1. Sort out your priorities. Make time to honestly reflect on your life, and to think about what is important to you. Where are you going? What do you want? What are the steps that will take you there?
2. Focus on the essential tasks. Next, think about your short term responsibilities. Ask yourself: “Out of all the tasks that I have to do, which will get me the greatest return for my time and effort?” Make a list of these types of tasks — they’re your most important things to do this week.
3. Eliminate what you can. Now look at your list. What on the list is not essential? Is there anything there that you can drop from your schedule, delegate to someone else, or put on a “waiting list”. Often when we review these non-essentials later, we find they weren’t necessary at all.
4. Do essential tasks first. Begin each day by doing the two most important tasks. Don’t wait until later in the day as they’ll get pushed aside to make time for other stuff that arises throughout the day. You’ll find that if you do these tasks right away, your productivity will really increase.
5. Eliminate distractions. If you allow yourself to be constantly interrupted by email notifications, IM, cell phones, social media and so on, then you’ll never be productive. Turn them and, if you can, disconnect yourself from the internet.
6. Keep it simple. Don’t waste time on applications that are meant to organise your schedule. Make a simple to-do list with a word document, or with some paper and a pen. Then get started on whatever work you had planned on doing.
7. Do one thing at a time. In most situations, multi-tasking slows you down. You can’t get things done with a million things demanding your attention. Focus on what’s in front of you, to the exclusion of all else. That way, you are likely to achieve more, in less time, and with less effort.