How do you master productivity?

I was wondering how do you folks stay productive and efficient during the day?

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Hey Tom, are you asking in the context of a one-person business, working from home?

I mean both=) in-office or at home

First thing in the morning write down your top three things you must accomplish for the day. Then erase number two and three and just focus on number one. If you do that every day it is enough.

Not trying to be funny, the way to be productive is to work on the correct thing, rather than be faster or more efficient at many things.

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I feel the most productive when I know exactly what I’m supposed to do at any given moment. The more abstract my tasks get, the less productive I become (the correlation is pretty strong).

So the more interesting question is: what should I be working at this very moment? Setting priorities straight is the first step, but clearly not enough.

I’ve noticed that I’m slipping into procrastination whenever I have to wait a bit for a compiler, or worse, whenever current task becomes a bit harder and requires some thinking. It’s so easy to go browsing Hacker news or something else. And then 10 seconds compiling time turns into 30 minute break.

So I’ve mapped all these time wasters to 127.0.0.1 in hosts file. Mind you, this is for the office machine, not at home. Eliminating my browsing habbits completely would be too much, and beside, these are things I like to read, forums I like to visit. Some of that is business related. I’m just trying to limit its effect on work.

I still allow myself to do it on the phone and that looks like a good balance to allow me to relax a bit when needed, but reading on the phone is inconvenient enough that I’m not tempted too much. And my hands still sometimes start typing on autopilot one of these forbidden urls from time to time. That’s my animal brain asking for a quick fix.

Have you ever tried any productivity tools?

No, simply editing hosts file does the trick for me.