Managing Interruptions

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  • 8/2/2019 Managing Interruptions


    12 September 2011 SHAKTI Organisation

    Time Management -Managing Interruptions

    Sheila Ash

    Sept 2011

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    Record, analyse, act

    Know your Rocks & Sand

    Hints & Tips

    Make the change!

    Go from being interrupt driven

    To actively managing interruptions

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    The problem with interruptions

    Break your concentration

    Distract your focus

    Make you go back over what youwere doing

    Make you repeat things

    Waste time Reduce productivity

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    Managing Interruptions

    Record interruptions

    Analyse interruptions

    Act on what you find Manage interruptions

    Change your behaviour & others

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    Record the interruptions

    Keep a interruptions log for a minimum of 1week

    Person Date andTime



    Valid? Urgent?

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    12 September 2011 SHAKTI Organisation

    Know your ROCKS & SAND

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    Rocks & Sand the problem

    You have a pile of large rocks and apile of sand to transport from A to B

    You have 1 bucket and a shovel astools

    How is it best to move these?

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    Rocks & Sand the learning

    Know your ROCKS

    depending on your job these are

    your big tasks

    the most difficult ones

    the Urgent AND Important tasks only youcan do

    Know your SAND everything else is sand

    Do your ROCKS FIRST!

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    Analyse your interruptions log

    Make lists the valid interruptions

    the NOT valid interruptions

    the urgent interruptions

    the valid AND urgent interruptions

    the NOT valid AND NOT urgentinterruptions

    Review and look for patterns whoand why?

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    Review the Valid interruptions

    Could someone have avoidedinterrupting you by waiting for aroutine meeting?

    Pattern e.g. you are regularlyinterrupted byA as you are required tosign official letters.A brings you these as(s)he produces them


    fix an appropriate time inyour daily schedule forA to bring youALL letters for signature at once

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    Review the Urgent Interruptions

    Just how urgent were these? BeHonest!

    Was it something unforeseen that had tobe done by you at that moment in time?

    Could it have waited until later the sameday?

    Could it have waited longer? Could have been pre-empted?

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    Valid AND Urgent

    For these you should be interruptedand you need to deal with them

    From the Interruptions log, work out

    how much time these took? TIP : This amount of time is your

    Required Contingency Time, block

    this into your schedule - it is aROCK

    All other work is SAND

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    Pre-empt the non Urgent

    TIP : pre-empt by holding routine meetingswith people

    Fix appropriately scheduled meetings in

    your calendar with key people you interactwith (reportees, your boss / boardmembers etc)

    Once people are confident that they will have

    time with you at a defined point in the nearfuture, they will change their behaviour andsave up non-urgent issues until then

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    Schedule regular check ups

    Invite the people you talk with most toregular individual time slots

    TIP : Get them to keep a running list ofthings to discuss, so as to cover all the

    points at one time You should do this as well TIP : Decide where you will meet

    If you meet in their office or in a meeting room

    it is easier to excuse yourself when you haveachieved your purpose for the meeting

    Stick to agreed time slots and meetinglengths

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    Available and Unavailable time

    Simple yet effective

    TIP : Let people know when you are availableand when you are not

    Make sure people know during your"unavailable time they should only interruptyou if they have to

    TIP : Agree the signal This alleviatesinterruptions, avoid misunderstandings, avoids

    hurt feelings e.g. door closed, nameplate turned over, use ofDo

    Not Disturb sign

    As a manager dont over use this, staff needyou to be approachable

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    Still interrupted

    Be assertive

    Take a breath take a moment todecide to

    Schedule a more convenient time tosuit your assessment of urgency andimportance OR

    Quicklyset the timeframe fordiscussing the issue now "I only have five minutes to talk about

    this right now," Stick to it.

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    Dos and Donts

    Do not ask the interrupter to sit down

    Do not engage in small talk

    Encourage the interrupter to get right to

    the point If no solution is reached before the allotted

    time runs out, then set a time for gettingback to them. Stick to it

    Stick to it!Be dependable and people will change

    their behaviour

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    Time Snatchers (1)

    Time snatcher are not just people Email Deal with email at a fixed point in your

    day Screen in the same way Assess Urgency & Importance Know you Rocks & Sand

    Telephone Use an answer machine OR get someone

    else to answer, take message Screen mobile calls in the same way as

    you screen people

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    Time Snatchers (2)

    Ideas Keep a notebook to hand jot down ideas

    for later action, then get straight back to

    what you were doing Tidy desk Schedule a desk tidy up

    The only things on your desk should be

    those things you are working with Everything else should have its filing


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    Remember you are the driver!

    Set schedules get things done