One day a week I have a GSD Day. What's GSD? Get Shit Done. It's a day where I don't have a networking event, off-site meeting or client calls. It doesn't always work out for the entire day and I sometimes have to move the day around, but I find it very important. At a minimum a GSD morning or afternoon.
Shoeboxed has this poster hanging in their building. There are coffee mugs and t-shirts with this saying too. I WANT ONE!
When I worked in the corporate world I was in meetings up to 6-7 hours a day. How it is expected to get any real work done is beyond me. I managed to do it, but at the expense of paying attention to calls. How many times have you been on a conference call for an hour when only 5-10 minutes was relevant to you? How many times have you scheduled a meeting and automatically chosen the one hour default instead of just choosing how much time you actually need?
People need chunks of time to work. Even though I use the Pomodoro Technique and take regular breaks, I'm still focusing on one project at a time. If I'm constantly going between project and phone call or project and meeting, not only do I not feel productive, I'm not productive. Every interruption takes approximately 15-25 minutes to refocus. If you are constantly switchtasking then you are basically never focused.
Assignment: Pick a large chunk of time, whether it is an entire day, entire morning or an entire afternoon and completely block it out to GSD.