There something I do every night that makes the next day about 100% more likely to be productive. It takes about five minutes to do and I only need a 3 x 5 index card and a pen. This probably isn’t anything new to you. You’ve most likely heard this method, or even tried it before.
The first step is writing down tomorrow’s date in full. So, let’s say tomorrow is February 23rd, 2018. You would write that on the top of the card. Then draw a line down the middle. On the left-hand side, you will write a list of things you will do upon waking—your morning routine. For me, right when I wake I usually put my headphones in and play some motivational audio (cheesy I know). While it’s playing I get dressed, visit the bathroom, then go make tea. Then I stop listening to the audio and begin to write down what I’m grateful for. Then I may read while I drink the tea. Then meditate. Then breakfast.
After the morning routine, I start doing the things on the right side of the card. These are things that have to do with day-to-day life. That might mean looking into graduate school, or some other thing that might be causing stress when I think about it. I list these in order of importance. So, at the top would be applying for a job. At the bottom might be doing laundry or fixing my car window.
Put a checkbox next to each item. When you finish the item, check the box.
For a while, I stopped doing this index card thing because I thought it was kind of stupid. It seemed childish to me that I needed this little game of checking boxes to get me to do something. But a couple weeks after I stopped, I noticed how little I was getting done. Now I don’t question it anymore. I do it every day. Now in my drawer, there’s a stack of these cards as proof of my increased productivity.