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111 Key Principles for Success

Principle 36 - Interruptions

Interruptions are a productivity drain.

Try not to interrupt people especially your boss. Your boss should be a last resource after you try other sources. Value his or her time.

How to deal with people who interrupt you?
  • Tell them your busy
  • Tell them to add an appointment to your calendar
  • Give them 5 minutes and set a timer
  • Tell them to batch their information requests
  • Get a middleman or secretary to screen all time requests
  • Always be working on your Most Important Task (MIT)

Tracking interruptions is a start.
  • Number
  • Who
  • Why
  • Time
  • Prevention

On the other hand, track who and how often you interrupt people. Make sure to put a value on people's time. Instead of texting can you send someone an email?

What are some common interruptions:
  • Email
  • Texts
  • Phone calls
  • Emergency requests
  • Slow task
  • People (friends or co-workers)
  • Boss
  • Your pet

What interrupts you? Be aware of this as you might have some bad habits that are preventing your success.

Strategies to avoid interruptions
  • Looking at your emails 3 times per day max
  • Wear headphones at work and people will be less likely to interrupt you
  • If your company uses Skype, set your status to "Busy", "Do not disturb" or prevent specific people from interrupting you
  • Use a method so that if you do get interrupted you can get back to what you were working on
  • Don't get into bad habits like reading the news, going to Twitter or Facebook for a break
  • Close your door if you have an office
  • Tell people to schedule meeting for your time
  • Work from a place where people can't find you
  • Tell people to see if they can figure it out
  • Tell customers via auto-responder that you're checking emails 3x a day and if an emergency to call you.
  • Block out time in your schedule when you are busy or that you're Out Of Office (OOO)
  • Mark your time as busy on your calendar
  • Turn off your cell phone
  • Create habits that prevent interruption

Go to this list for a random method to try for the day.

Being interrupted is a productivity drain. Find ways to better manage it and your happiness will increase.

Limiting interruption is a key principle for success.
If you're being interrupted too often, you can't get your job done.

Limiting interruption is a key principle for success.

What interrupts you from reaching your goals?

This may be the most important thing to identify. You first need to have clear goals. Then identify if there is something that's interrupting or preventing you from reaching your goals?

Getting back on track after interruptions

This habit is key to being productive. How fast can you get back to what you were working on?

One technique is to write your current task on an index card or stick note. If you get interrupted then just look at the note and you're back on track with what you were doing. You can also use this to figure out what you did for the day or keep your to-do list

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