When I was up in Toronto, I was interviewed by Samantha Grice from the National Post about 43 Folders, productivity stuff, and the sad sorry state of my own day-to-day productivity.

As a sidebar to the little profile she wrote, Samantha also asked me to draft a few words on my favorite fast tips for getting it together.

Herewith: Merlin’s top 5 super-obvious, “no-duhâ€? ways to immediately improve your life:

1. Reduce noise – We all have innumerable inboxes, interruptions, and distractions that are part of work and life – you can’t change that. What you can do is get more hard-nosed about the elective diversions that you invite into your world.

2. Write things down – Ever find a piece of paper in your office with seven digits on it? You know it’s a phone number, but whose? Get ruthless about jotting down ephemeral information if you’ll need to recall it later.

3. Focus on action – My favorite productivity book, “Getting Things Doneâ€? highlights how anything you want to do in life eventually comes down to intentional physical activity – even if it’s something as mundane as “take out trashâ€? and “call Mom.â€?

4. Get out of your inbox – Many of us are habituated to living out of our email inbox, voicemail, and the other “in basketsâ€? of our lives. Instead, try to set aside regular, periodic times when you trawl for the new content in your life – then get back to work!

5. Get pickier – You are the sole person in your life who gets to decide where your time and attention can go. Take that responsibility seriously by not wasting time on junk.

Photo by amberglow.