compelling results through coaching, training & organizational development

Moving On....By Handling Interruptions

Do you know that you get in your own way? You don't stay on task, you get distracted, don't follow through, say 'yes' when you want to say 'no' and get caught up in trying to please others?

Do you have to get to the office early, before others, so that you can get some work done? Or take work home to do after dinner or on Sunday?

I think most of us could agree we could all take it up a notch. We could think smarter, plan better, say 'no', stay focused and get better results.

Doing business today is different than it was a decade ago. Today's businesses find more competition, increased regulation, constant technology demands, higher costs and longer hours. Because it is human nature to shift into overdrive and work harder and longer; this coping strategy often leads to professional and personal burnout. We become reactive; which in turn, strains our relationships with family, colleagues, and staff, not to mention our health.

What's the answer: Letting go the old habits and developing new habits, new systems, new ways to manage life and business. Awareness leads to choice which leads to change. You've heard the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. Perhaps it's time to try something new, something simple and yet something you have definitely not been doing - managing interruptions.

How many times a day are you interrupted? Stop here - now - and think about this, how many?

Did you know the average interruption takes 7 minutes of your time with 3 minutes for recovery. If you are interrupted an average of 8 - 10 times per day - that's about 100 minutes per day or a whole day each week! What could you do with an additional each week? Market your business, spend it with your family, sleep in and read a book or play a game of golf?

If you want to equate in dollars what your interruptions are costing you, let's make it simple. As an example, if you earn $60,000 per year/ for 40 hrs per week/ $30 per hour. If you lose a day a week, your interruptions are costing you $12,000 per year! Does that get your attention? If you earn $300,000 pe year, the cost is $60,000.

So what's a gal (or a guy) to do? Here are just a couple of suggestions I have in my coaching tool box. First, block out time on your calendar to have 'power hour' or 'think time' or 'production time'. This time is behind closed doors and you are not to be interrupted. Ask your assistant for support and explain why (assistants need uninterrupted time as well. It's not all day, just one or two hours to do those things that need your attention. If you don't have a door, turn your back to the door during this time.

It's been proven that when we group like things together, we are more efficient and effective (as opposed to multi-tasking). So set aside two times during the day to return phone calls and provide your assistant with a script as to how to handle the calls when they come in. Emails are to be handled in the same way. Emails can 'eat you alive"! They can be so time consuming - don't be distracted by the sound on your pc. Turn it off and/or close out the email screen. Set aside a time in the a.m. and the p.m. to deal with emails.

What about internal distractions: Surfing the web, personal day dreaming or errands?

There are many more ways you can take charge and handle interruptions. The point is to set a boundary, it keeps you from the beck and call of others. The benefit is your time, your sanity and your bank account.

Being the coach I am, I wouldn't be doing my job, if I didn't challenge you to decide; what is one step you can take TODAY to handle your time, your life and your business more effectively. What old habit do you need to let go of and what new habit do you need to put into place?

Here comes a gentle kick in the butt from the kick-butt coach to do it and do it today! Let me know if you'd like to receive an interruption log, so you can actually 'see' where your time and money are going.


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