I realized something about my productivity and work habits on my flight to Panama City from Bogota as I was working on a project I had brought along with me. After the plane had roared off the runway, the flight attendants soon told us we could use our electronics. I asked the man next to me how long the flight would be, he told me 1 hour and 30 minutes, more or less.
I worked very diligently in that hour and 30 minutes, much more so than when I work in coffee shops. There were many reasons for this, and I realized that I can apply these to my every day working habits.
1) On a flight I have a time limit. This means I need to get everything done before the doors open. It was an hour and a half of non-stop, carefully chosen work that I knew needed to be done before the flight landed. This leaves me with very little time to slack off and discourages me from wasting any time on unnecessary tasks.
2) I can only work on one thing. This means I don’t try to tackle 3 different things at once. My focus is only on doing that one thing efficiently. Humans notoriously cannot multitask. And when we work on one thing we achieve better results than when we focus on many.
3) No internet to distract me. One of my favorite apps for doing this is SelfControl (for Mac). I no longer have WiFi in my apartment. I can’t get distracted for whatever reason on an airplane, so all my time goes strictly to work.
The moral: The next time you get to your desk, choose one task that needs to be completed, set a reasonably time limit for the task at hand, and disconnect your wifi to avoid all distractions. Set the stopwatch and work until the alarm. Then move on to other tasks accordingly.