It seems so simple, so innocuous, but really instant messaging is the evil sinkhole of productivity. I have a few different programs, to manage the different lists of people I talk to, as everyone seems to have a different preference. Even my work has its own Jabber server and network, adding one more to the pile.
The corporate instant messaging platform was so we could turn off the rest, and be able to focus on work, but the reality is that all instant messaging needs to be turned off to really get a good amount of work done. Any interruption to your focus, or what I call my “groove”, will distract you from your goals, stop you from getting things done, and cost you time and energy that could have been put into work tasks.
Writing conversations, even just in short form instant messaging takes much more concentration than talking on the phone to someone, as it uses both your sense of sight and touch, where talking via an audio medium, through Skype or the phone, only uses your hearing.
The biggest productivity tip I can give you is to turn off your instant messaging programs during your blogging time. Schedule when you will be available to be accessed through such means, and let people know they can e-mail you, or if it is an emergency or very high priority, they can take the time to call you. I know calling can be a distraction as well, so make sure they realize that it is only in extreme situations that calling would be acceptable.
Instant messaging tools are productivity killers, and in this highly competitive world, the last thing you want is to be unproductive.