How To Manage Interruptions
There cannot be another issue that steals our time more than being interrupted at work. From colleagues asking for favours, to staff requesting an urgently required item of information, interruptions are a major part of our working life.What can we do to help reduce the impact of these interruptions on our day? Here’s my advice:
Stop Interrupting Everyone Else
If you value everyone else’s time, then others will value your time more. Take time to think about what you need before picking up the phone to a colleague. Would this request be just as good by email?
Use The 80/20 Rule
Close your door and make sure people know when you don’t want to be disturbed. Know when you are at your best and use this time for your most important work.
The 80/20 rule also applies to those people who are most likely to interrupt you. Think about who they are, the 20% who cause 80% of your interruptions.
Use Boss-Prevention Techniques
I often discover that it is bosses who are the main suspect when it comes to interrupting people. They are usually the worst at managing other people’s time and will destroy any planning you do to make your day or week as un-productive as possible. It’s almost like they do it on purpose!
Make a regular date with them to discuss department/ team issues. In this way, they can save interrupting you by waiting for your scheduled meeting. Get them onto your side by asking them for more work at regular intervals. This may sound bonkers, however by asking for more work, you are effectively reducing the interruption factor and increasing your pro-activity!
Just a quick note here: Be gentle with people when they interrupt you, however be assertive with the issue by empowering your team to make decisions or bring recommendations to you, rather than just wanting your opinion.
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