Basically, I save all of this communication for one big batch once I’ve completed some of the genuinely important things. I usually go through email twice a day at most – once a day on many days. If I let it constantly interrupt and distract me, I end up bleeding a ton of time throughout the day. The same is true for phone calls and texts to my phone – they just serve to interrupt.
Second, I keep an “errand list” for when I go into the nearest large town. Once a week, I’ll go on an “errand run” and take care of all of those errands at once. Otherwise, I simply avoid doing any errands. If I have to go out for a specific purpose and I don’t have time for a full errand run, I don’t do any of them and make the specific task go as fast as I can.
I usually keep this list of errands on my phone in a note. When I do decide to go out for errands, it turns into a long period that usually involves a library stop, a grocery stop, and usually a few other stops, and it gobbles a lot of hours, but it keeps those errands from interrupting me at other times.
Third, I don’t go into the family room if I need to get things done. I just simply don’t go in there because there are too many distractions between the electronic devices and the television. In fact, I basically only go in there about once or twice a week, and then it’s specifically so that Sarah and I can watch a program we’ve been planning on watching or it’s for a family movie night.
If you have a location that just distracts you, only go in there when you’re completely fine with being distracted from things.
Fourth, if I’m tired, I focus solely on resting. If I do important things when I’m tired or heavily distracted (which is usually a subtle symptom of being tired), I know that I don’t do them very well. I might do low-focus tasks when I’m tired (like loading the dishwasher or something), but if I’m tired and I’m just facing genuinely important things, I will go meditate or get some exercise or take a nap.
If I force myself to work when I’m tired, my work output is terrible. I make very slow progress and often that progress is of low quality. Simply put, I’m wasting my time when I make myself do it. I’m much better off simply using my time of sharpest focus for the important things and offloading less important and less focus-oriented things to times when I’m tired.