If you’re finding your productivity dropping, or frustrated by constant interruption, this concept from the Wall Street Journal should help. In fact, it’s made a dramatic difference for me:
Avoid Work Interruptions – By SHIVANI VORA – November 7, 2006
The Problem: Too many interruptions at the office.
The Solution: Avoid email for the first hour of your day and use that time to tackle your most difficult task. After that — if the kind of job you have allows for it — check your email no more than every two to three hours. This change alone will create chunks of time for focused work.
Julie Morgenstern, a productivity consultant, says that breaking the addiction to your inbox is crucial. “Many of us feel compelled to check our email as it comes in,” she says, causing people to “self-interrupt” their flow of thought.
After email, another big interruption comes from co-workers. Instead of being in instant response mode, designate buckets of time in your day when you’re free to answer questions and deal with requests. Let your colleagues know about the open hours in a lighthearted way.
The average office worker is interrupted every three minutes and it takes 25 minutes to regain concentration after each interruption, according to a study by the University of California-Irvine. Reducing interruptions lets you reclaim work time, accomplish tasks and ease stress by instilling a sense of control.