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Let Me Think About It

Cell phones, 24/7 e-mail-now it takes a special day just to think for a second.

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This story appears in the October 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

How would you like it if your employees started hanging "Do Not Disturb" signs outside their cubes? Many entrepreneurs would be all for it. In fact, some cutting-edge business owners have begun enforcing rules that provide days of peace and quiet for their employees.

Such days come with all kinds of names-alone days, free days, focus days, buffer days, thinking days-but whatever the moniker, they each seem to have the same effect. "The benefits are huge," says Richard Rhodes, 40, CEO of Rhodes, Ragen & Smith, a Seattle-based supplier of building products. "We have specific days when you put the sign up on your door, shut off your phone and really wrap your head around a problem. The goal is to take time to work on the business instead of in it. Some people call it 'taking time to sharpen the ax.'"

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