For maximum productivity, recreate economy class at your office

Working in economy class

I’ve recently had the pleasure of flying a transatlantic flight to the US. After several hours, I’ve finished my reading materials, watch all the movies in the VOD and was bored to death. Then I opened my laptop and started working. The hours flew by, and the only thing to stop was my battery dying after several hours. But what was so extraordinary wasn’t the fact that I managed to work for several hours, it was the level of focus I’ve reached during this period. This allowed me to do stuff I usually put off doing, like sorting all my emails, replying long overdue ones and actually clearing my inbox. I then moved to more creative tasks, like writing new documents from scratch, white papers and even working on some annoying documents such as proposal templates. I then moved to really creative things like writing blog posts (this included), a business plan for a friend and some marketing materials- all of these which require very high level of commitment and focus. It was like I was in the zone, or as some call it, “Zen mode”. And the reason for this is clear- with nowhere to go, nothing else do and with very little obstructions from the outer world, the brain can much more easily focus on the task at hand, and do so in an orderly, starting from the mundane and moving up to more resource demanding tasks which isn’t usually a good idea since the trivial stuff usually drains most of my energy.

And I didn’t try to multi-task, since there was only one think to do at a time.

This got me thinking- could I somehow replicate this environment and reach the same results in term of effectiveness? I could find an uncomfortable place to sit, kill Wi-Fi connectivity, put my headphones on and play some relaxing music and zone off for several hours. But I suspect this will not achieve the same impact- something will always distract me- a phone call, or some colleague at the office asking a question, not to mention the need to grab lunch or coffee. Nevertheless, I’m willing to give a try. And to make it more effective I will do the following:

  1. Find a quiet room with no one else in it- minimum human interaction is necessary
  2. Kill the Wi-Fi ; no need to elaborate, any incoming email grabs your attention and destroys your focus
  3. Play some music- something to take my mind off work
  4. Set a clock for exactly one hour -even the flight ends eventually
  5. Allocate myself 1-2 tasks to focus on – any more than that and there’s a good probability I will just skip between tasks.
  6. I won’t force- if I see this isn’t working, Ill terminate the experiment and try another time (no point in forcing creativity or productivity)

I will try this and let Y’all know if this succeeded in improving my productivity.

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