Fall is officially here, and that means school’s in session, work’s picking back up and cuffing season applications are about due. The temporary end of day brunches and bottomless rosé means you need to be more productive with your free time.
Here are a few tips and tricks to stay productive throughout the week – whether you’re in your fall semester of class, “working from home” everyday, or hitting the traditional office from 9 to 5.
Studies show that making to-do lists produce both productivity and psychological benefits. I personally love making detailed and specific to-do lists for each of my works-in-progress because it helps transform my weekly goals into concrete tasks.
In the midst of those task lists, don’t forget to prioritize. Prioritization is super important for anyone with a busy schedule (let’s be real, that’s everyone) – once you identify the items that absolutely need to get done first, it’ll be easier to focus.
If you’re really focused, treat yourself with snacks or some type of reward after certain tasks. Wine is usually a good motivator on tough all nighters.
This may just be the hardest tip if you’re as addicted to Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and messaging as I am. Even if you’re not touching your phone, TIME found that having your phone visible nearby may still be a distraction to important tasks. This makes perfect sense: when you look at your phone, you’re reminded of the social community that you could be interacting with instead of crossing tasks off the to-do list.
The best way to avoid this distraction is obvious: turn it off. If you’re still tempted, try apps like Offtime or Moment. Offtime blocks distracting apps, making Twitter and Instagram notifications a little less tempting. Moment actually sets limits on your device usage.
Good music at a low volume is a great way to distract your brain from over-thinking and from outside noises. If you live in a big city, your work space (whether it be office of home) is prone to tons of noise pollution. Peaceful music can drown the bad stuff out while also providing a steady beat to productivity.
Another science fact! A cluttered, disorderly workspace is proven to hurt your ability to focus. According to Fast Company, people with neat offices are more persistent and less frustrated. Also, a clean desk supposedly helps you stick with a task more than one and a half times longer. So, organize your area and prepare to be less distracted.