Try the 2-minute rule and other task management strategies. According to Practice of the Practice, CMO expert Steve Olenski's "two minute rule" works. It goes like this: If you see a task you know you can complete in two minutes or less, do it immediately. POTP also recommends beginning the work day by tackling your most important or most dreaded task and always trying to batch similar tasks together.
Meetings? Just Say No. "Meetings are one of the biggest time-sucks around, yet somehow we continue to unquestioningly book them, attend them and, inevitably, complain about them," Rampton said. He recommended asking yourself if the same goals or tasks can be attained more productively via e-mail or phone before scheduling another meeting. (Hint: the answer is almost always, "Yes.")
Turn on a little work music. Just like long meetings, co-workers who chat constantly or just the everyday background workplace noise can distract the most determined worker, according to Working Mother. "Listening to music releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for feelings of pleasure and happiness," the magazine said. "So plug in your ear buds and put on your happy music to get you through the workday productively."
Avoid junk foods. Another tip from Working Mother also focuses on becoming more productive by increasing your levels of alertness. The publication recommended opting for healthy snacks like fruit or nuts instead of carb-loaded candy bars during the work day. Extra fat and sugar only provide a passing energy boost, followed by a bigger crash later.
Stand up at work. Sitting increases your risk of heart disease and can also make you lethargic. If you can influence the office furniture, make sure you have a standing desk, whether you purchase, build your own or amend an existing desk. If you can't provide a standing desk, taking breaks every half hour or so to rise and stretch stimulates not only the body but the mind, according to WM.
Hydrate. Don't sacrifice beverage breaks just because you're at your desk and on deadline. Drinking lots of fluids keeps you alert and allows your mind to perform better, according to WM. Caffeine-laden coffee is okay as long as it's not all you drink, but plain old water is most likely all you need to stay hydrated.
Quit insisting on perfection. Managers and entrepreneurs in particular may get hung up on an attempt to perform a task to perfection, according to Rampton. But perfection is unattainable and the sooner you realize that, the more productive you'll become. "Rather than wasting time chasing after this illusion, bang out your task to the best of your ability and move on," Rampton said. "It's better to complete the task and move it off your plate; if need be, you can always come back and adjust or improve it later."