Work Gets Interrupted
Work gets interrupted.
Just the other day, we had a client group in our offices. Laughing. Working. Creating. It was fantastic. The energy, the creativity, the absolute focus on achieving that one thing in front of us….then it all changed.
The conference room door opened. “Can you all keep it down in here?”
It was a simple enough request, but it sucked every ounce of energy from the room. The interruption was devastating to our productivity. I would say “Catastrophic.” Instantly the focus and energy were gone. And the clients, who once were laughing and overflowing with creative juices, were now whispering and apologizing.
Interruption is a productivity serial killer. Its M.O. is always the same; lurking in the places you never expect it to be. It disguises itself in the tools we use to work. It sneaks in, masked as someone or something you think will help you and distracts you from your most valuable moments.
I wondered how many times I had made this mistake. How many times I had let interruption take what I had worked so hard for. Not just someone else’s interruption, but my own. Like those times when I try to do email and keynote, but end up doing neither one effectively. Or when I stop to view that latest text message as I write a blog post, and can’t get started again.
Truth is, I am my own worst interruption.
Where are we to turn in order to regain and retake our best work, with less interruption? Just a few thoughts that I think could help:
Put your phone in airplane mode to stay grounded.
- When you need to get work done, this one is tough but worth it. Use it to really focus your work time.
Timeboxing is not an Olympic sport.
- Schedule your day, even your down time and your desk time. 8- 9AM email. Then hide it when it’s not time for email. 9-9:30 read your most influential blogs. 9:30-10 return voicemail. 10-12 grind out your accounting. 12-1 lunch at your desk and think about strategy. 1pm–2 commit to a task you have been really dreading. I even timebox my days. On Monday’s I refrain from in-person meetings. It’s my time to focus and prep for the week ahead.
Lists aren’t just for the grocery store.
- I like 3×5 cards. I start a new one each day even if I have to re- write most of it from the previous day. Create a list to prioritize and produce results.