I myself maintain my calendar in a way that allows me to schedule calls and meetings on selected days only (usually Thursdays and Fridays, when things are less crazy, people are more laid back before the weekend).
I recently read this post https://localizejs.com/blog/startup/developer-productivity-saying-no from a startup called localizejs, which explains just this idea. It is a good read and it will give you some suggestions worth trying: such as scheduling meetings and calls only in selected days of the week (author of the post goes a bit extreme and wants to limit meetings and calls just to one day). That way, you have all other days free from major destructions.
Thank you, sounds like an idea worth trying. thank you for the link. As much as the idea of one task per day sounds interesting, it is simply not doable for me, I like “Email: Only after 5:20pm.” It is also sounds crazy, but I will probably try a version “Only after 1PM.”
Also, I myself wake up early morning around 530-6AM and till about 11AM I am usually done with majority of work which requires from me concentration and no distractions. If you are not an early morning person this requires some changes in a habit, but maybe evening sessions work for you?
Set your ground rules with your clients in the beginning so they know what to expect from you in regards to communication. If you let them know you will answer emails within 4 hours, return calls within 24 hours, etc – then you should be able to carve out the work time you need. I have found when I establish the rules up front, clients are usually very accommodating, as long as they know what to expect.
You need to block out a set time that is uninterrupted. At least two or three times a week, I turn off all communication access to me. I close my email app, shut off my tablet and iPhone, and work uninterrupted for a few hours – usually 10am – 1pm. I choose this time so I can handle anything that comes up first thing in the morning, return calls to clients in a later time zone, and then start my development work knowing everything that needed to be handled has been. I have not had any problems with clients and found my productivity has increased since starting this “communication time out”.
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