I cannot stand distractions when I’m trying to get things done. It is always good when I learn that I’m not alone on this topic. For example, I’ve read this same story but for people in other fields that also require high-concentration.
In a video on Richard Feynman, he jokingly told the same story. His technique was to just not do his job and work on the things he wanted to. Eventually the other people would stop assigning him tasks and left him alone. (Note: it helps if you have already accomplished great things in order to pull this off).
Also, in a biography on Arthur C. Clarke, his relatives explained how he couldn’t be interrupted for “tea or anything” when writing. If you did interrupt him, this mild mannered fellow would blow up in anger. This led his first and only marriage to a divorce within one year.
Now, I’m not comparing myself to them, I’m just recognizing that knowledge work that requires memory doesn’t work at all with distraction. When great people who have accomplished great things say the same thing… then maybe there is something to what Paul is saying. You don’t have to dig to deep in the software industry to see that people are understanding this and starting to change things… which is good.