Usually, when we think of being more productive we think we should force ourselves to be more focused and stop wasting time...buying that timer and cracking down with some work sprints. While these tactics can work, it doesn't get to the heart of the problem - which is you aren't productive to begin with. Instead of coming up with solutions that can solve the surface problem, focus on getting to the root cause. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Root Cause One: You're exhausted. No matter what productivity hacks you try, if you aren't getting enough sleep, you won't be able to produce more. Get at least seven-and-a-half to eight hours of sleep a night, and be religious about it. Going to bed at the same time is one of the best ways to get the best sleep, so start with that.
Root Cause Two: You don't like the work you're doing. If you aren't challenged by the work that is in front of you, then forcing productivity will exhaust you even more. If you love the work you're doing and you get energized by the thought of diving into it, productivity hacks will make you soar. Figure out if you need to shift your work towards something that is a better "Challenge" fit if you're looking for a true productivity boost.
Root Cause Three: Your environment. If your environment is stifling or is draining your energy, then any attempt to be productive could fall flat. Start to notice what specifically about your environment isn't working for you. It could be the culture of your organization, it could be bad lighting or it could mean you need to get outside more. Figure this out by paying attention to the details of your work environment and come up with innovative solutions to fix this before jumping into any productivity exercises.
Root Cause Four: Your team. Who you work with plays a huge role in how productive you are. Do your teammates always go the extra mile or are they doing the bare minimum? How those that work for you operate can play a major role in your ability to get things done in the best way possible. Take note of people that may be blocking your productivity and address it with clear communication, or let them know the problem and offer to work together to solve it.
Root Cause Five: You're not healthy. If you don't feel good, you will not be productive. In fact, if you're sick then it's best to focus on getting better and then think of your work productivity. Your health is one of the most important factors in being productive, so if you don't feel good, start thinking about the source. How much coffee are you drinking? Are you eating to keep your brain energized, i.e. not too many carbohydrates for example. Are you exercising? These aspects of health count, and if you're letting them go by the wayside, you're preventing your ability to be the best you can be. Check out Healthy-Brain Food to see how you can improve your diet. Also check out Aaptiv, an app that can help you get motivated to workout.