4 lifestyle changes to make you more productive in 2018

The 10-minute morning routine that Tony Robbins uses to stay grateful

Between working toward your career goals and planning for your financial goals, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. But if you want to be more productive in 2018, you'll need to find ways to remain calm and focused.

A few simple changes incorporating the practices of some of the biggest names in business can help you turn things around and get ahead.

Here are four lifestyle changes that could help you become more successful in the new year:

1. Build a daily routine that inspires you

Tony Robbins, best-selling author and speaker, has helped many, including tennis champion Serena Williams and actor Hugh Jackman, feel more focused in their careers.

One of his favorite fear-reducing tactics, which he uses with clients and in his own life, is a strategy called priming. The process involves conditioning yourself to react to events in a certain way.

Tony Robbins
David A. Grogan | CNBC

"If you're going to get the results that you deserve and that you want, you want to prime yourself for success," he said at an event in July. "You need a daily practice, a daily practice that's going to put you in the best state possible regularly."

To help prime yourself for feeling strong, Robbins recommends two steps:

First, he told CNBC Make It, set aside 10 minutes each morning for reflection and mindful breathing, a process that helps him stay focused and motivated every day.

Spend the first three minutes thinking about three things you're grateful for. Spend the next three minutes feeling at peace and thinking of people you care about. Finally, spend three minutes envisioning three things you want to accomplish.

Next, he suggests listening to an inspiring audiobook or podcast while you commute, do household tasks or exercise.

"Prime yourself for courage," he said, "rather than hoping you show up that way, based on the triggers of your environment."

2. Start carrying a book

Think about how many times a day you reach for your phone when you're bored or have down time. If you picked up a book instead, you could be benefiting more by learning about something new, reading something inspiring or simply relaxing with a fun novel.

Dominick Reuter | Getty Images

Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and business partner to legendary investor Warren Buffett, credits much of his success to a habit he and Buffett share — reading.

He says young people should spend less time on their phones and more time buried in books.

"In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn't read all the time — none, zero," says Munger, according to David Clark, author of "The Tao of Charlie Munger."

Scientific research supports Munger's advice to read more. Several studies have found that people who read show higher levels of empathy and emotional intelligence and are more likely to stay mentally sharp.

3. Exercise for 20 minutes a day

One of the best ways to feel more relaxed and focused is to get active.

Even just 20 minutes of working out — which is less than the time you probably spend watching an episode of your favorite Netflix show — has been shown to boost a person's physical and mental health.

Sir Richard Branson.
Cameron Costa | CNBC

In fact, people who exercise vigorously for 150 minutes each week, or about 20 minutes each day, sleep significantly better than those who don't, according to a study of more than 2,500 people.

Billionaire Richard Branson says he is twice as productive on days when he exercises. That's why he tries to start each day at 5 a.m. on the right note, by exercising. He's an avid runner and cyclist.

"[Keeping fit] keeps the brain functioning well," Branson said in an interview with FourYourBodyPress.

4. Set up a sleep routine

If you have trouble falling asleep, it might be because you don't have a proper sleep routine, according to Dr. Philip Gehrman, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine.

"Most people need a good hour of winding down down time before they're just physically and mentally ready to go bed," Gehrman told CNBC Make It earlier this year.

Avoid eating directly before bed because it can cause acid reflux and make you feel uncomfortable, he says. Give yourself time to digest. And while having a glass of wine before bed may seem to make you tired, alcohol leads to disrupted sleep.

Arianna Huffington: How to turn sleep into your secret weapon

Instead, set up a relaxation routine. Yoga, meditation, coloring or progressive muscle relaxation are all techniques experts recommend.

Avoid activities that get you excited, like watching the news or an action-packed TV show. And, as media mogul Arianna Huffington recommends, keep your iPhone away from your bed.

Huffington recently told CNBC Make It that feeling constantly exhausted is one of the easiest ways to derail your own career. Making sleep a priority, she says, will help you be much more productive.

"For me, it's just a question of building the foundation," she says, "and then I find it much easier to get a lot more done and do it without this constant sense of pressure."

Check out 2 science-backed things Bill Gates does to unwind

The evening routine that helps Bill Gates relax and boost his creativity