Resources › For Students and Parents 11 Genius Productivity Tips You Haven't Tried Share Flipboard Email Print Hero Images / Getty Images For Students and Parents Homework Help Homework Tips Learning Styles & Skills Study Methods Time Management Private School Test Prep College Admissions College Life Graduate School Business School Law School Distance Learning View More By Olivia Valdes Education Expert B.A., American Studies, Yale University Olivia Valdes is the senior editor of ThoughtCo and the founder of Zen Admissions, a college admissions advising service. our editorial process Olivia Valdes Updated January 09, 2018 There are 24 hours in a day and you want to make the most of them. If you've fallen into a productivity rut, don't be afraid to try something new. These tips will inspire you to conquer your to-do list and accomplish your goals. 01 of 11 Make a Brain Dump Plan You already know the importance of sustained focus for maximum productivity. When you’re in concentration mode, you need a way to quickly record and store any passing thoughts that are important but unrelated to your current project. Enter: the brain dump plan. Whether you keep a bullet journal by your side, utilize your phone’s voice memo recorder, or use an all-encompassing app like Evernote, having a brain dump system frees your mind to focus on the task at hand. 02 of 11 Track Your Time Relentlessly Time tracking apps like Toggl help you visualize where your time goes every day. Consistent time tracking keeps you honest about your own productivity and reveals opportunities for improvement. If you discover that you’re spending too much time on projects that don’t matter to you, or too little time on those that do, you can make deliberate adjustments. 03 of 11 Try Single-Tasking Resist the pressure to multi-task, which will leave you feeling scattered and your powers of concentration spread thin. Single-tasking – applying all your brain power to a specific task for a short burst – is more effective. Close all the tabs on your browser, ignore your inbox, and get to work. 04 of 11 Use the Pomodoro Technique This productivity technique combines single-tasking with a built-in reward system. Set an alarm for 25 minutes and work on a specific task without stopping. When the timer rings, reward yourself with a 5-minute break, then restart the cycle. After repeating the cycle a few times, give yourself a satisfying 30-minute break. 05 of 11 De-Clutter Your Workspace Your workspace could be negatively affecting your productivity. If you require an organized desktop to function at your best, take a few minutes at the end of each day to clean up any clutter and prepare your workspace for the following day. By forming this habit, you’ll set yourself up for reliably productive mornings. 06 of 11 Always Show Up Prepared Compile everything you’ll need to complete your task before you start working. That means bringing your laptop charger to the library, carrying functional pens or pencils, and gathering relevant files or paperwork in advance. Every time you stop working to retrieve some missing item, you lose focus. A few minutes of prep saves you countless hours of distraction. 07 of 11 Start Each Day With a Win There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing an item off your to-do list early in the day. Start each day by accomplishing an easy but necessary task, like finishing a reading assignment or returning a phone call. 08 of 11 Or, Start Each Day With a Toad On the other hand, the best time to knock off an unpleasant task is first thing in the morning. In the words of 18th-century French writer Nicolas Chamfort, "Swallow a toad in the morning if you want to encounter nothing more disgusting the rest of the day." The best “toad” is anything you’ve been avoiding, from filling out a lengthy application form to sending that stressful email. 09 of 11 Create Actionable Goals If you have a major deadline coming up and the only task on your to-do list is “finish project,” you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. When you approach big, complicated tasks without breaking them into bite-sized pieces, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. Luckily, there’s an easy fix: spend 15-minute writing down every single individual task that needs be completed for the project to be finished, no matter how small. You’ll be able to approach each of these small, achievable tasks with increased focus. 10 of 11 Prioritize, Then Prioritize Again A to-do list is always a work in progress. Every time you add a new item to the list, reevaluate your overall priorities. Assess each pending task by deadline, importance, and how long you expect it to take. Set visual reminders of your priorities by color coding your calendar or writing your daily to-do list in order of importance. 11 of 11 If You Can Get It Done in Two Minutes, Get It Done Yes, this tip runs counter to most other productivity suggestions, which emphasize sustained concentration and focus. However, if you have a pending task that requires no more than two minutes of your time, don’t waste time writing it on a to-do list. Just get it done.