1. Learn to say NODeciding what is and isn't important is one skill. But having the guts to say NO when you know something isn't important or is disruptive to your flow, is quite another. Learn it.
2. Take public transportDitch the fancy car - take the bus or the train. Your mind will be free to get things done during your commute. You can get a head-start on emails, plan your todos or even do actual work if there's enough space.
3. Listen to educational podcasts while you commuteOr use that time to enhance your mind! Learn a language or other new skill through your headphones - all while everyone else on the train is listening to Justin Bieber or morning radio. Intellectual smug face optional.
4. Try to live central to the things important to youIf you find yourself hanging out in a particular part of town often, try to live somewhere equidistant between there and work. Sounds simple, but it will hugely cut down on your time spent on transport.
5. Work from homeFigure out what tasks can be done at home and convince your boss it can be done. Free from the distraction of coworkers, meetings, long lunches, commutes - you'll be more productive than ever.
6. Use website-blocking softwareWebsite blockers like StayFocusd can give you a virtual slap on the wrist every time you try to access Facebook or Reddit while working. Over time, they can build a good habit of not checking social media while working.
7. Prioritize effectivelyDecide what is the most important thing you need to do that day and do it first.
8. Be goal orientated rather than follow a todo listTodo lists are useful but they can either become unwieldy or you can forget to update them with new tasks. Think about goals rather than specific todos and aim to complete them.
9. Make a "leave the house" mixtapeKnow you need 30 mins in the morning to get ready? Make a 30 min mixtape and aim to leave before the last song plays. It's a neat psychological trick!
10. Use the Seinfeld X techniqueWhen asked how did he get so good at stand up, Seinfeld revealed his method for making sure he practiced every day. Every day he practiced, he put a red X in the calendar. After a week of Xs it was so satisfying to see, that he didn't want to break the chain. Practice makes perfect and figuring out a hack that can keep you at it, is half the battle.
11. OHIOOnly Handle It Once. If you receive an email and can reply to it quickly, reply right away. Reason being, if you leave it until later, the time spent replying plus the time spent remembering over and over that you need to reply (and delegating it until later) ends up being much more than if you just replied to the email right away.
12. Make time to exerciseRelease some endorphins - they are great for the mind! Exercise will help you to focus when you need to. Plus it's also, you know, good for your body.
13. Create rock solid deadlinesNothing will spur you into action more than a seemingly insurmountable challenge, and an ever-advancing date in the calendar when it all has to be completed.
14. Learn how to create tasks"Lose weight" isn't a task. It's a goal that has many tasks associated with it. Split goals into clear, concise tasks.
15. Turn your desk/walls into a whiteboardHaving informal space to doodle thoughts is great for capturing ideas and flashes of brilliance - or impromptu collaboration.
16. Eliminate bad habitsYou know all those time-wasting things you do? Stop doing them. There that was easy.
17. MeditateHere's a simple breathing exercise that will help you focus. Breathe in while counting to 3, breathe out while counting to 4. Repeat for a minute or so until relaxed and focused.
18. Batch mundane tasksBy nature we tend to drag out mundane tasks. Batch them together to spend less time on them, leaving more time for tasks we enjoy.
19. Use virtual assistantsWaiting on hold is a waste of time - luckily there are services like Lucyphone who can do the waiting for you.
20. No meeting WednesdaysAt Asana, Dustin Moskovitz employs a "no meeting Wednesday" rule, meaning that the entire company knows wednesdays are for glorious, uninterrupted work
21. Sleep earlyYour mind can't function properly if you're tired. Sleep early so you're not tired during the day when you need your brain performing optimally.
22. Start work early and work fewer hoursThe morning hours are great for productivity. At 6am, there's not many other people up, you'll be relatively free from distractions and your mind is fresh from resting. You can pack a full day of work into just 3 hours from 6am to 9am. Try it.
23. Learn the Pomodoro TechniqueIn a nutshell: Decide on a task. Set a timer for 25 mins. Focus and work as hard as possible. When the timer goes off, take a break for 5 minutes. Repeat the process, taking a longer 15-30 minute break every few cycles.
24. Get a second monitorNot having to switch or rearrange windows can give a serious productivity boost - and monitors these days are pretty cheap.
25. Carry a random reportA bit of social hackery. If you work in an office, carry around random, important-looking bits of paper. People will be less likely to hassle you or drag you into an impromptu meeting if you walk with the hustle of a Very Busy Persom (TM).