Do one thing at a time. Mult-tasking is a catchy term but sticking to a single task will improve both the output and the quality of your work tremendously. You’ll see the results right away. Learning to (politely) say no to your colleagues and even yourself is the first step to the command of your workload, and cutting out distractions is a boon for both your creativity and critical thinking.
This includes your smartphone and traditional email or inbox. Notifications will absolutely waste your day, not only with direct interruptions but studies have shown even the thought of checking your email can break your concentration for a half hour. Set a designated period to check your phone and email as planned tasks in your daily routine.
Break time is not for checking emails and sending messages. Tests consistently show that work quality declines at about ~60-90 minutes without taking a few minutes to refresh and refocus your concentration. Taking a quick walk or a healthy snack is the best way to maintain the energy needed to complete your work. But breaks aren’t play time, try to keep structured, short rhythmic breaks that raise your energy levels and mood.
Stick To Your Schedule
Whether you’re on Google, iOS, or Outlook, find a good calendar and let it ruin your day. Having control of your time is the most important single component of your production, and most calendar software will allow you to share with your coworkers so they can more readily respect your time as well. A calendar seems like a no-brainer but it requires discipline to stay fixed to a schedule—and the payoffs will be huge.
At the most basic level, you can think of your daily priorities in two sets, Needs and Wants. Separate these two categories into two separate To-Do lists immediately and prioritize accordingly throughout your day, focusing mainly on #1 what you have to get done (the Needs) and #2 cleaning up the Wants when and if you get the chance. The important thing here is to allow you to really focus on your core priorities and visualize the items that can be ignored when necessary.