When you're working in an organized and clean workspace, you're more focused on getting the job done and less distracted by clutter. According to the productivity researcher Jason Jennings, being a truly productive person is "about having a habit of touching everything once. When something has to be done, productive people simply do it, then get rid of it.
2. They schedule everything (even family time).
Truly productive people set a program for each day. "They make a list of the things that have to beaccomplished, then they go through that list and prioritize it even further," says Jennings. Just make sure family and personal time ranks just as high as important meetings.
3. They follow through.
"If you finish your rice, then wash your bowl," says Tim Pychyl, author of Solving the ProcrastinationPuzzle. That's an ancient Zen saying he lives by. "It's just a matter of getting things done; I simply put one foot in front of the other," he explains. Zeroing in on a single action rather than the entire task puts the wheels in motion.
4. They don't check email as often as you do.
Jennings reveals, "Most super-productive people only check their email 2 or 3 times a day." When you're always hearing new message alerts you'll never get anything done because there's always something else to tend to. But if you can't bear to turn off your email, at least enlist the help of filters.
5. They don't forget about themselves.
Getting enough sleep and exercise is the key to clear thinking, more creativity, and increased energy -- which, in turn, make you more productive. And if by some fluke one of these super-productive people didn't get quite enough sleep the night before, they're not opposed to a midday nap.
6. They like to sweeten the pot.
A little bribery can go a long way. If you have, say, an expense report that you've been dreading, allow yourself a little indulgence when it's finally done.
Time limits also have the same effect. Set a timer and say 'I'll do this for 10 minutes. Chances are, once you dive in you'll keep going.
7. They make technology work for them.
Technology can be both a blessing (calendar apps!) and a burden (Facebook!) during the workday. It's all about anticipating procrastination and then limiting any wiggle room you might have to keep you from getting a task done.
For example, Pychyl sets different color to every category (work, personal, family) in his email calendar. This way, he can see at a glance when he's giving too much (or too little) time to one specific area of his life, and can prioritize accordingly.