The Pareto principle states that 80% of the effects comes from 20% of the causes - more or less. Therefore, 20% of what you do, or is done to you, gives you 80% of your grief and slows you down. On the other hand, 20% of what you do produces 80% of your rewards and enjoyment. You may be really efficient at completing 100% of what is supposed to be done, but in reality you are not effective. The effective person divests the 20% that produces nothing and invests in the 20% that returns the greatest payoff.
Every effort has a setup time. Printing 10 business cards costs the same as 1,000. Why? Setup. Batch what you do. Don’t do a little here and a little there. Setup time will kill your productivity.
When you work, you want it to flow, you want to lose track of time and immerse yourself in the challenge at hand. It takes at least 15 minutes to get into flow. 1 interruption takes you out. Do the math, a handful of interruptions can kill the day. Schedule interrupt time, don’t let it schedule you.
Everything you do can be tweaked, improved upon and codified. Reengineer constantly. Simplify. And for all of the reasons that everyone already knows, eliminate meetings.
With the above in mind. Batch and schedule your work. Schedule as much time as possible for focussing on the 20% that produces the most and as little time as possible for the 20% that contributes the least, including scheduling interrupt time for things like checking email at set times per day. And last but not least, book time to review and simplify/reengineer what you do.