OK, now that you’ve taken a look at your own life, realized that you are totally unproductive due to interruptions, what can you do to become productive again?
Work at home, or at least, away from the office.. Seriously. Talk to your boss and see if there is a way for you to spend every second Monday/Tuesday/etc. at home to do your work. For some of you this isn’t going to work due to the work that you do. For others, those that producing tomes, need some time to plan the next great project or even, goodness gracious, catch up on that documentation you forgot to do – six months ago – spending some solid time working on these items can be a tremendous benefit. Now, you don’t necessarily have to be at home. Some people find that working at home is not as rewarding as it could be due to hundreds of other distractions. An alternative location is the key. Whether this means you book a meeting room for all day, find an abandoned office that no one is using or even use the desk/office of someone who is on vacation, getting away from your desk, the spot where people find you, is key.
Another step? Flush your Crackberry down the toilet. Figuratively. Unclip it from your belt and put it in your briefcase/deskl/backpack and bring it out every hour and see what you missed. The constant buzzing of new messages, the incessant weight just totally p***** me off sometimes and I need to just get away from it. Why check every hour? Well, research has shown that people work most effectively if they take a five minute break every hour. Go to the bathroom, get something to drink, check your voicemail, etc. Just remember that this is a five minute break and not the start of five minutes of different work.
Turn off email notification (thanks Garth). You know that little window that comes up and says "You’ve got new mail and here is the subject line and who it is from…" Turn that off or even shutdown Outlook when you don’t need it. Just remember the five minute rule once an away.
Take a look at sites like Lifehacker (Tech tricks, tips and downloads for getting things done). (On your spare time, of course) This site contains some useful and some useless tips on how to keep organized and get your life back together.
Unfortunately, for some of the people reading this note none of the solutions are going to work. You know who you are: support personnel. Those people who support other people and who, quite frankly, need to be in constant touch because their clients need help. An email about the best way to re-engineer a COM+ application can be done later. An email about a crashed system needs to be handled NOW. So, while many of you can take advantage of these and other tips, others … oops, have to go, later.