One thing I found useful is to allocate time and designate a space for doing specific research activities.
When I was at Princeton U, I loved sitting at the Engineering library that is well lit, bright and spacious, to read and to think of new ideas. When I verified my 139 pages paper, I used to do it in a room in the biology library at Weizmann that had no computers and no other people, only a desk, chairs and a window to an inner garden. When I go over introductions or notes, I like doing it in coffee shops.
There are several reasons why I found this to be a good practice for me:
(1) Just pondering about a good environment for me for an activity fills me with anticipation for this activity, or at least somewhat prepares me for it.
(2) The fact that I decide to do something specific at this time, and I have the space I need for doing that, induces simplicity, clarity and good order.
(3) Knowing what I like, what I care about, and also what distracts me and what is not good for me, I create environments that make it is easier for me to do what I need to do.