Get Rid of Pesky Distractions
Some interruptions are simply a waste of time, so your next step is to cut way down on them:

  • Rearrange your space. If your office feels like Grand Central, make it less inviting. Close your door just enough to avoid eye contact with people passing by. In a cubicle, move your chair or position a plant for a blocking effect.
  • Break the e-addiction. Turn off your e-mail alert, and let voice mail pick up when you really need to concentrate. I highly recommend the radical concept of not checking e-mail for the first hour of the day. Instead, spend that time on your most imperative task. The sense of accomplishment you feel from knocking off that big to-do fuels you with energy all day long and lets you meet the demands of others less resentfully.
  • If you're supervising people, empower them to make decisions so you're not constantly inundated with tiny questions and concerns. Be clear on the destination, but let people be creative on the path. Tell subordinates exactly which decisions they can make without you. If someone comes to you with a problem she could handle on her own, turn it back around. ("Can you make that call? I won't be able to get to it for two days" or "Come up with a few solutions, then let's meet.")