Learning how to deal with interruptions at work can be quite a challenge. The average person spends over 2 hours of each day just dealing with interruptions. In fact, the statistics showing how frequently interruptions at work occur is staggering. So how can you better keep them under control? Here are some helpful tips to remember:
- First of all, accept that interruptions are a part of life. They are just going to occur. When they do, it is important to not let yourself feel thrown off track.
- Keep a record of your interruptions to identify when they happen most frequently, where and by whom. Look for patterns and then ask yourself how you can best manage and minimize them. Assess the impact of interruptions on your team.
- Allow enough time for interruptions in your daily schedule. Don't schedule yourself so tightly that you can't allow for the unexpected.
- When interruptions do occur, try to keep them short if at all possible. You might ask someone to send you an email, voice mail or fax instead.
- Don't hit "Reply All" in an email unless it's fundamentally necessary and you need a reply back from everyone.
- Actively minimize your own distractions. Turn off your email notifications. Don't feel you have to respond every time the phone rings or answer every email immediately. It's important to actively carve out "Quiet Time" when you will not be interrupted while working on an important task that needs all your concentration.
- Prioritize your daily to-do list and train yourself to go right back to where you left off after the interruption. Don't use it as an excuse to lose track of your focus.
- Finally, think before you interrupt someone else. This way you won't be contributing to the problem. By taking responsibility to minimize other's interruptions, you can greatly improve workplace productivity.
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What other tips have you discovered for managing interruptions at work? Please share your comments below.