Read an article on Sparring Mind about productivity. The article has links to research papers. Use Google Scholar to find downloadable versions. I thought that the article had some useful things to say. I am highlighting the main points here.
- Use habits, not just willpower. Tremendously important. My own experience – the less planning, the more willpower it takes for accomplishing a task. But this is more on form versus content. In a sense. By form I mean the structure of one’s day, the process of planning and the process of working. A strict schedule, and a well-structured system will set the grounds for high productivity.
- Go ‘all-in’ on tasks – Have work slots. The best work slots seem to be 90 minutes in length. At least, that is what the best violinists do. This depends on the type of work and the type of person. My recommendation would be to start at 40-45 minutes and have a maximum of 90 minutes. Then start the task and end when the task ends. Take a 10-20 minute break depending on the length of the work slot. During the slot do not take breaks and focus hard at the task at hand.
- Track your work. If it’s not worth measuring, it’s not worth doing. This is tremendously important. It’s also a part of setting up your system at work. Keep a list of achievements for the day. Every work slot should have some achievement at the end of it. Trello might be a good way to record this.
- DO NOT MULTITASK. This is very important and much ignored. Do one thing at a time. Don’t let your focus waver.