Interruptions are unavoidable at work. Especially if you have an open desk, then you are well aware of how annoying interruptions can get despite your best efforts. But did you know that you can manage interruptions at work easily? There are a number of ways to do so!
Make up your mind
You need to be mentally prepared first to accept that you have interruptions at work. Sometimes, the fear of starting to manage can bog you down but don’t be fearful of interruptions. Interruptions are not always in your control, but you can definitely manage them to ensure that you are not always interrupted. That being said, it is important that you acknowledge that interruptions are a part of your work life and you don’t need to feel scared if they occur from time to time. Always remember that you can manage them so that you are able to tackle them as they come.
Set priorities to manage interruptions at work
Priorities are important for having an organized life. Whether you want an organized home, career, or mind, you need to set your priorities. Similarly, you need to set your priorities when it comes to doing your work at your workplace. If you do not have priorities, then you will probably be confused where to start which will only delay you getting your work done. When you have your priorities, you will be able to manage interruptions at work more easily as you will know what you need to do. Even if a coworker comes in to ask you about something, you will know where you left off and be able to get back to work quickly.
There are many distractions which can interrupt your routine at your workplace. While you cannot control all of the interruptions at work, you can control some such distractions. Is your cellphone placed close to you so every time your phone lights up you pick it up and see what it is for? You can do something about such distractions, and you should consciously do this. For example, you can turn off your phone, or you can ensure that you are not always checking your email every 5 minutes. You can examine how you spend your time and which notifications distract you the most before controlling them.
Plan to manage interruptions
When you plan, you will notice that you can effortlessly manage interruptions at work. You can get into the habit of planning your day if that is possible. The key is to plan such that you have room for some interruptions. For example, don’t plan on a minute to minute basis because you will get more frustrated. Just plan about what you intend to get done on that day and then get to it. You will be surprised how much you are able to accomplish when you plan. Don’t forget to leave some free time so that even if interruptions occur they don’t throw you off instantly. Instead, you will be able to manage them easily.
Let others know clearly.
You probably don’t want to come off as rude which is why you cannot say no to your coworkers when they ask for your help or opinion. While this is great, it is taking up your time, and you need to tell your coworkers that you cannot entertain them whenever they wish to. You need to learn to say no when you are busy. This is the best way to ensure that you are not wasting your time and are actually getting work done. They will appreciate your honesty, and you don’t have to feel guilty either. When you let others know, they will understand clearly that you are busy.
Analyze yourself to manage interruptions
Sometimes you might unexpectedly be allowing yourself to get distracted. When you go home after work, you can try to recall how your day went and how much of what you had planned you actually got done. Then think about the distractions that were present and think about whether you have interrupted someone else too. You need to respect other people’s time before we expect others to do the same. You can manage interruptions at work by ensuring that you don’t become the interrupter yourself either so that your coworkers respect your wishes too.
This can sound a little rude, but at times you can make the interruption worse by participating in it. For example, let us say that a coworker wants your opinion about something but you are in the midst of something quite crucial. Instead of participating in giving them your opinion, you can continue to do your work and ask them if you can speak to them later. Try not to participate even a little bit, and they will get the hint that you are busy. When you choose not to participate in chatter from the coworkers who are regular interrupters, you will be doing yourself a favor by ensuring that the interruptions occur less frequently from then on.
Make a list of interruptions.
This is one of the best ways to manage interruptions at work. When you are doing something that requires a lot of time, and an interruption takes place, write it down. Write what the interruption is about and then get back to it after you are done with the important task you were doing. This will ensure that you remember what you had to get back to and you are not distracted either. As long as the interruption is not crisis-related, you can do this to manage all of the interruptions easily. You will then be able to quickly get back to whatever it is you were doing without wasting time in the process.
Relocate to manage interruptions
This may not actually be possible, but you can manage interruptions at work by relocating to another location. For example, if you find that the work environment is very distracting, then you can find another area where you can work if this is possible. You can go to the conference room if that is free and you are allowed to work there. This will ensure that you are able to work without interruptions for a while and you can actually become more efficient in this manner. You can do this every now and then depending on the type of work that you do as it can help to manage interruptions a lot easier.
When you have two completely different tasks, try not to mix them up. That is, if you are doing one task then do it until you finish it and then go on to the next one. When you are simultaneously doing two completely different things together, your brain is not very good at switching back and forth quickly. It takes some time to do that. Therefore, when you are continuously doing the one task that you are supposed to do, you will be able to get back on track faster even if you continue doing it after an interruption. This is why you can do the tasks that are similar together.
Which methods to manage interruptions are you planning to put to use?