ways to be more productive
1. The Pomodoro Technique
The idea is that you do 25 minutes of work and then take a five minute break. Then you repeat. This breaks up the day into chunks so you can actually get things done.
2. No Meetings Monday through Thursday
This is from David Heinemeier Hansson (the creator of Basecamp). He has a rule that there are no meetings on Mondays through Thursdays because those are the days he tries to get a lot of work done for clients.
3. The No Email Rule
I've written about this before but it's worth repeating. I try to respond to all emails within 24 hours (and in many cases, much faster than that) but I don't check my email first thing in the morning or last thing at night. This allows me to start and end each day with no distractions and be fully focused on whatever work I am doing at that time.
4. Use tools like Freedom or Self-Control to block websites for certain periods of time
For instance, if you want to write a book, lock yourself out of Twitter, Facebook, etc for six hours every day so you can focus on writing without distraction.
5. The "No Meetings Wednesday" rule
Similar to DHH's Monday-Thursday rule but instead it's Wednesday (because nobody important ever has meetings on Wednesdays). If someone wants to meet with me on Wednesday I always say, "Sorry, no meetings on Wednesdays." And if they insist I say, "Well, let's have lunch then." Because I always eat lunch anyway and it would be more productive for both of us if we can just talk over lunch instead of having a meeting about a meeting.