Productivity is a hot topic right now. We’re all looking for productivity hacks to help us become more efficient with the limited time and energy we have available to us.

Once you’ve established when your productivity is highest, carved out time for email, and cut down on meetings, it’s time to codify your successful work schedule. Routines help you build an effective work schedule by taking the decision out of how you will spend your time. Decision fatigue is a real problem: the more decisions you need to make, the worse you’re going to be at taking in all the information you need to make an educated choice. By protecting your calendar, whatever is not planned – does not happen. Your schedule may change through the year, but building a routine helps keep you focused on what the big picture looks like – below are some tips.

Tip 1: Synchronize your biological clock with a schedule.
What if there was a way to get more out of each day? While we all have the same 24 hours, how we use that time impacts what we can accomplish. Recent research suggests that one way to pack more into your day is to sync your biological clock to your daily schedule. By doing certain things at peak periods of activity and energy, you might be able to improve your productivity.

Tip 2: Working frequently is the key to an effective work routine.
Doing creative work when you aren’t feeling creative can be difficult. Unfortunately, we don’t always have the luxury of waiting until we’re in the right mood. But rather than relying on your mood, you can build a routine that facilitates creativity, no matter how you feel that day. Essentially, if you work regularly, then you will get regular inspiration. When working on creative projects, many people feel that they can’t work every day because they don’t have enough inspiration. By making it a habit to work everyday, you bring the project into your daily life, and allow yourself to find inspiration even in completely unrelated situations.

Tip 3: Focus and ignore distractions.
Life is not perfect and it’s full of distractions. Whether you have kids, work at a co-working space or people don’t stop blowing up your Facebook Messenger, the reality is we are constantly being bombarded by distractions. This can get really annoying when we’re trying to get work done. Especially if we need to get a lot of work done in a short period of time. If those interruptions in the office are not managed, they can seriously erode your ability to focus and may lead to factual mistakes and poor judgment.

Tip 4: The art of doing one thing at a time.
You juggle a lot of balls every day, and it’s easy to feel like everything gets 20% of your attention but nothing ever gets 100%. It’s time to start giving your work your full focus. It’s easy to feel like you’re being constantly pulled in multiple directions. Fractured attention, endless to-do lists, and an overwhelming sense that everything important was due twenty minutes ago are practically the uniform of the modern workplace. If that frazzled view of work sounds a bit too much like your work day, it may be time to reconsider how you’re working, take back your focus from the multitude of distractions around you, and start focusing on the work that matters and will make a difference in your career and life.

Tip 5: Use technology and social media consciously (without the overwhelm).
Think about the last time you checked your phone: do you know the exact reason why you did it? Most people don’t – they absentmindedly pick up their smartphones, surf the web and check Facebook for no particular reason, and this is specially true for social media. One good way to prevent yourself from becoming absorbed in technology is to consciously think about why you’re using social media every time you use it.

For many of us, going to work entails sitting in front of a computer screen all day long – this can be highly detrimental to our health. For instance, when gazing into a computer screen, we unconsciously hold our breath or breathe in a shallow, unnatural way, which in turn contributes to stress-related diseases. One way that we can combat this, and be more mindful of how we use technology in general, is to practice yoga and other conscious breathing techniques.

Tip 6: Keep in control of technology – don’t let it control you!
Every day, new devices, apps, websites and content are created and we become enthralled with the latest innovation. Our society has become a tangled mess of iPhones, tablets, social media posts and laptops, which dominate our modern world. It is almost impossible to separate any career, industry or individual from technology – from television to smartphones to wearable technology, we have integrated it into almost every aspect of our lives.

It can’t be denied that technology is a necessary tool for work and entertainment. Take advantage of the benefits of technology, but do not let it disconnect you from the real world.

Tip 7: Overcome creative blocks.
Blank page syndrome: we’ve all been there before. You’ve got your document open, prepared to capture all your brilliant ideas – yet nothing seems to be coming out of your brain. Whether you’re a writer, an artist, or trying to conjure an out-of-the-box solution, a creative block can seem like an impossible hurdle to overcome. Whenever you’re stick on something, being alone and letting your mind wander can bring back your creativity. This feels quite counterintuitive, but it’s true: if you think about nothing in particular, you will necessarily become more aware of your thoughts and surroundings, which then provide a great source of creativity.

Tip 8: A hobby can boost productivity and creativity.
Our careers take up a large percentage of our time. We’re in the office most days, for most of the day, and probably working longer hours than we should. Sometimes it’s difficult to find time for hobbies and pastimes as we may feel that this time is better spent on our careers, but having a creative hobby can benefit your career in a number of ways. A regular pastime can ease mental stress, improve work–life balance and help scientists to reach innovative solutions in their work.

In sum…
By paying attention to our natural rhythms, we can maximize our energy on our priorities and rest, exercise or do other hobbies when it’s in tune with our rhythm. Sometimes, despite what we feel like doing, we just need to focus to complete certain tasks we don’t feel like doing.