Doing our best work takes focused effort. And focused effort requires space and time to think clearly.

Shutting the office door for the morning, ignoring texts and emails for a couple hours, or even hanging a “Do Not Disturb” sign on our doorknob—such measures are necessary in order to produce the best quality work we’re capable of. We don’t like to take them, though—at least, I don’t—because we’re afraid of alienating others or seeming standoffish.

But that’s not the real issue.

The fact is, creating space in your life to do your best work takes discipline. It’s hard to retreat to an empty conference room and spend the afternoon doing focused work on a big project. Much easier to simply answer emails all day.

Creating solitude at work is crucial, but it’s also hard. Let’s expect it to be hard and prepare ourselves to do it anyway.