Email, blogs, instant messaging... I don't have enough willpower to turn them off, or to ignore them if they're turned on. "I'll only check mail at the top of the hour," I tell myself, but then I hit a bug, or a compile takes more than ten seconds, or I have to check the Python or Java API documentation anyway, and, well, what if something really important arrived and I didn't get to it for a whole hour? A whole hour?
That's why I'm most productive when I am off the net for two or three hours a day. I have most of the documentation I need on my laptop, so I can search it without exposing myself to networked temptation. A desk, a comfortable chair, some natural light, a power point (because the battery in this refurbished Gateway machine only lasts 90 minutes when the screen brightness is cranked up to readable levels), and the soft, steady hum of an air circulation system, and I'm set. Oh, and a kettle and a box of mixed teas, so that when my eight a.m. cuppa runs out, I can make myself another. As others have discovered, that's all it takes to get into the flow. What works for you?