By way of introduction -
These are notes to myself from 1999 on how to manage my time better. I am not sure that I am doing any of them tremendously well, but it's worthwhile revisiting what went through your head in previous days and see if it still sounds like you saying it or whether it's some alien unformed version of yourself.
These are notes to myself on how to work better and get more done that's important. After several months of procrastination and half-starts, an issue of Vacuum is again on the A-list of things to do.
Be organized and manage your time effectively.
Know the day before what your goals are for the next day. Identify the tasks that are the most important and do those first. Don't get distracted by the unimportant stuff that would be nice to do, good to do, not at least until you've tackled the most important bits first.
Don't be distracted by e-mail. (How can you say that, you're sending this by e-mail, it's going to be a distraction? It's OK to delete this message if you don't have the time for it, there will be more.) I'm starting to believe that deliberately going off-line, pulling the plug, is the best way to avoid the constant temptation of checking what's coming in new in the inbox this micro-second.
Get started on important projects well in advance of their due dates, and complete them in plenty of time for revisions, corrections, and changes. Do not rely on last minute efforts to get things done.
Be positive and simple and direct in your writing. Do not complain or whine.
When you get distracted, as you eventually will be, be distracted with a purpose. If you are scatterbrained at times by nature take glory in it and make the odd connections that no one else will. No one else thinks the way you do and no one else has your unique combinations of skills and experiences.
Speak up. Ask good questions of the right people and don't let their first reaction be your only answer. By speaking out you establish a presence and people learn who you are. There are many more people that can be reached by a single e-mail message than can be reached in person.
It's going to be hard work, but make a point every few months of writing something that will be eventually seen in print.
(Some miscellaneous additional stuff that was in the paper version deleted.) This sounds good at least. We'll see how long the urge to be in control of things lasts. I also very much enjoy the random walk to the next interesting thing approach to being productive and useful, and it's hard to know what way is better in the long run. It depends on how well you can identify the "most important" tasks and how much you end up chasing after things that are neat but ultimately useless. The useless stuff can be useful if you accumulate enough of it!