A couple things making me feel more productive lately:
Jot down a theme for the day: at the beginning or end of the day, I make up some kind of near-platitude to help me focus and get stuff done. Recently: “Hack like a writer”, “Finish like a shipper”, “Focus on code”. They’re a bit hustle-y, nearly cringe-y, and function only to get me back on track should I field a bunch of curveballs.
“Sync” written notes to a daily page: usually after lunch and before I wrap up work for the day, I transcribe any notes/sketches/todos/etc. I wrote down, on pen and paper, to a note (in Bear). This seems to help me keep a clear head and not get overwhelmed on hectic days.
A couple things that feel right but haven’t “stuck” as habits yet:
Set out clothes for tomorrow before I go to bed: check the weather, set out what I’ll wear tomorrow. I often forget, but when I don’t I thank myself the next day.
One big thing, a dozen or so little things: I don’t think I’ll go so far as eschewing a productivity/todo app, but using One Thing as a guideline when organizing my tasks often helps me reduce implausible lists to tractable plans.