Interruptions Are Everywhere
Interruptions are the curse of anyone trying to get things done. They take you away from what you are doing and prevent you from staying focused. As a professional, you can’t afford to allow interruptions take you away from what is important and necessary. You just have to manage your interruptions better.
There are a couple of myths that you may believe that prevent you from managing your interruptions. First, the idea that, through experience, you will develop the ability to handle them better. Actually, some first year staff are better than seasoned senior partners. Time and experience won’t help much.
Another myth is that task-switching is a demonstration of your multitasking ability. In case you haven’t followed the research for the last 15 years, there is no such thing as multitasking. You can only do one thing at a time. “Multitasking” simply demonstrates your ability to quickly switch from one thing to another. You really aren’t doing two or more things at once. Besides that, the cognitive energy expended is enormous and wears you out mentally and emotionally, creating additional stress.
In addition to removing myths, you have to separate interruptions into two forms. The first is external interruptions and are more annoying because they are imposed on you, like when someone intrudes on you with a question, request or just to chat. If you are in deep concentration, it takes you between 11 and 23 minutes to return to the same level of focus. Rather than responding, sometimes it’s better to reschedule.
Internal interruptions are when you interrupt yourself. While working, do you find yourself shifting to check social media, update the latest political or sports news, or eBay? In other words, are you interrupting yourself? It’s better to catch yourself shifting, then consciously decide if you are at a stop point. If so, take a few-minute break. If not, delay the craving to interrupt yourself.
You will always face interruptions. It’s a reality you can’t ignore. Whether it’s external or internal, you have to manage your interruptions so that you remain focused, accomplish more and reduce your stress. It’s your choice, so choose wisely.
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