What little tips and tricks do you use to try and be as productive as possible each week plus be as motivated as possible? Here are a few I use:
What else? I'd love to hear suggestions from others that I might use.
Having read this question and its answers and applied all the useful tips, I then think staying off Answers.OnStartups.com for a while would mean me getting a few more things done than normal ;-).
http://www.brightjourney.com/q/manage-time-startup-grows This similar post got me to look at the book Getting Things Done by David Allen who is on the above podcast. I’ve been using the GTD approach for a little over a month and feel I get more done and am less stressed. The key things I do differently are:
• I started to write EVERYTHING I want or need to do down, like you do.
• Instead of doing them later, if tasks take only a couple of minutes I make it a point to just do them now.
• I schedule what I can on the calendar.
• I created my projects into tasks.
• I file tasks into a file system for the days of the month and months of the year I plan to do them based on my priorities, deadlines and goals for the year. My long endless to do lists would stress me out but now that I have everything filed away with plans to do them on other days I feel it’s taken care of.
• I see if “I” really need to do things, can delegate them or can just delete them. I have also been looking for ways to complete more with less effort.
• Weekly I decide what I will accomplish. Daily I focus on manageable specific tasks I will complete but I also leave room in my day for customer issues I prefer to handle immediately.
• If I finish things faster than planned I review my files for things I can do now.
For motivation I review successes. For large projects that take time to complete, I review why they are of value and how it will help me and others.
Some very good items in your list.
I try to break my work down into specific tasks which can be measure-able, then assign a time estimate to those tasks. Like you, I also like to associate a priority level, as well as a difficulty level to the task. I also use a task management/tracking application, Worktime Studio to manage and track my tasks. (It's actually a software app which we wrote).
A big motivator for me is to see that the timer is running on my current task, and to be able to see the progress bar for that task at all times, so I know if I'm on target on my estimate. Of course, many times I'm not, but adjusting the estimate is no problem.
I wrote a post last year on work hacks I use to facilitate flow specifically in the context of (lean) startups:
Work Hack 1: Establish uninterruptible time blocks for maker work.
Work Hack 2: Achieve maker goals as early in the day as possible.
Work Hack 3: Schedule manager activities as late in the day as possible.
Work Hack 4: Always be ready for unplanned activities especially customer support.
Work Hack 5: Identify the best days for planned customer development.
Work Hack 6: Take advantage of customer downtime.
Work Hack 7: Balance face time with customers.
Work Hack 8: Avoid overproduction by making customers pull for features.
Work Hack 9: Iterate around only 3-5 actionable metrics.
Work Hack 10: Build software to flow.
You can read the full post here.
I'm have podcasts or audio books constantly playing in my ear, so I have practically no downtime (unless I choose to). I think the learning mode always put me in the mindset to get things going.
Don't check email for the first 3 hours of your day. Period. This one thing will make a huge impact. Also, somewhat off topic, I'm interviewing productivity guru David Allen - GTD - Wed. 2/10 for the Startup Success Podcast (http://startuppodcast.wordpress.com/ )
Anyone have any startup-related questions?
RescueTime.com -- really interesting product that tracks the websites and applications you use.
I created a whole site on time management - timemanagement.com The most important strategy I think is to make a list of the top few things in order of priority (less than 8) that you want to do for the day and then work down from that list from the top to the bottom. It's a very simple strategy but works really well if you implement it.
Those are a lot of good tricks, but you need an overall methodology to manage your overall effectiveness.
I use my own blend of ideas, cutely summarized as "Block & Tackle ". The gist is to allocate blocks of time weekly to a finite set of broad categories of work, so that some aspects don't get ignored because the cup runneth over in another, and priority-and-value-delivered queuing your work in each block using Scrum as a "structure" and GTD as a "process".
Then, fold in your tips and tricks, and some of the ones in the replies, as tools that help you achieve those clearly-delineated goals.