If you really want to diminish interruptions and distractions at work, there’s a trade-off. You have to push back on the Interruption Culture that satisfies so many of your urges but interferes with getting your work done.
1. With that mind, the first hack I recommend is to give yourself some solid motivation to combat distractions: Calculate their cost. If you are typical, you’re sacrificing about half the ordinary workday to unproductive activity.
2. Here’s the second hack: Politely deter your interrupter (or what I call your “Time Bandit”) in a way that makes it in his or her best interest to let you work uninterrupted now, so that you can give them your full, undivided attention later.
3. The third hack is: Learn techniques for riveting your wandering mind. Here are a few that I teach – choose what works for you: Transcending the Environment, Constructive Acceptance, Visualizing the Ideal Self, Positive Affirmation, Psychological Counterpunching, Changing Your Internal Computer Chip.
4. Know your Critical Few, those activities which, if you neglect them, will have dire consequences for your work, your job, or your personal life.
5. Create a Whole-Week Plan, to give yourself a structure for leveraging your “extra” time by planning a whole week in advance.