When you run a business or lead a team, you’ve always got a thousand things on your mind. There is always much to juggle—issues that need to be addressed, obstacles to overcome, goals to achieve, people to connect with, appointments to keep… the list goes on and on.

It’s enough to create some serious mental congestion in your head. See, all of those balls you’re keeping in the air can effectively cause a traffic jam in your mind. You may sit down to do your work but find that it’s hard to let a creative thought through; you’re too focused on all the day-to-day stuff that you’re supposed to keep track of.

Really engaging in good, creative, productive work requires you to clear that congestion and bring some clarity to your headspace—but how? I’ve got some tips for you that I think you’ll find to be pretty practical, and hopefully helpful!

Don’t check email first thing in the morning. In fact, don’t even check it within your first hour in the office. Make it the fifth, sixth, or seventh item on your to-do list. Allow yourself some time to get at least a few things done in a clear, uncluttered headspace before you allow email communications to intrude.

Disable all electronic alerts. Take some time to go through your phone and your laptop and ensure that you’re not getting little dings every time there’s a text, an email, or a Facebook message. Set aside appointed times throughout the day to check these things, but free yourself from the constant barrage of distractions.

Break larger goals into smaller ones. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by long-term ambitions—but what if you take big projects and break them down into smaller steps, perhaps just one or two reasonable goals for each day? This is a great tool for managing all that noise in your head.

Take breaks. I’m forever stressing the importance of taking regular breaks. It’s so vital to allow your mind a chance to just wander, rather than constantly focusing it on big tasks and projects. Take your dog for a walk. Go rollerblading. Do something to allow yourself a reprieve.

Use the end of each day to prepare for the start of the next one. Before you leave the office for the evening, get your to-do list ready and all applicable documents lined up for the next morning. Clean your office. Declutter! Give yourself every opportunity to hit the ground running.

Use these tips to get your head in the game—and to start really using your time at the office well.