As the digital age has progressed, it has gotten continuously harder to work on a task without interruption. We all have cell phones, email, and online chat. And as a result, we are expected to be available basically all of the time. But climbing down from a project because some emails just came in, or someone just asked for your help over chat is destructive to productivity and even quality of work.
The trap that this lands us in is always feeling like we’re working or getting things done (because we are actually constantly busy), but at the end of the day looking back at several things left unfinished or half done because we lost focus.
As hard as this is, turn it off. When you have an important task at hand, ignore email, chat, and texts. Focus all of your attention on the bigger project until you come to a stopping point. Maybe set up a schedule– certain times during the day you will check email (end of every hour, after lunch and before you leave, etc.). Find what works for you and the demand of your position.
Try this out and see if your productivity and work quality doesn’t improve as a result.