"Scheduling too many things
in too little time
ensures chaos, inefficiency and ineffectiveness."
- Abstain from being the cause of an interruption. Understand that the main reason people cause an interruption is so they won't forget!
- The average interruption costs anywhere between 10-20 minutes of someone else's precious time by the time a person gets back on track with what they were originally thinking/doing (this isn't even counting the time spent in conversation with the"interrupter").
- Be responsible with your punctuality so as to avoid being the cause of an interruption.
- If you are late to a meeting do not silently chat with the person next to you inquiring on what you missed. Ask a colleague for a re-cap during a break or after the meeting.Never ask the facilitator. It is your responsibility to acquire the missed information from another attendee.
- People who arrive late to meetings gain negative attention whether they realize it or not.
- Take notes at all meetings on a special pad designated for this purpose.
- Use a calendar system to transcribe deadlines for information requested from meetings. This will potentially avoid future interruptions, as well as allow you to be prepared.
- Review the agenda for any meeting you attend in advance and come prepared with any materials, notes and files you may need. You wouldn't want to cause an interruption in the flow of the meeting to go and retrieve the necessary items.
- Schedule a 10 minute meeting with any person with whom you may have questions for. Remember, your colleagues work and performance levels evolve around everyone's schedule. Ask in advance for a time that is convenient for both of you.
- Respect your peers' time and space. Socialize only when and where it is conducive to all involved.
- Invest in your own supplies to avoid interrupting others for this request . You may be the one interrupted at an inopportune time when the item borrowed is needed by the owner.
- At some point in time we all require slots of uninterrupted time. What do you do if you don't have an office door? Create a sign: "Genius At Work - Please Do Not Disturb." Place the sign on your desk denoting your return time too.
- Pay attention to your body language when at your desk. Sometimes our body language may be communicating "we are available" when we really have important business to attend to. Situate your desk in a position that won't tempt you to "look-up"at everyone that passes by. This invites an interruption.
- If you see someone is busily working, always ask: "is this a good time for you?" Never assume they are available just because you are.
- If you are interrupted, feel free to let someone know that you need time to finish what you are working on. Let them know when it is a good time to get together and no one will be offended.
- Honor and respect each others need for quiet time, especially if there is no door/officeto keep visitors out.
- An interruption is just the development of a bad habit . Communication in this area is vital. The situation can be adjusted to create a positive affect for all involved.
- Continuing to tolerate interruptions in your work environment is a one of the main causes for people working longer hours, taking unnecessary work home, coming in weekends to complete assignments and losing time to spend with their own immediate families.
- 80% of our interruptions will be generated repetitively from only 20% of the people we work with. Become consciously aware of not being part of the 20%!
- Avoid enabling people to continue operating out of an "urgent" mode with their constant interruptions. It is unhealthy for them and all those they absorb with this disruptive habit.
- Understand that we cannot change the way people operate by always lecturing them.We can be a positive force in this change by modeling the way we respond.
- Use a "People Page" to contain your thoughts, ideas, conversations and questions.Create a list of items you need to discuss with people rather than calling them or going into their office with every single item.
- Learn to intervene for a fellow worker who may need some "quiet time". Take their calls and messages for 1 hour to avoid interruptions for them. Reciprocate for each other on an "as needed basis".
"Reducing interruptions is a very productive means
of creating a team environment
that is efficient, effective and productive for all!"
- Help reduce interruptions for those in management.
- An "open door policy" is taken literally by many employees. The original intent of an open door policy meant those in management were "open to hearing" what employee shave to say, contribute or discuss with those in decision making positions. It was never meant to mean people had carte blanche to interrupt you at any and all times of the day.
- Designate particular times of the day that your people have access to you to discuss pertinent business or personal dilemmas. Maintain a schedule of availability on your office door. Incorporate the times that you are totally off limits except in the case of an emergency.
- As a reminder that you service many people in a department, let your people know:"Gee, Julie I really do want to meet with you, however I must do such and such right now. I do have a 10-15 minute slot opening at 11:45. At that time I will be able to give you 100% of my focus in dealing with your dilemma."
- It's ok to mention the fact that you may not be "fully present" if you were to spend time with someone immediately due to other pressing issues. Communicate to them that they are important and you want to spend quality time in resolving their dilemma. Hence, scheduling time would be more appropriate.
- State a specific amount of time that you can spend with people. It will keep all involved more focused and to the point in resolving the issue at hand.
- Remind your staff that your position services many people and things too. In order to do this proficiently and fairly for all those in your responsibility, you need to schedule time with people as much as possible. Let them know you are always available in cases of an emergency.
- Stipulate a time for questions and answers in your staff meetings. This will avoid interruptions by those who may not be taking notes and assist them in focusing on the business at hand.
- Encourage employees to come prepared with their questions written down so they don't "forget" and cause a needless interruption as they "remember".
- Carry a cassette recorder for those big "Ahaas." By keeping this easily accessible you will avoid interrupting your own train of thought to locate the appropriate paper to write on.
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