Originally Posted by fubar3
Perhaps you are doing boring academic work. Some people are lucky in that they can do what they like instead of having to like what they do.
Try finding a mentor. A mentor can help you to spend time more efficiently in working toward your chosen purpose.
Originally Posted by JK1
Avoid sugar and other high glycemic index foods such as pasta and bread. Eat plenty of protein...
This too. I'm so glad someone beat me to this.
Personally I enjoy listening to music while doing most anything, but the genre and type of music certainly matters depending on my activity (in other words, don't put Rage Against The Machine or Rammstein on if you want to be very calm, and don't try to get pumped up with Voodoo Child or FSoL
I'd also suggest avoiding other distractions, like the Internet, TV, etc unless you have the ability to selectively multi-task (not everyone does). And finally I'd agree with billy's advice - break your work down into pieces and move through it, so for example:
Say you need to write an essay. So instead of sitting down and saying "I write essay now" sit down and think about "what do I want to write about?" and then go from there. The next step would be figuring out what, and then filling in the information, and so on. You don't have to script all of that out, but working through that mentally is very helpful (and you feel like you're accomplishing things), so now you're dealing with a list of tasks:
- Decide on a topic (or if you already have a topic given, take this step out)
- Figure out what you already know about that topic
- Figure out if that is enough to finish your task
- If not, go learn more about the topic (in a reasonable manner, don't sit down and try to read six books at once, etc)
- Figure out how you want to tell the world about the topic
- Start outlining and then expand from there
Much easier than sitting there and waiting for blood to pool at your fingertips.
And you can more or less extrapolate or scale this kind of "outlining" to other tasks, basically the point is to break tasks down into smaller pieces, and then sort those pieces and build a solution. Or as the old saying goes: "how do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time."
Finally, I would encourage you to get enough (and regular) sleep, and figure out when YOUR best working hours are - not everyone is best suited to waking up at 9 AM, doing their best work from 9 AM to 5 PM, and then going to bed at 8 PM.