1. If you’re working on multiple projects, focus most of your time on the one that will yield the highest results.
This is often called the 80/20 rule or the Pareto principle, and it says that figuring out which 20% of your work will yield 80% of the best results will make you way more productive and inclined to work.
2. To burn off any anxiety you’re having, go for a run, dance, or do a physical activity for a half hour.
Working out increases your creativity and confidence, and is often a great way to clear your mind and let original ideas start to flow.
3. Make decisions and be decisive about them.
Being able to make a decision and move forward will help you be more productive. And those who go with their gut, rather than waffling, are happier in the long run. (Which means you won’t spend extra time agonizing over the decision you made.)
4. If you can, turn your phone off and put it in another room.
Or at worst, leave it on, but only respond to a text or call if it’s absolutely necessary during the time when you’re working.
5. Install the StayFocused app on your browser so that the amount of time you can waste online (aka stalking on Facebook) is limited.
This is seriously the best idea all around.
6. Download the Evernote app so that all of your thoughts are in one place.
This is especially helpful for those who are working on something creative. If a random idea or line pops into your head, this is the perfect place to keep all of those thoughts and images stored. Don’t spend hours searching through notebooks to find that idea you had a week ago, just plug them into this app!
7. Keep track of all of the things on your to do list with a “Do” folder.
The whole point of a Do folder is to keep track of all the apps you need to use every day, and sprinkle in a few that you eventually hope to use. That way when you do check your email, you’ll also see that Evernote app, or your fitness app, and be reminded of the things you still have to accomplish.
8. Set aside 30 minutes to an hour, and vow to only use that time to work. Once that time is up, take a 10-minute break, and repeat.
Setting an actual timer is often super helpful for this, and rewarding yourself with some kind of a treat if you actually work for that whole time also is an incentive.
9. Don’t check your email all day long, and instead agree to check it certain times.
Checking your email might be the reward you get for doing 30 minutes of work, or you might want to check it less often than that. But either way, if you aren’t constantly refreshing the inbox on your iPhone, you’re going to get more done.
10. But if it’s ABSOLUTELY necessary to check email often, make it less stressful with the Mailbox app.
The great thing about the Mailbox app is that it makes checking your email quick and painless. You get the subject, a line from the email, and with the swipe of your finger can decide if it’s read, unread, or if Mailbox should mark it as important and have you read it later. This is definitely a time saver, and will keep you organized without missing anything important.
11. Eating certain foods, like steel-cut oatmeal, dark chocolate, and bananas, can help to boost productivity. (YUM)
12. Also, not surprisingly, you need to avoid sugary and heavy foods when you’re trying to be productive.
That means to hold off on the soda, candy, burgers, and anything else that’s riddled with calories until a time when you can take a nap immediately afterward.
13. Wear something that’s comfortable and familiar.
This will almost work like having a uniform, in that wearing something that’s of a similar style will allow you to not have to think about it so much. So, if being cozy makes you feel productive, you’ll know to always keep the hoodie nearby.
14. Instead of trying to power through feeling sleepy, just take an actual nap for 10 minutes.
Ten to 20 minutes is ideal for re-energizing.
15. Create a daily routine, or set aside a specific time of day that is devoted to being productive.
Mornings might be best for this, since no matter how busy your day gets, you’ll always have that uninterrupted morning time for yourself.
16. Wake up early, and do the most important things first thing in the morning.
Taking care of the thing that’s most important to you first thing will ensure that it doesn’t get pushed to the back burner. Also, feel free to indulge in the extra coffee. After all, it boosts attention span.
17. Just do it, whatever it is, and don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
The great thing is that it’s called a first draft for a reason, right? So worse case scenario is that you do it, have a completed first draft, and then get to revise. Sounds a whole lot better than being stuck on a blank page.