43 Folders dug up a gem of an article on the University of Kent's website, which looks at getting into concentrating mode, and how to train yourself to stay there.
Although aimed at students, it seemed equally applicable for anyone who needs to block out distractions and concentrate on their work. I don't know anyone who doesn't start their workday by checking their email, but I can see why they say it's a no-no:
"... You can carry out a small ritual at the start of every study session, such as taking out a figurine, wearing your study cap, or putting up a sign. This helps to tune your body into a study mode when you carry out the ritual. It also serves to tell others that you are studying and that you should not be disturbed. Do not choose an activity, such as reading your email or checking the stock market, that may lead you to procrastinate or distract you."
Along with suggesting some tried and true methods such as breaking up your task list into manageable tasks, the article also suggested a cool notion I haven't come across before - worry time.
"If your mind is side-tracked into worrying or daydreaming during the day, then set aside a specific time each day to think about the things that keep interrupting your concentration."
As someone who battles the procrastination demons all too often, I'm bookmarking that page!
Concentration strategies for students [43 Folders]