I've put together a concise list of tips designed to remove the complexity and mystery from productivity, making it easy for anyone to get the important things done and permanently stay in a "flow state".
Review this list each day prior to beginning work, or for optimal results, at the start of each Pomodoro.
Don't plan or talk too much before doing something. You learn too much while doing, which turns most of that time you spent planning into wasted time.
Another approach is to not learn anything or change course while doing things, which validates all that time spent planning and can feel quite satisfying, especially when looking back at your failed startup.
Sometimes you'll be burned out, sometimes excited, sometimes bored and sometimes inspired and you'll get your best work done at unpredictable intervals before, during or after each of these states.
You can remove most meetings from your week by asking a question in reply to meeting requests. Nothing fancy - even basic stuff like "What are we hoping to achieve in this meeting?" can sometimes even cause the whole project to be canceled, the team dismantled, and kick off another company re-org.
Meetinglessness is not a panacea for productivity.
Developers who are programming language nerds are super inspiring, so find them and hang out with them but don't work directly with them because they don't ship.
"You can't always get what you want" - Mick Jagger or Keith Richards (They haven't decided...)
The hardest part is figuring out what you actually want to do.
Working on megaproject after megaproject taught me one singular truth: This shit is cyclical.
"Done is the engine of more" is true whether you agree or not, except if you're a time traveler. The rest of the Cult of Done Manifesto is so preachy tho, right?
Territory-builders come, but they always go.
Assholes are different - there's always one. Don't let them pwn you.
Picking your battles is about learning to give up and let go in order to move forward so you can begin the cycle again.
"If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done.” - Bruce Lee
When you get angry, try to stop and reflect and ask what actually was making you angry. Often it's the thing behind the thing behind the thing.
Recognize distractions. Like when Alex Duloz emails you asking if you'll write a post for The Human In The Machine.
Being helpful is terribly unproductive. Say no to helping with stuff. Just not all the time.
"Keep your mind on your riches, baby. Keep your mind on your riches." - 2Pac, "Heartz of Men" (I think this a lot in my head and hear it in Pac's voice, but usually when trying to finish a blog post or some code, not about riches. I mean, srsly, I work for a non-profit.)
You can't do all the things.
You should scrape all these Human In The Machine posts, and use Markov chains to generate THE ULTIMATE PRODUCTIVITY POST TO RULE THEM ALL. I would do it, but I'm trying to stay focused and write this post.
Just get a foot out the door.
Write everything down. Email yourself constantly. Read those emails sometimes.
"There is no spoon." - Thomas Anderson
Keep everything you want to do in a Markdown file, and use Vim's "foldmethod=indent" to hide and show stuff.
Synchronize your Markdown files with Dropbox and use IA Writer to access them on mobile.
Don't fight mess in your workspaces. Don't believe all that crap about removing clutter - it's just another excuse to waste time rearranging atoms instead of doing the things you really want to do.
Write down a list of your favorite productivity platitudes. Burn it. Outside though, and not in the dry season.
"The only system is that there is no system." - Steve Jobs
Er, sorry, I got distracted... what's this list for?