A large part of figuring out how to live life and get things done is being honest with yourself.
Let me explain. Productive people understand themselves to the point where they know that they can or can't do something. They don't waste their time doing things they know they can't do. Therefore, they have more time to get important stuff done.
Unproductive people keep trying to do something they can't do, and then blame it on everything else when the results are predictable. When I say "something they can't do" I'm not talking about a particular skill. I'm talking about their ability to focus on a task, or follow through.
For instance: I know if I sit down and try to write something while the kids are playing loudly, or the TV is on... I'm not going to get anything done. Honestly, my ADD kicks in and it's all downhill. If I'm at my desk at work, and I'm trying to get stuff done, and I have a browser open with a Twitter feed... guess what? Not going to get much done.
We lie to ourselves and pretend we're better than we really are. But the way to get things done is to be realistic about our shortcomings, our personal weaknesses, and plan for them in advance.
Do I want to lose weight? Then I need to make sure I have healthy food to eat that's easy to fix, or else I'm going to make a PB&J sandwich. I know this about myself.
Do I want to exercise? Then I need to make sure everything I need to ride my bike is set out for me to grab and go first thing in the morning, or else I'll hit snooze and end up driving. I know this about myself.
Do I want to be able to focus late in the day, after a long day and I'm tired? Then I need to make sure I get enough sleep- and a nap if needed- or else I'll just say "I'm fine" and end up being a cranky zombie until my wife finally tells me to "just go to bed!" in disgust. I know this about myself.
Do I want to be able to write something? Then I need to make sure all my chores and jobs are done and I've reconnected with the family (and use headphones), or else I will be interrupted/distracted every 30 seconds, and I'll just get frustrated. I know this about myself.
Everything I do in a day has a balance; a cause and effect. Over the years, I've learned to plan ahead and preemptively sabotage my ADD before it has a chance to sabotage me. It's how I've been able to lose weight, to write a book, to be a family man, to be successful, and still keep my cool.
It's mentally draining trying to chase your own tail all the time. Trust me, I've been there, I know. It makes you feel like a failure and subsequently, you are a failure. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But if you can step back once a day, look at yourself in the mirror, and determine a course of action that will change your day for the better, even a little bit, it will be worth it. Modify your behavior until you get the response you want.
People do this all the time to train animals and children. The subjects don't care why something is happening, they just understand that if you do A, then what will follow is B and then they move on.
Plan ahead. Be realistic about your shortcomings, and instead of being defeated by them, figure out a way to work around them.
The human mind is a vastly complex thing, but at its core, it still responds to cause and effect. Simply make a choice that will make your life easier later on, and use that opportunity to get things done. Remove distractions before they show up. And if things don't work out, don't give up.