There are a few rules of thumb that I use regularly to help keep myself in the flow & make sure my days are productive:
Check Email Later. Don’t check your email first thing in the morning. Doing so starts your day off on someone else’s terms–you’ll find yourself responding & reacting to the contents of your inbox rather than planning & strategizing about what’s most important.
Define Your Goals & Intentions. Knowing what’s important means you’ll spend less time on the things that aren’t. Doing this at night for the next day means you’ll be clear on your direction before the morning coffee has kicked in.
Develop Your System. Effective, productive people generally have their own system that helps track what they’ve done, what the’re doing, and what they need to do next. To get started quickly, find a system that’s already out there that you’re willing to try, then adapt it to your own personal needs. Suggestions: Getting Things Done.
Leave Time to Play. Fun & play is a way for us to find our work more enjoyable while it’s happening, and after work it’s a way to relax and integrate the work & learning we do. It’s important to remember that efficiency and accomplishment aren’t always the ultimate goal. Like play & peacefulness, they are part of the foundation of a well-lived life.
Do you have any best practices for ensuring you stay in the flow and your day is productive?