Having a "plan of the day" is the key to a good, productive day. Don't make your plan as you go. Don't plan half of the day. Plan the entire day and try to go into detail. Going through a day with a good plan just does wonders to productivity.
That's why I like to sit down every morning (or even better - the night before) and plan what exactly I'm going to be working on, how much time it will take, and what should be done be the end of the day. I plan my days, I plan my weeks (in less detail) and I plan my projects.
Best tool? Whiteboard. Here's how.
Step 1: Draw boxes with your tasks. The bigger the box, the more time the task will take. It can look like this:
Step 2: Draw arrows in order you will be working through the tasks.
Here I'm starting with a blog post and then I'll be tackling some design.
As you can see, I didn't draw arrows for all tasks. Maybe I don't know yet which one I'll tackle first. It's not that important.
Step 3: Cross out completed tasks
Cross them out, but don't wipe them! Leave them on the whiteboard for extra satisfaction of completed work.
Whiteboard is a great tool for simple planning of your day. Spending even 10 minutes thinking about the work you're going to tackle will make you significantly more prepared for the work you're about to do.
And if you like to work in short sprints, check out our own FocusList which combines Pomodoro technique and daily planning.