First, start with a personal or professional mission statement. What do you want to do in life? What is important to you? A mission statement is similar to a broad target; if you do not aim for something, you will not hit it. After a mission statement is developed, decide on a few goals (3-5) is ok. These should be SMART goals or specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bounded. Now, focus on your goals and be productive about getting them done.
Life is finite, yet we want to do as much as we can in life. There are three factors to consider and focus on to improve our productivity or gaining more control over our life and our accomplishments. These factors are the technologies, tools, or techniques we use; the level of education or learning we obtain; and the maturity level of the processes we need to execute.
For example, should we have to paint a house, and we cannot outsource it, then we need to consider what technologies, tools, and techniques we can use; how much we know or need to learn about painting a house; and how well defined we understand the process of painting a house. If we use simple tools such as a paint brush, if we have no idea about painting, and if we have no idea what the process is for house painting, then we will not be very productive, we will take more time than necessary, and we will likely do a terrible job.
This concept is true regardless of what it is that we want to do, thus to improve our productivity and get more out of life, we need to think seriously about these factors.
Denial is neither a river in Egypt, nor is it is an option: decisions must be grounded in reality Use fact-based hypothesis-driven problem solving methods.
Productivity is a function of technology (use the best available), process (continue to improve your work processes and outsource and automate what you can to free up time and money for other investments), and the capability of doing work (improve your skills, learn new ones: key skills include subject matter knowledge, collaboration and teamwork, oral and written communications, research, abstract thinking, critical thinking, scientific thinking, and systems thinking.)
Apply double loop learning to improve your effectiveness: efficiency is good, but only takes you so far 10% of success is competence; 30% is image; and 60% is visibility: work up the stack. Network, network, network to build relationships to succeed