1. Know when you are most productive.
See when you are most productive and have the least distractions. For me that time was in the morning. I would sometimes wake up at 5am to study for the GRE before starting my day and doing my other activities. Some people are most productive in the evening.
2. Write down your daily objectives.
Writing down your goals makes them more likely to happen. There is something about the act of writing that better communicates to your brain that this is something you want to complete. Write each item on a single line and check them off as you complete them. Your mind will no longer have to keep track of your tasks and can now better focus on solving problems and getting stuff done! Check off completed items, cross out irrelevant items, and x out undone tasks. Keep all your daily To-Dos in a notebook.
3. Have a plan on how to accomplish all your tasks of the day
Strategically plan how to execute it so that the important things are done. You can pick any method you want… easy stuff first, hard stuff first, quick stuff first. Your plan can be flexible because each day has it’s own obstacles. Just plan so that you have the greatest chance of success.
4. Review your objectives and previous day
Try to keep all your daily objectives in the same notebook. As time goes on you will look from day to day and see what you have accomplished. Over time this will serve as a little productivity booster. You will see all that you have accomplished. Any time you are feeling lazy you can just glance back. It will also help you to plan better.
5. Pray/Mediate and be thankful
If you are religious take time to pray. If you aren’t then take time to meditate. These key and essential moments give you time to put your life into perspective and gives you a break from the rat race or the getting stuff done race. These moments were key to me during college, and even now while working.
6. Make no waste
Do your plan in such a way that you can do many things at once. If your goal is to relax then relax during your commute. By bringing a good book or playing relaxing music you can use your commute time to relax. Always seek how you can maximize the time. If someone is running late then take the moment to do another item from your To-Do list or another meaningful task. Be conscious of how your time is being spent. If you are spending countless hours playing games or wasting time be mindful of that time spent. Often times just a little bit of preparation for the following day or following week can make a huge difference. Be conscious of how your time is spent.
An archer never leaves his bow strung or else the string would become inelastic. When not in use the bow is unstrung so that it will remain flexible and effective. We also need time to relax. Set aside your daily time to relax and take it easy. The moments of relaxing will add balance and make you more productive in work. As a programmer this happens a lot. I may work though lunch trying to solve a problem or trying to get something to work. But as soon as I take lunch or take a quick break I see a way to get it done in half the time. Your brain is amazing enough to process things on the back burner and give you the full picture when you don’t push it too hard. So take moments to relax throughout your day.