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Don't stop to pick up a phone call, answer e-mail, or carry on a conversation if you're in the middle of a task. Some research has found that it can take us 20 minutes or more to regain the same level of concentration after an interruption.

Just as a food diary helps you stick to your diet by offering a healthy dose of self-awareness, time-tracking software can keep you focused by revealing how many minutes you've devoted to applications and Web sites on your computer. For Macs, we like TrackTime (GetTrackTime.com; $25); PC users will want to try ManicTime (ManicTime.com; free).
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