Updated 12/15/21

We hope that during the past year, you haven't too much undue stress on yourself to be productive. If you've spent dozens of hours scrolling your Twitter feed, considering a new hair color, or just staring into space — we understand. But now that the holidays are approaching and a new year is upon us, you might have started to think about how to kick it up a notch and get back into the productive swing of things.

Don't get stuck in the rut of just clicking from tab to tab until closing time. We’ve been there. But hey, who says it's not time to prepare for your comeback year? If you're eager to break back into the grind, we’ve got some tips to help power through your to-do list:

Get moving

It's likely that you've had plenty of couch-to-desk-and-back-again days lately. After spending a good amount of time confined inside, there’s nothing quite like exercise to get you back in a productive mood. Studies have shown that people feel up to 41% more motivated on days when they exercise. Even if you’re not in the habit of working out regularly, taking a little time out of your day to get active can really boost your productivity, whether you take a morning yoga class, go on a short run, or bike to and from work.

And for those super busy days? If you can pull yourself away for a moment, take a short walk around the block or choose a coffee shop that’s a bit further away to get in some extra steps with your caffeine. If all else fails, even a short lap around the office can clear your mind and get you ready to take on your next task!

Do the thing you’re dreading the most first

You know that project you’ve been putting off for weeks now? It’s finally time to do it. Getting started is the hardest part, so once you’re over that hurdle, things will get better! After all, you can be more productive throughout your day if you’re not constantly trying to procrastinate. Oh, and one other thing. Many people are most productive in the morning. If that’s the case with you, power through your biggest and scariest project first thing so you don’t have to tackle it during your mid-day slump. It’ll also take a lot of the weight off your shoulders as you move forward with your day. There’s no need to feel anxious about doing the thing you’ve been avoiding if you’ve already completed it!

Group your tasks together

Batching your tasks can help you power through your to-do list more easily. If you have to reply to all your emails, block off an hour just for that. If you have to write copy, try to do it all at one time before moving on to the next task. . You’ll get more done because you’ll be able to get yourself in a groove and pump through similar tasks faster.

Work in short bursts

Setting aside short but frequent amounts of some serious focus time for specific tasks can really boost your productivity. Block off some time where you’re not distracted by email, social media, or your phone notifications, hunker down, and take short breaks in between these mini work sprints for a day chock full of productivity.

Need a little help? There are some great tools that can help you create this time just for focusing on your work. You can follow the Pomodoro technique, which involves taking 25 minutes of uninterrupted focus time followed by 5 minutes of break time. This way, you can keep track of your goals easily without sacrificing on having a little “you” time throughout the day (after all, bathroom and lunch breaks are necessary. Take them.). You can also use your phone’s timer to keep yourself accountable, or an free online clock like Cuckoo.

Another way to ensure you’re creating some uninterrupted time is to take a break from your inbox. If you’re really trying to focus on a task, the constant notifications from your email can really impact your productivity. Using tools like Inbox Pause to put your email on hold for a bit can help you take time to really focus on your work.

Make a schedule—and stick to it

If it’s not on the schedule, it’s not happening. Most of the time, writing something down on your schedule can help you stay more productive during the day. Be realistic about how long each task will take you and make a list of which tasks are most important. Making a schedule and sticking to it will help you see more of what you accomplish during the day, and see what you didn’t get to.

It's also important to remember when you start getting back into those important tasks, Rome wasn't built in a day! We hope you take these productivity tips and modify them to fit your work style. We have a feeling that you're going to be getting a lot done, real soon. Speaking of getting things done, if you're looking to snag a job where you can take your productivity to the next level, there are plenty of Planted partners looking to hire go-getter candidates right now. Don't miss out — head over to Planted now and start matching with opportunities you'll love.

Carrie Boyd is a freelance writer covering everything from startups to languages. She loves traveling to far-off lands, cooking new recipes, and drinking heart-stopping amounts of coffee. You can find her on Twitter @carrielb_. Original article modified by Planted 11/30/20.