Goals must be clearly visible so that when people come by to distract you, you can look at your list and see if it has anything to do with what you have planned for the day. If you honestly evaluate how your day is used, you’ll find that 80% of it has nothing to do with where you want to go in life.
Your activities must be linked to your goals, but results are what is important. Try to set one major objective a day and reach it. Remember, you are the one who puts the importance on the objective, no one else. Negative thinking will produce negative results. Think how you can improve five minutes a day, then ten, then fifteen.
You can reply to a letter with a handwritten note on the bottom, or even send an email if necessary. You can print your answer on the back of the letter to file if necessary so you don’t have two pieces of paper. Color code files by subjects, divisions and so forth. None of these things are major, but it all saves time.
If you’re supervising people, start each day with a 15 minute meeting so you keep everything on track and they can give you feedback on their personal dilemmas, and everyone will be operating on the same wave-length. Unfortunately priorities change from day to day.
Interestingly, most interruptions are within the company, so they are controllable. If I know I can call you at any time and get an answer, I will continue to do it. Keep an interruption log, so you’ll know the time of day they’re the heaviest and who the most bothersome culprit is.
Knowing how insidious interruptions are may make you more courteous. For sure, it will give you a way to document the people and the problems that are breaking up your day.