Step No. 1: Make a Plan
So, you have ten extremely important deadlines you have to finish in two hours.
Take a deep breath.
Set your priorities and write a to-do list.
Once you know what's on your plate, pushing forward will be easier.
- Procraster, $2, procrasterapp.com. Helps prioritize!
- Wunderlist, free, wunderlist.com. Shares with friends!
- Any.do, free, any.do. Plans every. single. thing.
Hot Tip: Start with smaller tasks. After you complete your more manageable duties, you'll be free to grant more formidable assignments with a clear head.
Step No. 2: Eliminate Distractions
Turn your phone off.
Cut yourself off from the social media loser loop of obsessively checking for updates.
The weaker-willed can download apps that prevent you from accessing social media for a bit.
1. Checky, free, checkyapp.com. Tallies every time you check.
2. Freedom, $7 per month, freedom.to. Blocks time-suckers.
3. Flipd, free, flipdapp.co. Locks you out (temporarily).
Step No. 3: Set the Mood
Distractions don't only come from your phone and computer—busy surroundings can also make your mind drift.
Create a neat workspace and put on a pair of headphones to block the outside world.
1. Brain.fm, free, brain.fm. Backed by science!
2. Rainy Mood, $3, rainymood.com. Simple and perfect.
3. Focus@Will, $10 per month, focusatwill.com. A full-on library of sounds.
Hot Tip: If you start to get distracted, a change in location can help you refocus. Try different places to see where you work best—the library, your room, and a café can all have different effects on your productivity.
Step No. 4: Manage Your Time
If you find yourself spending hours on a task that should take 10 minutes, move on and come back to it later.
Keeping an eye on the clock will prevent you from falling behind on an intimidating to-do list.
1. Finish, free, getfinish.com. Keeps deadlines top of mind.
2. ATracker, $5, wonderapps.se. Charts how you spend your time.
3. 30/30, free, 3030.binaryhammer.com. Manages time for you!
Step No. 5: Take a Break
If you try to marathon your way through hours of work, chances are, you're going to burn out. Take short breaks and you'll last longer.
Take a short walk or do some stretching to get your blood flowing.
Something healthy will provide you with energy to keep going (or a piece of chocolate can serve as a reward for finished work).
Apps like Akasha and Headspace can help you clear your head in just a few minutes.
Hot Tip: Make it a habit.
The more often you take steps to improve your focus, the better you will become at focusing exactly when you need to.