How to Stop Getting Distracted at Work

The Wall Street Journal has a piece on – hold on, gotta check my email. Where was I?

That’s right, a story about workplace distractions and how companies are dealing with them…

Within Intel Corp.’s 14,000-person Software and Services group, workers were concerned that they weren’t getting time to think deeply about problems because they spent much of their time keeping up with day-to-day tasks. So earlier this fall, managers decided to pilot a program allowing employees to block out several hours a week for heads-down work.

During four weekly hours of “think time”—tracked via group calendar and spreadsheet—workers aren’t expected to respond to emails or attend meetings, unless it’s urgent, or if they’re working on collaborative projects.

Already, at least one employee has developed a patent application in those hours, while others have caught up on the work they’re unable to get to during frenetic workdays, says Linda April, a manager in the group.

Dozens of software firms have developed products to tame worker inboxes, ranging from task-management software to programs that screen and sort email, but their effectiveness is limited without organizational change.

Another company is stopping emails entirely. (Run that one by your boss.) There’s a lot more at the link, so check it out.

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