There are internal aspects of your productivity that you might be able to control and improve. However, in a corporate environment, some external aspects can’t fully be mastered.
Typically, your productivity depends on how you apprehend a certain number of factors and your habits might tell you a lot about how productive you are or not:
The number of times checking your email in a day, how much time you spend on answering emails, the number of time you are called to do something not related to your current task, your ability to make daily plans and stick to them or the number of time you have to interrupt your work to answer the phone are all factors that would benefit or prejudice your productivity depending on the outcome.
As a matter of fact, you can control most of it and improve yourself, but in a corporate environment, you are bound to a social environment that you cannot always tame. Some company want you to abide by their rules and standards and want you to work and organize yourself the way they want, not the way you are used to. The environment of the office might also be adverse. You might have to sit next to a very talkative guy or group of guys, you might have a chief officer requiring you to stop doing what you are doing to answer what he asks in priority several times in the day, or be simply given tools that are not the best suited to perform your tasks efficiently. Unfortunately, you do not have much control over your environment and corporative rules.
I used to work for a banking client which implement open space office for their worker. As an IT consultant, I was sitting in a room, with probably one hundred other workers, with very few sound breaking object. I had two main tasks to perform: Application Development (AD) and Application Management (AM). For the customer, AM had priority over AD, they obviously could not afford to have a production application not functioning, but for my employer AD was the lucrative task. You cannot change such a paradox. I had to change from AD to AM several times each day. My production and my co-workers were obviously negatively impacted.
Also, external beneficial factors are not always related to work itself. Resting, taking a leave, holidays, working less to be more focused can drastically improve your productivity. Working 14 hours to finish your current project on time might be the obvious but not the most effective solution.
Tracking the time you spend doing something is the only way to measure how productive you are. Lord Kelvin once said: “if you can’t measure it, you cannot improve it?”
Some consider self-improvement not only a working environment matter but a way of life, a way to control what they are doing in every compartment of their life, from taking breakfast in the morning to sleeping during the night. It seems important for those people to build strong routines in order to get yourself prepared for the day. You can see this like a checklist such as a pilot does just before take-off, in order to prepare yourself for a productive day, getting rid of your grumpiness, your sleep, your stress or angriness.
The man is a creature of habit, he will easily adapt and learn to depend on those routines, even if at first glance they are pretty complicated to apprehend.
To keep track of your time at any moment, a single sheet of Excel might be sufficient. There are tons of software available to you for the sole purpose of measuring the time spent on each daily task. WhiteRabbit proposes a simple way to manage tasks and projects whether those projects are professional related or part of your life routines. WhiteRabbit service is free for single users such as freelancers.