Pierre Khawand has an intriguing E-book out “The Results Curve™: How to Manage Focused and Collaborative Time” that makes the following suggestions for increasing your personal effectiveness in the face of the plethora of sources for interruption and distraction we can leave ourselves vulnerable to if we are not careful.
He has five key observations/suggestions based on years of research into productivity:
- The Results Curve™ plan for 40 minute segments of focused activity. While different timeboxing techniques suggest setting aside 15, 25, or 30 minute blocks of time for focused execution, Kawand’s research suggests that after 30 minutes you are now fully in gear and another 10 minutes of focused effort typical results in significant additional accomplishment.
- MicroPlan™ take a minute to jot down three to six key steps or sub-tasks that you want to accomplish in your 40 minutes of focused activity.
- Use a Timer to help you stay in the zone for 40 minutes. With a watch or clock you need to keep checking which risks loss of focus, a timer will interrupt you at the end of your block but doesn’t distract you before then.
- Disable External Interruptions turn off your phone, turn off your e-mail, put a “do not disturb” sign on your cube or office door, turn off IM/Skype, and take steps to eliminate any distracting sounds.
- Follow Focus Time with Collaboration Time catch up on E-Mail/IM/Skype and return any calls that have come in.
The book is a 36 page briefing that’s worth 40 minutes of your time. If you find it useful I would check out his “Accomplishing More with Less” workbook.