Reading Jeremy Zawodny's post tonight about reducing distractions at work reminded me of a few things. Jeremy mentions that after having given up watching television the next most intrusive thing was Instant Messenger(IM). I'd probably agree if I could manage to get people to use IM. At about the same time I stopped watching television I stopped using IM, not intentionally but because I am rarely on and at least at home the price of keeping one additional TCP/IP connection open isn't worth it.
It occurs to me, however, that I might actually benefit from getting more traffic moved to Instant Messenger... If it makes the phone stop ringing with calls that are not related to work and most importantly not related to what I'm working on at the moment it could be a good thing. The important part would be to make it more of a messenger and not focus on the instant portion of the title. In this way it could be a "more urgent than email" but something I can respond to as time permits.
I do, about four times a year, watch TV. The occasions are usually special events like the Tour De France and National Finals Rodeo or every couple of years the Olympics. What is notable, however, is how differently I view TV now. In the days when I was watching too much TV I thought I got a great deal of work done while watching. It is the multi-tasking myth. The idea that like a computer the human brain can successfully switch back and forth, moment to moment, from one task to another. As I said, it's a myth.