1) Distraction Free Zones
The first thing you need to do is create a distraction "free" zone. If you can't rent space somewhere else, like an office, find a space that you can work uninterrupted for a decent amount of time. Obviously this means you need to turn off your cell phone and email notifications, close all unnecessary windows, tabs and don't check Facebook and other social media.
If your distraction free zone is at home, turn off the TV. Even though you may like the "white noise" that the TV provides in the background, turn it off.
Also, let your friends and family know that you need this specific space to be yours to work. They need to understand that this is a zone for optimal productivity and that you ask they respect that space.
Then close the door to your office and get to work.
2) Separate Life From Work And Work From Life
Once you've found your distraction free zone, next you need to create a workspace separate from everything else. This is especially important if you have to, or choose to, work from home.
Research shows that a change of venue sparks something in us, it creates a sense of difference than our normal routine. Getting up and moving to a new workplace, some new site, makes a part of our brain activate in a way that's different. It's the stimulus of this new environment that helps spark a drive and energy toward our production.
3) Measure Once, Cut Twice
Now that you have a work space and people understand the importance of your work, cut it down to size. Take any large projects you have and break them down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
In carpentry, there's an adage to "measure twice, cut once." To gain the most from this exercise, you should flip these two concepts on their head.
Measure once, see the size and scope of the project and cut it down to as small a portion as possible. Another tip is to make a list of what you need to do, how many steps you predict it will take and set about one step at a time.
4) Time Your Work
Dedicate your time - you've gone this far in learning to maximize your output, don't take a short cut now.
Commit yourself to working in short, highly focused periods of time. This concept, otherwise known as the Pomodoro Technique, is a proven productivity technique used in many industries.
What it instructs us to do is: set limits on the length of time you plan on working and make sure you have very clear boundaries that include breaks in the intervals. It's roughly 80% work, 20% recovery. Plan to start in small increments, 20 minutes of work and 5 minutes of rest from that task. Don't make the mistake of extending your time. When you're done with your 20 minutes, you're done. Take a 5 minute break without interruption. You'll come back to your task refreshed and ready to go.
5) Go Granular To Build A Mountain
Think about a car. There's the obvious moving parts, the wheels, the pistons in the engine, etc. But if all the nuts and bolts, all the screws are tight, things fall apart.
How this applies to you, is that you should think about your work as little minor tasks to accomplish and that over time these micro-accomplishments will add up to something greater. Indeed, the sum is greater than the parts - but focus on the parts that matter.
By focusing all your energy on the small things, they have a way to add up over time.
6) Just Say No!
Learn to say NO. Too many of us are willing to take on tasks and challenges from co-workers, clients and loved ones that take us away from our goals. So learn to say no.
There's always more to get done and more than you can ever hope to accomplish.
Obviously there's only so much time in the day, and you only have a finite quantity of energy to get your tasks accomplished, so know when to say when. Or in other words, "no."
It may take awhile for clients, family and friends to learn this from you, but eventually, they'll learn that by you saying no to their every demand and whim, you'll be happier and more productive over the long-term.
It's not easy to do but critical for success.
Be willing to say no will free you up with extra time and energy to focus on the tasks most critical and important to you.
7) Know When To Yield And When To Stop
As we discussed earlier, learn to set limits.
It's a tactic that will help you break down your tasks into simpler, manageable ways.
Your tasks are the vehicle, the engine of your success.
But like an engine, it requires maintenance, upkeep and can't be run forever without breaking down.
Don't just work for the sake of work. Make it a priority to stop when you should and rest when it's time.
Most importantly - DO NOT VEER OFF YOUR PATH - No U-Turns.
Taking decisive action in granular ways will lead you toward the goals you want.
Regardless of your goals, these 7 tips you can use right now will maximize your productivity for all the time you have left.