Take some time each day to unplug and think without distractions.
In Quiet Time, Part 1, I set the stage for why taking time each day is important. Here are some different ways you can unplug for a little while every day.
Get back to nature
Get up from your desk and take a walk around your block or your neighborhood. Leave your ear buds at home and your phone in your pocket. This is a not a walk for exercise, but just to let give your mind time to wander and make subconscious connections. I find that taking a thinking walk is extremely useful when I am wrestling with some problem or need time to compose a response to an e-mail.
Flipped Classroom Teaching on YouTube advocates this approach for teachers to help students process learning.
The gym that I visit to workout has large televisions prominently displayed for viewing from almost any position. Each of the treadmill and elliptical machines each feature their own small televisions; they also include a small shelf to place your smart phone. There have been times that I watched something on the television with the sound muted while listening to music on my iPhone.
However, more recently I have committed working out without watching television or listening to music. Like the thinking walk, exercising provides an excellent opportunity to increase the oxygen flow to your brain while providing a space for problem-solving.
Take a shower
The advantage of taking a shower or bath, or swimming in a pool, is that electronics and water do not mix. Thus, you must be disconnected in order to be in water. While more BlueTooth, waterproof speakers are available, I encourage you to take silent showers in order, once again, to provide your mind some time to process your studies, writing, or work.
Take a nap
I once read a book that described a technique used by Thomas Jefferson to discover new ideas. According to the book, Jefferson would sit in a chair while holding a metal ball in each hand. As he drifted off to sleep, the ball would drop from his hands into a metal pie plate; the noise would startle him awake. Whatever Jefferson was dreaming when startled is what he would evaluate for future development.
Even if you don't go to the effort that Jefferson did, simply taking a nap can renew your energy and provide a break for mental processing.
I encourage you to try one of these techniques to see if it improves whatever it is that you are working on. What other ways have you tried to achieve some quiet time?