If you find yourself aimlessly surfing the web, compulsively checking social media, or easily distracted by your surroundings throughout the year, odds are it’s even harder to remain focused during the summer season. While the adaptogens in NeuRoast blends—from Cordyceps to Chaga, Lion’s Mane to Turkey Tail—are chock full of brain-boosting benefits, a productivity hack here and there never hurts.
Here are our top seven:
1. Surround yourself with red and blue tones
According to a study from the University of British Columbia, red hues were found to enhance one’s attention to details, while blue is most effective in boosting our creativity.
“Red boosted performance on detail-oriented tasks such as memory retrieval and proofreading by as much as 31 percent compared to blue,” writes researchers. “Conversely, for creative tasks such as brainstorming, blue environmental cues prompted participants to produce twice as many creative outputs as when under the red [color] condition.”
2. Try the (10x2)*5 trick
Don’t let the mathematical formula fool you. This hack, developed by Merlin Mann (author of 43folders.com) is a simple way to compartmentalize your time when trying to chip away at very large tasks or check off a list of short to-dos. The premise is simple: 10-minute focused work sprints followed by two-minute breaks. Follow that pattern for five “reps,” which equates to 60 minutes, or one hour (1).
3. Follow the “one read per email” rule
You know the feeling when you open and email, read it, aren’t sure how to respond (or don’t want to respond at that moment), and leave it for later? Yeah, us too. The only problem is that this pattern can cause your inbox to grow (and grow, and grow), leading you into a black hole that feels hopelessly unsalvageable—past the point of return.
The solution? Read each email once and only once. When you do, decide exactly what to do with it, and follow through. That can mean replying, deleting, forwarding—essentially anything but leaving it to be dealt with later. It sounds small, but it makes a world of difference.
4. Try your hand at the “Eat The Frog” strategy
Created by author Brian Tracy, the “eat the frog” approach is all about capitalizing on the increased energy and attention you have in the morning, and taking that time to tackle the most important task of your day. Reserve the smaller, less arduous tasks for the afternoon and early evening.
The quirky name of the approach was inspired by a quote from Mark Twain, when he said: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of your day”(2).
5. But acknowledge (and respect) if that doesn’t work for you
Some people don’t experience increased energy and attention in the early hours of the day because they’re just not morning people… and that’s okay. Maximize your productivity by respecting your body clock and finding your own golden hours—whether that’s mid-day, early evening, or late night. Schedule your tasks accordingly throughout the day with difficulty and required level of attention in mind.
6. Dabble in digital minimalism
Although it may sound daunting, try turning off all push notifications on your phone to exercise more agency over your consumption of social media and decide when you want to respond to requests for your time and attention.
If you’d rather not go cold turkey, ease into “digital minimalism” by turning off push notifications for a few hours at a time. Once you get more accustomed to it, try turning them off for the entire day, or even switching your phone to “Do Not Disturb” mode.
And when you’re asleep, charge your phone outside of your room to resist the temptation to check Facebook or your email inbox throughout the night. Allow yourself the time and space to get a good night’s sleep to promote peak productivity the following day.
Using the Time Limit option on your iPhone (if you have an iPhone), you can limit yourself to as little time on social media or any other apps that may be eating away at your time.
7. Experiment with different productivity apps
If you find yourself falling deep into the YouTube rabbit hole, or reading food blogs until your stomach starts grumbling, try blacklisting them for a set period of time using the SelfControl or Cold Turkey app for Macs.
To limit—but not totally restrict—your time spent on certain websites, install the StayFocused extension on Google Chrome. Once your allotted time on select websites is up, your access will be blocked for the remainder of the day.