Every one of us is different. We each have our ways of being productive. I have been working as a developer and software architect for nearly 21 years.
Here is brief summary of my story.
My first job after the USAF was as a lone IT help desk worker in a small shop of about 20 people. Things were quiet. I was able to fix one issue at a time. I even had spare time to learn web design and development.
Everything changed when I landed a job at a consulting company as a full-time developer. The tasks kept piling up. I needed a way to manage it all.
That's when I discovered GTD and productivity apps. I was great at GTD. I explored all of the apps and constantly my tasks so I could see what to work on next. I enjoyed it so much; I spent hours a day fine-tuning my system.
I was still not getting my work done. Eventually, I completely burnt out. I scrapped my system altogether and started focusing only on the job. However, I still needed a way to manage all of the things I needed to do.
I started blocking time on my calendar. Over the next few years, I learned more about Time Management, Mindfulness, and many other fundamentals necessary to be productive in today's chaotic world.
My productivity system is constantly adapting. My calendar is my foundation. It tells me (and others) what I should be doing now and my availability. I also use timers, lists, paper, notes, and other tools as needed to help keep me on track. And I'm still always experimenting.
One of the most important things I've learned is that things will always change. We have to adapt to what works in our current conditions. When it comes to productivity, we need to understand the fundamentals so we have an arsenal of tactics.
We must understand ourselves so that we can be productive.