Interruptions Won’t Go Away
How many times have you said or thought, “I can’t get my work done because of all the interruptions!”? They are a curse to your concentration and productivity.
In Last week’s Message, I mentioned some ideas about how to manage those pesky intrusions that distract you from accomplishing your work. I wrote about two myths and two forms of interruptions, along with a couple of thoughts about managing them better.
With that information, what did you do this past week to manage your interruptions better? If you didn’t do anything different, why are you surprised that you are still frustrated? You expected things to be different because…why?
Interruptions Aren’t The Problem
The problem with interruptions is the level of stress and frustration they create that, over time, culminates into feeling overwhelmed, overworked and generally…over it. But if you aren’t going to do anything different, of course they will continue to wear you down. Being short with people, working longer and wishing for a better life are poor work-arounds for not managing your interruptions.
When you feel frustrated by diversions, it’s a message to you that you aren’t managing them well enough. Don’t take it out on others and don’t simply absorb them by working longer. Remember—interruptions aren’t the problem. Your unwillingness to manage them is. So here’s your chance for a re-do. These suggestions are from your colleagues.
Manage Your Interruptions Better
- Schedule and communicate when you are available to answer questions. First thing in the morning, just before lunch and sometime mid-afternoon are opportune times.
- Ask that only emergency or high priority situations be brought to you outside those times.
- Be on the alert for when you interrupt your work (like checking social media, ordering on Amazon or researching vacation options). Instead, schedule when you will attend to those activities. Just knowing they are scheduled will allow you to let go of them for now.
- Remind yourself that sometimes training someone is more valuable than just giving a quick answer and they never learn why.
- It’s ok to give a quick answer and then have the person schedule a 10-minute call later so you can explain the answer. Or better, have them figure it out and explain it to you.
The point is this: only you can manage your distractions. If you don’t, you are left to be frustrated, stressed and overwhelmed. So do something different and manage your interruptions better.
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