When it comes to being productive I am much more of a believer in macro concepts than I am in micro solutions. If you have considered your overlying philosophies and priorities, and you have committed to living by them, then I believe that the details will largely take care of themselves. Or, more directly, if you are just focusing little details, and have no unifying reason for choosing which detail to focus on, then you stand no hope of making lasting gains in productivity.
For me, as I´ve discussed earlier, perhaps the single biggest element in my philosophy of productivity is ideas. A steady stream of new ideas is the key to keeping me on task and effective. There are a couple of reasons. First of all, ideas keep your mind nimble. If you are having lots of ideas that means your mind is working hard. Ideas also keep me feeling enthusiastic and excited. If I don´t consistently keep having new ideas, my mind gets stuck in a rut. When that happens, nothing works as well as it should, and everything feels like it is more work than it needs to be. Finally, I firmly believe that ideas beget ideas. Think back to a time when you were at your most creative. Almost certainly it felt like new ideas kept flowing from seemingly from nowhere in an increasingly rapid stream.
Since I know the positive impact which new ideas have on my work, I can´t risk leaving the creation of them to chance. I have tried several different means of proactively encouraging the development of ideas over the years, and some have been more effective than others. Here´s one that has worked particularly well, and that I keep coming back to. Give it a try:
Take a few minutes every day to create a new business idea. Just close your eyes and come up with a product and service to sell, an audience to sell it to, and a means of selling it. It obviously doesn´t have to be anything you intend to do anything with, and it certainly doesn´t have to be feasible or practical. The point simply is to get your mind working and to force yourself to be creative. By practicing the creation of ideas, my mind gets into the habit of creating them. Besides, it´s fun.
Most times I forget about the idea soon after I have come up with it. Every so often one comes up that is interesting, and I write it down. The training program which is at the core of my consulting business arose from one of these exercise sessions.