I’m most productive when everything is silent. When there’s no one ringing my metaphorical doorbell. No one blowing up my inbox, or calling me, or texting me.
But most of the time, it’s as loud as an Irish pub on St. Paddy’s Day.
You can manufacture silence. If you stop listening, the noise goes away.
One way to manufacture silence is to separate capturing from doing.
For example: In a perfect world you’d check email once per day. Process it. Knock quick tasks out immediately. Add the bigger items to your to-do list. Then spend the rest of your day being productive… uninterrupted.
On a bad day, it’s the opposite. I keep email visible and am constantly inundated with urgent requests, often letting them take me down the rabbit hole, and always letting them distract my focus.
You might not be able to keep the inbox closed all day. So instead, try scheduling periods of uninterrupted work. For an hour, close your inbox, silence your phone, turn off any other means of interruption, and just work.
When your time is up, open the floodgates back up, process quickly, and then get back to work.