I have been listening to podcasts from LifeHack.com and 43folders.com that relate to increasing productivity. They talk a lot about systems to get your job done easier and/or being more productive at accomplishing all of your work at home and in the workplace. Both of these sites and podcasts are full of helpful information but I would like to take a look at accomplishing your work in another light. Do you really need to be doing everything that you are doing? I know you may claim that they do not have enough time and these productivity systems may sound great to fix all of your lack of time problems. You make time for what is important. You are identifying what is important by what you spend your time doing. For instance, if you tell me that you want to lose weight but you spend countless hours watching TV instead of going to the gym, you have made laziness a priority in your life. You do not want to lose weight or else you would get off your fat butt, stop watching TV, and go the gym. Same thing with wanting to start your own business; you need to set out time to do the work required to make the changes in your life.
Here is how you set out time for what is important to you. This is from zero based time planning. First, make a list of all of the things that you want to do with your time. You need to list everything you feel is important, such as: play with kids, go to gym, make healthy meals, take a nap, watch TV, go to work, spend time with friends, work on new business, clean house, etc. You can put anything on this list that is important. Then number each item on the list in order of priority. Everybody’s priorities are different. Rewrite the list from highest priority to lowest priority. Next take out a scheduler and start scheduling the activities that you want to accomplish each day based on your priority list. You should see more time on your calendar filled with the more important activities. As a note, you will not get this right all of the time, you will run over your allotted time and schedule too much time in some cases. It is ok, this is not set in stone; but by planning for what is important you will waste less time and accomplish more.
After you have done this it would be helpful to take a look at the previously mentioned time management sites and also the book Getting Things Done by David Allen to increase your productivity.