1) Manage Your Mood
Most productivity systems act like we’re robots – they forget the enormous power of feelings.
If you start the day calm it’s easy to get the right things done and focus.
But when we wake up and the fray is already upon us — phone ringing, emails coming in, fire alarms going off — you spend the whole day reacting.
2) Don’t Check Email In The MorningTo some people this is utter heresy. Many can’t imagine not waking up and immediately checking email or social media feeds.
I’ve interviewed a number of very productive people and nobody said, “Spend more time with email.”
Why is checking email in the morning a cardinal sin? You’re setting yourself up to react.
An email comes in and suddenly you’re giving your best hours to someone else’s goals, not yours.
You’re not planning your day and prioritizing, you’re letting your objectives be hijacked by whoever randomly decides to enter your inbox.
3) Before You Try To Do It Faster, Ask Whether It Should Be Done At AllEveryone asks, “Why is it so impossible to get everything done?” But the answer is stunningly easy:
You’re doing too many things.
Want to be more productive? Don’t ask how to make something more efficient until after you’ve asked “Do I need to do this at all?”
4) Focus Is Nothing More Than Eliminating Distractions
Ed Hallowell, former professor at Harvard Medical School and bestselling author of Driven to Distraction, says we have “culturally generated ADD.”
No. What you do have is more tantalizing, easily accessible, shiny things available to you 24/7 than any human being has ever had.
The answer is to lock yourself somewhere to make all the flashing, buzzing distractions go away.
5) Have A Personal SystemI’ve spoken to a lot of insanely productive people. You know what none of them said?
“I don’t know how I get stuff done. I just wing it and hope for the best.”Not one. Your routines can be formal and scientific or personal and idiosyncratic — but either way, productive people have a routine.
6) Define Your Goals The Night BeforeWake up knowing what is important before the day’s pseudo-emergencies come barging into your life and your inbox screams new commands.
Define your one or two most important to-dos before dinner, the day before.Bestselling author Dan Pink gives similar advice:
Establish a closing ritual. Know when to stop working. Try to end each work day the same way, too. Straighten up your desk. Back up your computer. Make a list of what you need to do tomorrow.Research says you’re more likely to follow through if you’re specific and if you write your goals down.