1. Make a plan for your day. One of the best ways to remain productive is to make a plan for the day. Make sure you know how you want your day to go in advance, even before you start. This can provide you a roadmap for the day, helping you figure out what to take care of first and what to save for later. For this one to work best, create the next day's play the night before so that every morning you spend time executing, not planning.
2. Break larger tasks down into easy to accomplish bits. Do you have a large project that's just so big you keep putting it off? Or maybe you're just unsure of where to begin, so you put it off. A better way is to break the project down into more manageable segments. Figure out what needs to be done first and then decide what can be done next. Splitting a project into smaller pieces can help you feel a sense of accomplish as you check the items off your list, and it can provide you with a way to finish the project without being overwhelmed.
3. Prioritize …ruthlessly. It's important to accomplish the most important tasks first: always set your priorities. Figure out what must be done, do that first and rank the rest of your work according to importance. That way if you don't get to the items at the end of your list, it won't be as big a problem, and you can tackle them another time. You should be as ruthless as you can in your prioritization. If you're doing it right you may hurt feelings, but you'll achieve better results.
4. Block out distractions. As Adam has written before: focus or fail. When you have real work to be done block out distractions. Don't keep your email open all day. Turn off the IM. If appropriate, turn off your phone, or let it going to voicemail. In some cases, you might be able to use the equivalent of "do not disturb" to keep distractions at bay.
5. Set a timer to define uninterrupted work stretches. One way you can focus your energy is to set a timer. This can also help you avoid distractions because you've set aside time for a specific purpose. Set a timer for half an hour, or an hour, and see what you can accomplish during that time. Don't allow yourself to do anything else while the timer is on. You might be surprised at what you can get done here.
6. Take breaks to recharge and refresh. Taking a break can help you be more productive. A 10 to 15 minute break after a dedicated period of work can help you refresh yourself and recharge. Eat lunch, meditate, do some light reading, or find some other way to relax for a few minutes. Recharging can help invigorate you and reset your mind to work more efficiently for your next productive period.
7. Don't make excuses or procrastinate. It's easy to blame your inefficiency on slow computers, your boss or deadlines. Instead of making excuses look for ways around the problems. Find creative solutions and try to maintain a bright outlook. You'll get more done if you focus on solutions and stop wasting time making excuses.
8. Reward yourself to reinforce success. One of the best ways to avoid burnout – and resulting drop in productivity – is to reward yourself. Provide a small reward if you meet your productivity goals for the day. If you're managing others, potentially create rewards for them. And remember, these don't have to be material: in many cases, verbal reinforcement of success is equally rewarding.
9. Maintain a positive outlook. Scientific studies provide it time and time again: positive attitude can help you improve your productivity. Look on the bright side and you'll have more energy / your mind will be clearer, helping you identify solutions more readily, and get more done. It's tough to meet depressed people who are productive: they're usually far more optimistic.
10. Know how hard you work, and when. Be aware of when you are most productive. Pay attention. If you are most productive in the morning, that's when you should hit it hard and do as much as you can. If you work better in the afternoon, take care of some things like email in the morning and then tackle the meaty projects in the afternoon. Keep on top of your work habits, and you'll be more productive.