Now available as an interactive flowchart!
If you're struggling with productivity, why? Here's a quick triage tool. Bookmark this guide and come back whenever you have problems.
Which of these is your problem:
I crossed out "not enough time" because "Too many things to do" is a better way to frame this problem.
The following techniques are simple and will fix all of your problems.
Break the things to do in two: "must-haves" and "nice to haves".
Only focus on the "must-haves". Now there's two strategies you can use, either is good:
The low-hanging fruit strategy. Do whatever items is easiest from the "must-haves".
Maximum Impact strategy. Do whichever item from the "must-haves" will have the maximum impact.
Don't worry about the hardest item on the "must-haves". Once you have momentum with other items the hardest item will be easier to deal with.
You have goals and dreams, but you don't have specific action items.
Strategy: Create milestones, break them down into steps. If you can't do this, then you need to study and learn the fundamentals related to your goals and dreams until you can break them down into actionable steps.
(If you don't think you have goals and dreams, then you need to slow down, avoid distractions, and listen to yourself.)
You're working only on the "must-haves", working on the highest impact or the easiest items, but not making enough progress.
Either: lower your expectations, or increase your basic skills.
If you are held back because you don't know the fundamentals of your field, then stop work and learn the fundamentals. If there's no skills-gap then it must be an expectation gap. Lower your expectations. No one is perfect. Good things take time.
Is the current task a "must-have" or a "nice-to-have"? If it's not a "must-have" then you can stop trying and pick a new task.
If it is not the easiest thing that remains on your "must-have" list then stop working on it, and work on the easiest thing instead.
If it is a "must-have", and it is the easiest one, yet you are blocked, then you are in the hard place. We'll get you out of the hard place within 4 sentences.
If you are trying to do something that is impossible then stop trying, pick a new goal.
If the problem is that you cannot do it, then you have two possibilities: outsource the task, or increase your skills on the fundamentals of the problem. Either way you now have a new task.
If the problem is that you do not know if it is possible to be done, then you need to perform research on the problem so you can understand whether or not it can be done: that is your new task and you are not blocked on this task.
All of your productivity problems are now solved. That was easy.
More seriously if you found the process above too tricky follow, I suggest you try the interactive flowchart instead. It guides you through the process one tiny question at a time.