Many people always seek the highest possible productivity by carefully choosing tools designed to save time, by delegating smaller tasks to others or by any other possible escamotage. Us software developers are a particular branch of the productivity-seekers population: we might be completely out of our way writing a tool that allows us to shave two seconds off a repetitive tasks because, in the long run, that will save us so much time! But often we do not realize that all the time that we will be saving, is the time we 'wasted' on thinking, designing and writing said tool and we are back at ground zero.
What I discovered recently (and what I wish I realized earlier) is that being productive is not all about cramming as much work as possible in a fixed amount of time, but rather it is based on our attention level when we are performing said task: the higher our attention level is when working on a determined problem, the more productive we are at solving it.
This might sound as bad news: one might think that there is no way that we can overcome how much our body is paying attention in determined parts of the day and, while that is true, it doesn't mean that there is nothing you can do to make yourself more productive. The key is exploiting the super-high-focus periods of the day to work on the hardest task that you need to accomplish, and leave the rest of the day for less important tasks, chores or anything else: the key is being aware of yourself and of your energy level and shape your day around it, hacking your awareness in such a way that your most high-efficiency periods are always teamed up with the most focus-requiring tasks.
This idea might seem simple to understand, but you might be thinking that it will be very hard to put in practice: how can I be sure of what my attention levels will be tomorrow? How can I plan in advance based on something that I have no idea what it is going to turn out to be?
The answers to these questions, in reality, is also easy. Our bodies are very much regular machines in that they like patterns and they like repeating them: attention levels fall in the category of the patters that our bodies like to repeat so it is enough for you to start understanding how your body behaves for a couple of days and you will be able to hack your productivity by being aware of when you are performing your most intensive tasks.
This is what allowed me to make my productivity skyrocket lately and I am sure that if you take it seriously, it will improve your daily life as well. If you want more informations on the subject (also explained in a MUCH better way) I suggest you reed this blog post from Thomas, from College Info Geek.
Start hacking your awareness and become super-productive today!