Being attached at the hip to your smartphone doesn't mean you're productive, just attached. The I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog showcases how three workers put a real fence around their work time and ended up more free.
Writer Ramit Sethi's first example, Jim Collins, might be familiar to those read up on productivity techniques as the author of Good to Great, and enthusiast of dividing up your time into percentages. His second case, Elizabeth Grace Saunders, seems a more familiar case: a copywriter who couldn't stop answering emails and working late hours. Her solution?
Saunders adopted a 40-hour a week schedule. This new structure had two immediate impacts. First, she found herself focusing only on the most important tasks. With only a few hours to spare on business development, for example, she couldn't justify wasting time with the small, ineffectual website tweaks and exploratory e-mails that used to keep her up late into the night. Instead she focused on the core activities that produced results, such as sales calls or the development of new products. The focus generated by this constraint ended up generating more results than her previous schedule, which was more expansive, but also more scattered.
The second impact was her discovery that she could teach her clients how to treat her.
The full post offers a lot of good links to explore, as well as more (hopefully) inspirational takes on firewalling your work time. Have you implemented your own actual, realistic deadlines and prospered from it? Tell us about it in the comments.
Time management: How an MIT postdoc writes 3 books, a PhD defence, and 6+ peer-reviewed papers - and finishes by 5:30pm [I Will Teach You To Be Rich]