There is much to read about productivity and how we can do more in less time, just search online and you will find thousands of sites devoted to explaining how to get more done. We appear to live in a culture obsessed with being productive, and I am not always convinced that it is not about how we value people… but that is a post for another day.
When I think about the things I need to get done, keeping in mind the work flow is important. Just as water naturally flows down a hill, work will naturally flow in a direction. What I sometimes do is try to get the downstream work done first, then the upstream…and wonder why its difficult!
Looking at the flow of your work – whether its gardening, housework or your paid employment – you will notice patterns. It does take time out to do this, but certainly if you will stop and consider, it will be worthwhile. So, rather than try and get a letter printed last thing at night, I can create the letter and have it ready to print in the morning, because I am going by the postbox in the afternoon anyway… so it makes sense to print in the morning and then mail off…and saves me setting up the printer at night. This also allows me to deal with the mail that arrives in the morning and print and get it all off at once. A small thing, but the change in work flow was significantly felt when I made it.
Can you group similar tasks? Are you able to manage all your phone calls in a set time, rather than interrupting email or writing or other tasks time and taking every call (can you ignore the phone?!)? If you have a long repetitive day, can you use other tasks to break up your time in front of the computer so that you move about and therefore feel healthier (will interrupting work flow actually be better for you?)? Perhaps take some time to consider your work flow, and then experiment with adjustments to how you travel through your day…. work with it until you find a work flow that is less tiring, allows you do get more done without pressure. Let me know how you get on.