When I was in high school I had cable tv, 2 phone lines and my stereo in my bedroom. Not to go without mention, I also had a bench press/place to hang my pants and a chin-up bar/place to hang shirts. When I needed to study, I would first try to do so while on the phone and watching the Knick game but after my first test scores would come back I would need to turn off the tv and avoid the phone in a desperate attempt to retain all such privileges in the wake of intervention level test scores.
The only difference 25 years later is that my computer (and/or smartphone) is always on and information and entertainment I am interested in is constantly being pushed to me while I am trying to be productive. This highly stimulating and at times satisfying habit allows me to satiate my ADD by juggling a weeks worth of meetings and phone calls, maintaining blogs, subscribing to 20+ feeds while sending and receiving 1000+ emails a week. It does not however, lead me to perform my most important tasks with the required diligence or productivity.
One of the blogs I subscribe to recently suggested (sorry, can't recall which) that limiting to 2x per day the sessions during which you reply to email drastically improves productivity. I get it, but don't think that would be beneficial due to the real time nature of transactions related to managing a recruiting company. But, I do think that turning off elements of distraction are working for me. In a recent post titled "Not productive enough? Turn off the Internet" Robert Scoble writes:
Want to get something done? Turn off Twitter. Turn off Facebook. Turn off blog comments. Turn off FriendFeed. Turn off Flickr. Turn off YouTube. Turn off Dave Winer’s blog and Huffington Post. Turn off TechMeme.
and it makes sense to me...