Every person has the same number of days each week and the same number of hours each day to accomplish their objectives. But why are some people much more productive than others? They go about their work differently. However, what these individuals do to accomplish more can be done by anyone.
Get up earlier
Psychologists have found that early risers tend to be more productive (as well as happier and healthier). Some of the world's most successful executives, including Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, cite getting up early as one of their key approaches to effective time management.
Since you're getting up earlier, use some of that extra time to exercise in the morning. A study by the University of Bristol's Jim McKenna found that exercising increases work performance. This isn't surprising, since exercise increases blood flow to the brain and provides more energy.
Do the tough things first
If you put those tough assignments off until later, you're probably not going to be as productive as you'd like. Instead, do the tough things first. You'll feel a sense of accomplishment as you check them off the list -- and it will make the rest of your day go better as you work on things that you enjoy more.
Use an important/urgent matrix
Before you begin each week, think through the specific things you want to accomplish. Group the items into an "important/urgent matrix." An item can be important to get done but not very time-sensitive, so it's not urgent. On the other hand, some items aren't all that important but need to be done quickly and are therefore urgent.
The items that are both important and urgent should be prioritized most highly, followed by not important but urgent items, then important but not urgent items, with the not important and not urgent items prioritized the lowest
Break up big efforts into smaller tasks
There's an old saying that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. It's smart to break up big efforts into smaller tasks. This allows you to feel more productive as you complete the smaller tasks. It also could identify opportunities for delegating some of the smaller tasks to others.
Set deadlines for yourself
Even if some tasks don't have deadlines, set your own deadlines. It will help you prioritize items more effectively.
Block out your time
The human brain simply isn't wired for multitasking. Your best approach for getting things done is to block out time for each task you have to accomplish. Focusing for a specific amount of time on one task will improve your productivity more than you might think.
Just say no
Not everything you're asked to do needs to be done by you. One of the most important productivity tools you can wield is to politely turn down requests that don't make good use of your time.
Budget some time for your favorite distractions
Nearly everyone has some distraction that they enjoy, whether it's taking a quick look at social media or chatting with a coworker. Build in a small amount of time for these favorite distractions -- but do it at specific times rather than randomly throughout the day.
Turn off alerts
Definitely turn off all alerts on your phone and computer. Few people can resist looking at a social-media notification or an email alert, but each time this happens, it's a distraction from accomplishing the task at hand.
Check email at set times
Instead of responding to email as it comes in, set specific times that you will check and respond to it. You might find that not checking email first thing in the morning could help you be more productive.