Create Quiet Time
The Agile Zone is brought to you in partnership with JetBrains. Learn how Agile Boards in YouTrack are designed to help teams plan, visualize and manage their work in an efficient manner, with support for both Scrum and Kanban processes.
Yes, this is exactly the second paragraph, Neal Ford writes about in Chapter 3:Focus in his latest book "The Productive Programmer".
To quote Neal
If you work in an office with lots of other developers, consider instituting "quiet time", for example, from 9 A.M to 11 A.M and 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. During this time, everyone has their email turned off, there are no meetings, and it is verboten to call or go talk to someone unless there is an emergency.
When I first came here to USA, close to 8 years back, that's exactly what I was doing. Checking my emails as soon as I got to my desk at work, and just before I came back home. Many a times, I missed quite a few meetings in spite of being in the office, since every one just used email.
Next thing I know, I became addicted to email and also different instant messengers. Some like msn, some like yahoo, some one else likes Google Talk, and in no time I had several applications running simultaneously.
Did it distract me? Yes it did. Many times I used to login as invisible. That didn't help either, since in spite of being invisible, I constantly monitored the people that came online. And, I worked long hours to compensate for all these distractions.
Now being a Consultant, I can't afford to get distracted. I also have my cell phone on vibrate and hidden deep in my bag, and I check my emails and phone only during lunch and just before leaving work. Of course it has a huge impact; positive as well as negative. Positive being the huge gain in productivity and not being distracted at any cost. Negative in that I keep wondering every now and than if I missed any important email or a phone call.
So, how do you keep yourself away from all these latest gadgets? Is there any other technique that keeps you away from distractions?