Thursday, January 8, 2009

Interruptions during the work day?

Interruptions during the work day

Okay, now I love my coworkers, but I swear I get interrupted about 98% of the day. As soon as I go to type something in the >>>>>>>>> Guess what? I got interrupted writing this message! To the point where I had to come back and write it today! I started on Tuesday and today is Thursday! Now that is crazy.

Like I was saying, interruptions are a great, great distraction to progress. It is important to maintain momentum when completing a task. Kind of like driving. Do know how long it would take to get to work if you had to stop every 5-9 minutes on a 20 mile trip! At least 2 hours. That would be sooooooo annoying. That is like being at work. It's important that you remain focused on your assigned task. You need to keep discussions at a minimal and get your goal accomplished. I have composed some notes below for you to read. Hope you don't get interrupted. lol ..

Did you know that the average American is interrupted 73 times every day? And the average manager is interrupted every 8 minutes. (Margin, Dr.Richard Swenson, 1992). Interruptions include telephone calls, incoming email messages,interruptions by colleagues, and crises. And, once there is an interruption, statistics tell us that it takes 20 minutes to get back to the level of concentration that we were at prior to the disruption.We can easily spend our entire day on interruptions and crises and get nothing done that we planned to accomplish Of course, we cannot — and would not want to — eliminate all interruptions, but we can reduce them and take control of our time more effectively.

It is also been found that people not only switched between small tasks but also between entire projects -- a phone call and e-mail on one project, then jumping to a completely different topic. That is pure insanity when you have a major deadline looming over your head. That's why its critical to work as if something is due at the end of the day EVERYDAY! When you work like that, you are kinda planning for interruptions. Reports say 82 percent of all interrupted work is resumed on the same day. But here's the bad news -- it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task. And that's not good when it happens about 73 times a day.

The only was to combat interruptions and getting off task is to set the standard. You are the one that controls what you do. Now, you cannot eliminate interruptions all together, but you can control how you are effected by them.

  • Come in as early as possible and be the last one to leave. That way you can ensure some "me"time when trying to get some work done.
  • As soon as you walk in the office, get your computer up and running and take a deep breath. You can participate in the morning hellos and catch up, but you need to try to get started.
  • Put your briefcase or bag in the empty chair near your desk. This reinforces the idea that you are unavailable momentarily to talk — and certainly discourages anyone from sitting down and"getting comfortable!"
  • Stand up when someone enters your office and that person will be less inclined to sit down and more inclined to communicate directly
  • Make scheduled appointments for employees who need your guidance. You will be better able to listen and they will have time to organize their thoughts.
  • When interrupted, ask yourself, "Is this interruption a priority?" If it is not, and you would like to encourage the communication, simply say, "I’d love to hear about it, let me finish what I’m doing and then I’ll get right back to you."
  • Alternatively, you can respond to an interruption with the following questions, "Is this a priority for you right now? Could we discuss it later?"
  • If you do find yourself interrupted in the middle of a task, write a quick reminder to yourself about where and on what you were working.
  • If the interruption is significant, insert this note in your(paper or electronic) day planner — or even taped to your desk — so you will not forget to complete the task.

This quote is ideal for dealing with interruptions and getting off task. Goethe once said, "Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least."

Minimize interruptions during the workday, so that you can concentrate your time on the most important projects and action items to be accomplished!

~Fly Worker

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