The Economist provides tips on improving personal productivity:
Slow down your e-mail: Set your e-mail program to fetch new messages every 15 minutes or every hour, rather than every minute, so you are interrupted less often. Create form responses: Any time you find yourself typing substantially similar e-mails, create a form version and save it for future use. Go full-screen: Switch your computer to full-screen mode, filling the whole screen with your current application, minimising the visual distraction of other programs. Park on a downhill slope: When wrapping up work on a task, make a note of what needs to be done next. This makes it easier to get started when you resume work on the task.