Updated: May 19
1. Schedule your focus.
Work in bursts (or "sprints") and only focus on one task for the duration of your "sprint"; 30 minutes is an ideal time for a sprint.
After your sprint is over, take a break and focus on less-intensive tasks (I call them "walks") - "walks" are tasks that do not require your complete focus and can be done even when you're on "auto-pilot."
Try to get yourself into a "hyper-focused" state for the duration of your sprint(s).
If you can only handle one sprint per day, that's completely fine, don't overwork yourself because consistency is more valuable than overworking once and failing to start the next time. However, constantly experiment with how much you can handle, adjusting your work schedule accordingly.
Commit to at least one sprint per day, and schedule precise times when your "sprint" will start and end. You must commit to these times completely; write them down in your schedule, as if it's an essential appointment for something.
Finally, when you're not sprinting, calmly tick off as many "walk" tasks as possible.
If you constantly lose your "hyper-focus," stop your sprint and do not conduct another one until the following day. If you get too tired, you will not be able to return to a "hyper-focused" state; just like going to the gym, working out too hard will cause you to strain your muscles and ultimately ruin your workout for the subsequent days. Of course, this hurts your overall productivity. Still, your body giving up on those following days destroys motivation - because, compared to the day that you've over-worked yourself, now, since you're fatigued, you're capable of handling much less load, if anything. And, if you lose motivation too quickly, you'll feel as though this plan has not only failed but set you back.
Another future post will go into more detail about working in "bursts" and why it works.
2. Whenever anything comes to mind, put it down as a task and schedule another time to devote energy to it (no matter how small the task is)
It would be best if you didn't work on what has come to mind right away because it will cause you to lose focus.
Additionally, providing a little bit of time between when a task is thought up and worked on allows for the opportunity for specific optimizations to occur. For example, you may hear about the new information that might help you complete your task more efficiently - if you had worked on it right away, you might not have found out about this. Also, allowing some time before working on a task might let you "bundle" similar tasks together for a higher focus level and efficiency. Lastly, the execution of a task can be optimized when a job is scheduled to be worked on at a time where working on that task is most convenient and efficient (just a little bit of planning will allow for that).
3. When you sit down to do a task, do not look at anything else.
Checking emails, and doing other "productive" tasks, may seem productive, but you are only distracting yourself from the job you want to complete.