1. Put together a go-to Spotify playlist for when you need to get a lot of stuff done – or find one of the many they have ready-made from the ‘Focus’ category under ‘Genres & Moods.’
2. It’s particularly useful to curate playlists with purely instrumental music so that you have less distractions.
3. Set timers on your phone. See how much stuff you can get done in 10, 20, and 30 minute increments. The competitive side of you will kick in and attempt to race the clock.
4. Take vitamin B12 in the morning to increase your energy.
5. And take vitamin D too, especially during the winter, to help with your mood and your overall wellbeing.
6. Put headphones in, even if you don’t want to listen to music, so that you can be left alone if you’re trying to concentrate in a cafe or at your office.
7. Wearing headphones also helps to condition your brain to associate plugging in your headphones with doing work.
8. As hard as it is, get up with your first alarm every morning. It will prevent you from falling back into a sleep cycle that you won’t be able to finish in the nine minutes before your next alarm goes off. It’s an easy way to feel more awake in the morning and to increase your productivity throughout the day.
9. Create a specific to-do list for each new day. You can go off of an overall master list, but by having a unique to-do list for each day with particular tasks that need to be accomplished before you can go home, you’ll be much more likely to get it done (and to want to get it done).
10. And you can give yourself mini-rewards for each task that you cross off – even something as simple as “ten minutes on Instagram” or, a personal favorite of Thought Catalog writers: an ice cold La Croix drink. (This is not sponsored. We’re just obsessed.)
11. Unless it’s absolutely necessary that you’re available on email nonstop, sign out of your account for a couple of hours and give yourself time to actually get to that to-do list without being distracted by consistent new information.
12. Eat a good breakfast. The benefits cannot be emphasized enough.
13. Have a few healthy snacks lined up ahead of time to maintain your energy throughout the day.
14. Change venues. Sometimes just taking your laptop to another room, cafe, or section of your office is enough to refresh your mind.
15. Read a really fast-paced book with short chapters when you have to do a long task that you really don’t want to do – like cleaning your apartment or answering a bunch of emails. Every time you finish a chapter, get up and complete a set amount of work before you let yourself jump back into your book.
16. You can do the same thing with shorter, 22-minute shows on Netflix or any other streaming service.
17. Don’t allow any screen time (phone or tv) for an hour before you go to sleep. It’s supposed to help you have more restful sleep.
18. Have a walking phone call or, if possible, a walking meeting. If a coworker needs to chat or someone wants to schedule a phone call, see if you can do it while walking – it will get your blood pumping, increase your energy, and kill two birds with one stone.
19. If you’re trying to work more reading into your everyday schedule and are having a hard time, try audiobooks. You can listen to them while exercising, walking, grocery shopping, commuting to work – the possibilities are endless.
20. If something can be done in less than five minutes, just do it now. It will make that much more room in your stressed out brain and crossing it off your list will feel so good, regardless of how small it is.
21. Put your phone on airplane mode when you have to get something done that’s particularly tedious.
22. When things get to be too much, close your eyes, take a deep breath, then start again. It’s simple and it helps more than you think.