I’m a simplifier — constantly trying to simplify things — focus more time on fewer things. As CEO and a father of 3 soon to be 4 kids, it’s helped to get fairly good at it. There are just too many moving pieces to not be.

There are endless number of books on productivity. I just read (skimmed!) “The 4-Hour Workweek”. It seems the common thread in books like this is to work less by writing a book telling others how to work less.

Unfortunately I don’t see this as realistic for most people. The author seems like a bit of a huckster too so take that for what it’s worth.

Here are some of the tactics that work for me:

  • Understand the difference between being productive versus being busy. It’s easy to be busy. Much harder to be productive and know the difference.
  • Throw out / recycle most everything. Lets you focus on the few things that matter. Hard to do with kids and a pack rat of a wife … but I’m trying 😉
  • Make to-do lists for the day. It helps me prioritize and stay focused.

Here are some more specific recommendations:

  • Quit Facebook. Major time suck. I did this at the beginning of this year and feel much better for it. We lived many a year without it so life will go on if I don’t know every detail of everyone else’s lives.
  • Remove all Twitter apps. Tweetdeck, Twitteriffic, etc … from your desktop or dock. Easy to confuse keeping with everyone’s tweets with being productive. Use it at select moments during the day. Life is too short to fritter it away on this.
  • Remove those “you received an email alert.” Again, move away from distracted oriented things.
  • Shred all receipts and bills (after paying them.) You can get most everything online anyway. It’s easier to focus when you have less stuff.
  • Concentrate certain types of meetings on particular days. I get a fair amount of meeting requests from potential investors. Instead of scattering the check-in calls throughout the month, I started scheduling them to occur on a particular day in a given month. I would much rather have one day completely booked with my investor hat on versus having to disperse my thinking across a number of days.

So try them out or call me crazy. Either way, I’m always looking for new ways to minimize distractions in my life and focus on fewer things better. If you have additional suggestions, I would love to hear them.