Tick Talk Issue 26

“Magnetic customer service is not just going through the motions.. It is also going through the emotions.” — Trapper Woods

Thank Goodness For Interruptions! Don't You Agree?

If you have interruptions you probably have a job and that’s good. The last thing you would ever want to do is get rid of interruptions coming to you as part of your job. These are necessary interruptions.

The real problem with interruptions is when they are unnecessary. These are the true time robbers and they can and should be controlled. Separate necessary and unnecessary interruptions by asking yourself the filter question: “Is what’s happening right now necessary for the existence, continuation, and well being of the organization?” If the answer is no, then say, “No” to the interruption and refocus on the task at hand. The ability to say no, in a non-threatening way in appropriate situations, is an instant time saver. It gets easier and easier with practice.

The Truth About Interruptions

The impact of unnecessary interruptions is subtle but costly. Fifteen minutes a day is ninety-one hours per year. That is $2,270.00 for a person who has a wage/benefits package of $25.00 per hour. If one hundred employees lost fifteen minutes a day at that rate, it would mean $228,125.00 down the drain on an annual basis. It happens!

But the cost is not purely financial. Interruptions splinter our time into smaller, more restricting pieces. They destroy concentration. They are frustrating and raise our stress level. Worst of all, they lower productivity. Despite these negatives, many people tolerate rather than eliminate unnecessary interruptions.

Why? Here are two reasons. Some people welcome interruptions as a procrastinating tool to avoid the task at hand. Others have no interruption control strategy. It’s easy to plan a strategy for interruption control. It involves four techniques before interruptions occur and four techniques after they occur.

BEFORE

  • Pre-empt by approaching to likely interrupters first before they come to you.
  • Screen by setting up physical screens as well as using call forwarding.
  • Schedule interruptions by communicating your availability.
  • Relocate, plan your crucial focus time away from interruptions.


AFTER

  • Refuse to engage in unnecessary interruptions period. Say NO!
  • Reschedule rather than deal with them when they pop up.
  • Refer the intruder to someone else. Don’t become the sole “go to” person for everything.
  • Respondimmediately only to the ones that are truly in a crisis mode.


Once you set a strategy and stick with it, people will get the idea and begin to honor your style. No strategy, no relief.

*note: these four options have been written about for many years and are not original with the author.

Simplify With Fingertip Management

Fingertip management at home and in the office is having what you need, when you need it at your fingertips. To do this effectively, you must first eliminate the things you don’t need. Declare war on clutter. Remember, next to the dog, the wastebasket is your best friend. Unless an item is still useful give it to the Salvation Army. Another fingertip idea, literally, is to do much of your banking, bill paying, and shopping online. And there is always “delivery”. Investigate services that will come to you.

How To Be Underwhelmed

People who find themselves constantly buried under a mountain of work are the same ones who experience a tremendous amount of daily stress. See if you or someone you know agrees with one or more of the following statements:
  • • I try to accomplish too much.
  • • I do not delegate.
  • • I procrastinate.
  • • I allow too many interruptions.


Here's A Tip With A Big Payoff

Invest fifteen minutes a day preparing a daily action list. Commit to doing it. Why? The benefits are huge! First, the list can be used as a tool of negotiation in the midst of chaos. It also provides a roadmap for your day. Use it to re-anchor after interruptions. It’s also a way to measure what you accomplish. Finally, it will help you focus. Fifteen minutes is only one percent of your twenty-four hour day. It could just be your most productive fifteen minutes.

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