Work fewer projects and limited hours. Read email four times a day.  Go to fewer meetings.

A Creative Writing professor of mine used to say that the mind works better when constrained. He cited examples of American poets who would only write in French because their limited vocabulary would force them to come up with more powerful words and concise sentences. He once gave us an assignment to write a play using only five characters. My plot needed six, so I had one of them have split personality. (Other options would have been a play within a play, a dream, or a wig and glasses for the actor.)

At work, it should be the same thing.

Limit your working hours.

Go to fewer meetings or limit the number of people you invite to them.

Restrict the scope of your projects. Or drop some.

Unsubscribe from mailing lists that do not matter.

Close some tabs on your browser.

If you have more than 7 tabs open on your browser, consider shedding some. I once caught myself with three half-answered emails while I was searching for the tab that had the answer to one of them, among probably 15 or 20 tabs. Not even superman can handle that.

If you are chatting with more than one person online, it's one too many. Change your IM status or logoff altogether. If you answer the phone while you're chatting, you're not only fooling two people, you're fooling yourself. By the way, do you always answer your phone, regardless of who it is and what else you're doing at the time? Consider enforcing some rules around when and for whom you answer the phone.

Scarcity does indeed breed creativity. Use it in your favor.

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