There are certain things in our life which hurt our productivity. These things are not common sense and are mostly counter intuitive. In fact some of the methods I describe here can be mistaken for laziness by the society!
1. Not Having Enough Sleep: If you do not get enough sleep, you can work longer hours but you will be cutting the tree with a blunt axe. The basic way to determine if you are sleep deprived is: can you wake up without the help of an alarm clock? If you need an alarm clock to wake up, you are sleep deprived. Also having a small nap ranging from 15-30 minutes in the middle of the day after meals helps a lot in being productive. Sleep helps in re-organizing thoughts and memories and makes it easier for recall later.
2. Multitasking: The human brain is not designed to do multitasking. We can get a lot more things done when we focus on one thing for hours together. But today’s offices expect us to be always available in skype, phone and for meetings. Collaborative atmosphere is good but not if it makes easier for others to disturb you. It is NOT OK to have a phone call while typing an email. Unless you are the CEO or a self employed businessman or professional, it will difficult to set a time for interruptions. Experts recommend scheduling time for getting interrupted. Example, phone calls and emails should be handled from 10-11am in the morning and 5-6 pm in the evening.
3. Not Having Enough Exercise: 5 hours of rigorous physical exertion per week is mandatory for the body and brain to perform in its peak. Our body was made to move and we are not helping our body by sitting in a chair and staring at a screen all day long. Research also suggests that a stand up table can help a lot in concentration because the sitting posture is not good for blood flow to the brain.
The above three points are just the top 3 reasons I have in mind. Of course there are a lot more than that which governs our productivity. You should read the book The Power of Full Engagement which will help you be more productive in life and work.