Tom Goss, a musician friend of mine, stayed last week at a cabin I own to finish up work on an album. It was fun to have him around for a while.
One of the things that drew him to my little shack in the woods was its lack of WIFI. A continuing theme heard these days is that effective people are those who create strategies for tuning out distractions. Willpower alone will not work. You have to make it hard or impossible to browse the Web, answer your phone, etc. When I’m deep in a project (music or otherwise) I often unplug the cable modem and stow it in a shelf and turn off my phone. It’s not as effective as sequestration in an isolated cabin but it’s enough of a barrier to keep me on task.
At my previous desk job I was known for never answering my phone (it was unplugged and in my desk) and rarely attending meetings. It annoyed some folks but it really helped me get my work done and be very effective at my job.
Big Think had a very interesting interview with Jason Fried on this topic called Why You Can’t Work at Work. Definitely worth a visit.