There is nothing as fundamental in life as how you spend your time.

With smartphones, notifications, and endless open tabs, the current trend towards achieving mindfulness is unsurprising. And that’s before you consider that it takes a full 20 minutes to regain focus after becoming distracted.

So what can you do to maximize your productivity and get the most from your time?

Before you download another productivity app, consider this:

  • The best productivity tools and approaches are pragmatic and incremental – overly complicated fixes are hard to sustain.

  • There’s no one-size-fits-all solution: try out a technique for a few days to gauge if it works for you.

  • For a system to work it has to have rules – and ideally the fewer the better. For example, a to-do list works well if you a) use it for every task that will take more than 5 minutes and b) cross off items only when they’re completely done.

  • Don't follow the crowd. For you, a notebook and pen make be your best productivity friend. For someone else, an app like OmniFocus may be their everything. Figure out what works for you and stick with it.

Spend your time well and avoid being labeled flakey. Migrate all tasks longer than a few minutes to your productivity tool of choice - be that a Moleskine, an app, or a Post-It wall. You will have achieved inbox zero in no time at all.