Do not disturb.Recognize that essentially everyone’s job involves interruptions of one type or another. We can acknowledge that and still figure out ways to keep the interruptions from wreaking havoc on the rest of our work.

  1. Define your job and if it is dealing with interruptions, then read no further. The reason I had to put this first is because I have had people in my workshops who are receptionists or work at the front desk of an office - and they wonder what to do about interruptions. Frankly, if there were no interruptions and you were the receptionist, then you would not have a job. So, I will assume that if you are reading on to the next 4 tips, it is because you know that your whole job is not defined as dealing with interruptions.
  2. Chart where your interruptions are coming from. Either create your own chart for this purpose or if you would like a chart I created that is set up for this, just contact me and I will be happy to send it to you.
  3. If your interruptions come from your telephone, turn it off for a portion of everyday. Turning off your phone (in this day and age) includes turning off your cell phone, your office phone, &/or your home phone - wherever the telephone interruptions come from. Although it’s hard for some people to imagine, you can actually be unreachable (uninterruptible) for an hour. Hold on to your hat…you could even be unreachable for longer and your company, family, and country would still exist.
  4. If your interruptions come from your email, turn it off for a portion of everyday. Hello?! Email has become the defacto interrupter. And we really cannot blame email interruption on anyone else. It’s our email and we either leave it on or turn it off. This is completely within your control. How about exerting some?
  5. Provide others with the information they need - before they interrupt you. If your interruptions come from people who come to you because they don’t have the information that they have to have (or think that they have to have) and you can determine a pattern, figure out a way to proactively get them information so that they do not have to interrupt you to get it.

Dealing with and deflecting interruptions is more within your control than you may have thought. I hope you attend to each of these 5 tips and watch your interruptions begin to decline. Then, watch your productivity increase.

And for scores of sets of Top Ten Productivity Tips that deal with interruptions and many other such topics, you’re invited to join others around the globe who subscribe (free) to one of the Top Ten Productivity Tips series.

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