour a day to spend with your family?
9. Automate Everything Possible
One of the easiest examples of this would be bill paying. With online banking, debit and credit cards, paperless statements, you can totally automate monthly obligations. This saves an incredible amount of time and reduces the associated stress of paying bills. Ask vendors about how you could work together to automate deliveries and other routine interactions.
10. Stop Multitasking
Many times we brag about our multitasking abilities. My wife says women were born to be great multitaskers. But many studies have shown that multitasking, while impressive, is not necessarily the most productive. Focus on "single-tasking" and batching similar tasks to tackle at the same time.
So there are my 10. How about yours? Add to the list via the comment or twitter @davidamoore.