The answer is actually very simple. It all comes down to focus.
Anyone that tells you that they can multi-task is, frankly, lying. It simply isn?t possible to concentrate properly on more than one thing at a time. If you try to do too many things at once, you will end up doing both of them slowly and poorly.
The key is to focus intensely on whatever you are doing at that moment and to avoid distractions that will break your flow.
Working like this, you can blast through your to-do list one task at a time. But first, you have to create the right conditions for yourself.
Modern life is full of distractions, whether they?re endless app notifications, email alerts or Snapchat photos of our friend?s kids/cats/cr?me brulee.?Worse, every time your brain is dragged out of productive mode, it can take 25 minutes to get back in the zone.
Just consider that for a moment: every time you fire off a reply on Facebook Messenger, you?ve just killed your productivity for a third of the next hour.
One way to maintain iron discipline is to do as the productivity coach Roland Thomas suggests and work in 50 minute bursts, switching off everything that could possibly distract you until your next allocated break.
The idea is to set yourself one task, or series of short tasks, that have to be completed in that time ? and then hit it hard.
This is a great way to give yourself an energy boost, but it also brings us onto the next problem,How do you inspire yourself to be productive when you?re working on your own?
It?s all very well deciding to get loads done in the next 50 minutes, but if you?re a typical freelancer working alone, it can be hard to keep up the momentum.
For most of us, bouncing ideas off colleagues, partners or mentors play an essential part in keeping us on the right track.
This is where ?always-on? technology comes into its own. The upshot to all those Timehop updates is that you are constantly connected to the people you?re working with, and if you handle that communication well, it becomes a major asset.That means communicating regularly with your team to keep each other updated, motivated and in the loop.
Recreating the easy flow of conversation around an office table takes a bit of thought. There are all kinds of project management tools and instant messaging apps out there that can speed up conversation between team members, but the trick is to make sure that you are making the chatter more focussed ? not less.
We do this using our purpose-build communication app Fleep, which merges incoming emails into a ?chat? style function that helps you to manage team projects and keep on top of your progress. The idea is to reduce the number of notifications that you get while organising your messages in a way that makes communication between the team a lot faster, easier and more transparent.
Ultimately, the important thing is to find a system that works for you.
Some people are great at zoning out the background noise and phone bleeps and maintaining laser-like focus on the task in hand; others find it impossible to concentrate without disconnecting the internet and sitting in total silence.
Some people love to start the day with a well-honed to do list and work their way through systematically, while others find that laying out broader aims and then writing a ?done? list at the end of the day gives them the warm fuzzy glow of edging closer to their goal.
What is clear, though, is that you and your team need to be on the same page. Even if you all have totally different ways of working, you must keep the communication flowing.
If you don?t know what?s expected of you, you don?t know what success looks like and you can?t be motivated to achieve it.
And lack of motivation is the biggest productivity killer of all.
So, there you have it, the secret sauce to boost your productivity: focus, communication and motivation. Now get to work!
If you?d like to find out more about using Fleep to make your team more productive, take a look at their website.