10. Say “No” – Especially to interruption. Remember that highly productive people control their time and focus. Ask that person who popped their head in the door if they can come back at 2:00 or in 10 minutes. But this also extends to tasks. Whether it is a flat out “no” or you just delegating the task out, you need to control what you are doing if you want to be at peak productivity.
11. Eat breakfast – It’s cliché to call it the most important meal of the day, but even if it is a quick energy bar, get some nutrition in your system as well as that cup of coffee. I really shouldn’t need to spend any more time on it, if you want energy you need to eat.
12. Don’t drown at the shallow end of the pool – This is about perspective. Too many of us are worried and stressed about the millions of little things vying for our time, so much so that they distract from the big and important things. Prioritize your way out of this by worrying about the important things more and the little things less. You’ll find your mind gets clearer and you get more done.
13. Sleep – Athletes rest before their competitions and you should take a lesson from this and ensure you have your rest each night so that you are ready for “game day” the next day. Studies have shown that the effect of lack of sleep is similar to the effect of alcohol on your ability to focus. It’s another one of those situations where if you get the extra hour of sleep a night, you’re likely to more than make up for it with productivity increases the next day.
14. Don’t multitask – Those who have mastered their own productivity know a secret. Nobody multitasks well. One of the foundations of being at peak effectiveness is focus. You get more done when you do less. By all means, put plenty of tasks on your plate, but only tackle one at a time. You’ll find the results are MUCH better.
15. Know when you’re at your best and protect it – All of us have times of the day when we are more effective. For some it is the morning, for others it is the late afternoon (I’m not sure anyone is effective right after lunch). It is during this time when you should schedule your big decisions, big projects and important tasks. This is also the time when you should not tolerate distractions. Protect this time and use it.
16. Unplug for at least one day on the weekend – It is difficult to “unplug” in today’s work environment. Most people are checking and responding to emails in the evening, on the weekend and even on vacation. Being able to completely unplug allows you to truly “recharge the batteries” and helps prevent burnout.
17. Take notes and write down thoughts – Highly productive people are always great note takers. Having something to keep track of thoughts and notes ensures that you don’t forget anything and don’t have to waste any time wondering “what was that idea I had yesterday?”