There are a few things that are guaranteed once you decide to get some work done–the phone rings, someone knocks on your door or the email alert pops up! Here are a few tips for managing and handling distractions at work.

  1. When interrupted, make a judgment on how important the item is versus what you are working on. If it’s not both urgent and important, agree on a time to discuss it later.
  2. Get in the habit of making notes during telephone conversations. People will be less likely to interrupt you when they see physical activity taking place.
  3. Put a time limit on your interactions and stick to the time limit. Say” I have just three minutes; how can I help?” If the problem takes longer, set an appointment to talk further. Or if the person is in your office, stand up and saying “Sorry, I really need to stop now.”
  4. Instead of listening to someone’s lengthy discussion about a problem, try saying:
  • That’s so important that I’d like you to put it in writing for me so I can study it. Will you do that?”
  • Why don’t you take it as far as you can go and then let’s sit down to discuss it?
  • Have you done all that you can on it without me?
  • I really want to work with you on this, let’s set aside time at o’clock to work on it together
  • “I’m sorry, I have to get back to work .We’ll have to discuss this another time.

Don’t feel bad about trying to control your time. It’s important for you to be able to work and focus on the things that are important to you.

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