If you’re anything like me, yesterday was sluggish following July 4th festivities. 

Now it’s Friday, and I both want to do nothing and get a lot of things crossed off my list. I’m going for the latter.

But how?

Here are my five tips to lifehack your brain and get shit done, even when it feels horrible and you’d rather watch the #whatthefluff challenge videos on Instagram (more on that below). 

  1. Put your phone on a virtual air voyage to a land far, far away. My friend Kara is obsessed with airplane mode on her phone (and turning off the wifi on her computer). She’s onto something, friends. Hit that little airplane mode button. Then put that phone physically far away. Suddenly, you are free. The world is your action-oriented oyster.

  2. Set a timer. It’s amazing how much I can get done in short periods of time. In the time it takes for my coffee to brew I unload the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, and imagine what it would be like to be a person who doesn’t depend on a caffeine hit to function. Same rules apply post-coffee, but with a real timer instead of a forced waiting period. Set a timer for 30 minutes, and then get.shit.done. Your reward at the end of 30 minutes is a 5 minute break. Bonus points if you make it a dance break.

  3. Sort your soundtrack. If you need to do heavy lifting with your brain, I’m positive that your time capsule playlist on Spotify is not your friend. Lyrics = Distraction. If you want deep focus, try earplugs! I discovered them while studying for the bar exam and they help me get into a little bubble of productivity. If earplugs aren’t your jam or you don't need to be fully in the productivity bubble, put on your favorite quiet classical music/Tibetan singing bowls/nature sounds/white noise. Shut out the world.

  4. Ignore your email. If you can’t turn off your wifi, let your email sit unread for the duration of your 30 minute timer + your 5-minute reward. After that, deal with your email. Then ask yourself - did anything bad happen by not reading/responding for those 30 minutes? I bet the answer is no. I am not suggesting that you stop responding to email or reading it completely, but brief lag times in responses do not cause the world to explode, and those non-email chunks of time let you actually be productive. (Spoken by a recovering hyper-responsive emailer.)

  5. Literally cross things off your list. I became the Queen of to-do lists while working in big law. And I love nothing more than crossing things off of it. At the end of each day, I take a couple of minutes to revisit my to do list. Whatever is left, I determine whether it can wait until tomorrow. If it can’t, I deal with it in some capacity. Those things that can wait get moved to a fresh, neat to-do list. I know that I won’t forget what needs to be done tomorrow, and then I can unplug.

  6. Bonus! When you’ve reached the point of unplugging >>> CLICK HERE FOR WHAT THE FLUFF.

Let’s hustle with focused intention, and then let’s r-e-l-a-x. Have an integrated weekend, you deserve it.


Laena McCarthy