If interruptions are a problem for you, consider using the strategies listed below. The way to determine what a problem with interruptions is, ask yourself: “Am I receiving low-priority interruptions during high-priority projects?” If so, consider practicing these steps to curb the time wasting interruptions.
Interruption Avoidance #1: Schedule closed door periods.
Many people think the only time you are really ‘busy’ is when you have a person with you. An administrative assistant looks into an executive’s office, sees no one, and falsely assumes that he is available. There is nothing wrong with scheduling time in your daily plan system that will allow you to avoid the time wasting activity called ‘interruptions’.
Interruption Avoidance #2: Let others know you cannot be interrupted.
If you want to eliminate interruptions, schedule closed door ‘uninterruption’ periods. Let others know you can’t be bothered for any other reason than the building is on fire. And only if the fire is approaching the floor below, at that.
Interruption Avoidance #3: If interrupted, stand up.
Do you want a technique that is guaranteed to cut interruption time in half? Stand up as soon as an interrupter enters the room. Simply stand up while they speak. They will soon get the message, “Be quick, I’m busy.” Want them out faster? Start walking them to the door.
If someone enters a room to interrupt you and you invite them in and sit comfortably, put your feet up on the desk, offer them a coffee, what message do you think you are conveying to them? “Sure, come on in, let’s talk, what I was doing isn’t really important. Use my time in any way you see fit.“
Interruption Avoidance #4: Avoid eye contact.
Ergonomic experts are now realizing the negative effect of eye contact in office design and how it plays a role in reducing employee productivity. They are now designing offices to ensure less eye contact. I have been on the telephone speaking to someone long distance, someone walks by my office, and because we make eye contact they feel free to start speaking to me at the same time. It blows my mind.
So one way to lower interruptions is to make less eye contact with people. This is particularly true with telephones. Be sure to face a wall while on the telephone. Of course, if it is a business critical call, you should stand up for better energy and projection during the call.
Interruption Avoidance #5: Make fewer trips through the office.
Now this may seem a bit trivial, but are you aware how much time is wasted in a day by running for a coffee, water, and the washroom? What I am suggesting is becoming aware that when you leave your work area you are a prime target to get sidetracked or to sidetrack others who may be trying to adopt these techniques better than you
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