The Web Worker Daily weblog rounds up a handful of useful tweaks for using an instant messaging application at work without letting it ruin your productivity. For example:
Many IM programs allow you to be "invisible" to different contacts or contact groups when you come online. You can also be invisible to clients who rarely IM you anyway, and leave yourself visible for a few clients whose projects are more urgent. Taking advantage of your visibility settings can also come in handy if you use the same IM accounts for both personal and business contacts.
Instant messaging gets a bad rap in the workplace, but studies have suggested that instant messaging increases workplace productivity when compared to email, and IM can even reduce workplace interruptions. The catch: You need to know how to use IM effectively or the constant ding can ruin your productivity, and Web Worker Daily's list offers a nice take.
If you're on the hunt for a strong IM app, check out the five best instant messengers.