Managing interruptions is critical to managing your time in the busy environment we work in. Do you ever feel like you run from one thing to another and never get the chance to focus 100% on any one thing? I can tell you, you are not alone.
When the term multi-tasking was coined, it came from the computer industry and it meant a computer shifting its processing back and forth among various tasks so quickly that the shifting was invisible to the user. It did not refer to doing things simultaneously. Effective multitasking on-the-job requires efficient and reliable switching between projects often enough that all of them are addressed effectively and kept moving along. It is impossible to give each task 100% of our focus, (and we need to,) if we stop what we are doing every time there is an interruption.
Manage your time better by understanding the 3 different types of interruptions or time-robbers, as I call them.
Unnecessary – Defend against these
Necessary but untimely – Delay to a more appropriate time
Necessary / emergencies – Handle immediately, but take proactive steps to minimize the chance for future emergencies.
Recovering from an interruption may take longer than the interruption itself, so here are some great phrases you can use to help you communicate professionally that you are busy, without looking uncooperative.
“Let me just jot down a note on where I’m leaving off on this project.”
Allows you to get right back to where you were when you are finished taking care of the issue.
“I’m in the middle of something pressing. Could I get back to you (in one hour, tomorrow, Thursday, etc)?”
”Give me 20 minutes to wrap up this part of what I’m working on. Then I’ll give you 100% of my attention.”
But don’t forget to get back to them!
“How long do you think we’ll need to spend discussing this?”
“Can we agree that we’ll get to point X by 3pm and we’ll finish up tomorrow, so I can complete some other pressing tasks by day’s end?”
Helps partialize the conversation so that you can move forward helping them, and get back to your priorities.
Be vigilant in defending yourself from unnecessary interruptions and stop the chicken without a head syndrome!
Thoughts??? Email me at abbe@TECResourceCenter.com.
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