Again, you spent your day at work being crazy busy and by the end of the day, your todo list is not empty although there was nothing long to do… So what the heck happened?
Research showed that the worst time draining is interruptions. Here is your answer. You’ve been interrupted over and over again.
Here are a few tips for handling interruptions
- Learn to say “no”
- Let your colleagues know your availability schedule
- Close your door
- Turn your phone and email software off when you are in “do not disturb” mode.
- Set up automatic email and phone answers
Learn to say “NO”
That’s the hardest. Especially if you are working under a demanding boss 😉
You don’t have to clearly say out loud “no”. You can state that you will take care of whatever is requested “this afternoon”, “in two hours”, “tomorrow”, or any other acceptable timeframe. Also, when you already have a tons of files to deal with on your desk, you can probably suggest to hire an assistant or any kind of support that would be an implicit no!
Let your colleagues know your availability schedule
After you said “no”, whether it is implicit or clearly stated, you have to let your colleagues know that you will be available soon to answer questions. They will soon appreciate that when you are answering their questions or giving input, you are really doing one thing at a time. This is valuable for both parties. For your colleague who comes with a problem, a question, or a suggestion, it is highly appreciated to have you focused on this question. For you, you can listen and come with a solution or an answer easily since you are focusing on what you are asked.
Do not hesitate to explain that you will be more productive and efficient if you can work away from interruptions on specific length of time. Depending on the project you are working on, it could be as little as 30 minutes. So, everybody could possibly leave you alone for half an hour, that’s not a big deal, right?
This should even be a way to improve efficiency in the company.
Close you door
After you explained your boss, colleagues, or employees that you need to be focusing on one thing at the time to maximise your efficiency, the mandatory step is to close your door. If you don’t close it, then people will think that they can walk in your office space and start talking to you. A closed door is the path to increase your productivity.
Turn off your phone and email software
We are all the same! A “ding” means “you’ve got mail” and we usually can’t resist the email opening envy… We just think that we will read it and answer later but as soon as you read it, you disconnect from your ongoing task. This is again an interruption that can lead you to precious minutes wasted… Same thing with the phone. As soon as you look at your caller ID, you disconnect from what you were doing. So, please, please, please, turn your interruption machines off!
Set automatic answers to emails and phone calls
That is easy to let people know that you received their messages and that you will handle them as soon as you can. There is nothing more frustrating than a phone call unanswered with no information on when you can call back or expect a returned call. That can be as short as “I am unavailable until 10am and will return your call as soon as I am back to my office”. Same thing with your emails. Doing so is a very professional way to handle your customers. They know they are important and that you will take care of them as soon as possible.
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