Time Management: Control Interruptions

15/03/2023by dang tin0

Control Interruptions

UNEXPECTED AND unscheduled interruptions are among the biggest time wasters in business and industry. These interruptions can be in the form of a bell going off on your computer, a telephone ringing, an SMS message coming in on your smartphone, or people just walking into your office because they need to talk. It turns out that people are the greatest time wasters in the world of work. As much as 50 percent of time at work is spent in idle chitchat with coworkers. Many people come into work in the morning and begin chitchatting with their coworkers, and then continue for the next two or three hours. In many environments, people don’t really start seri- ous work until about 11:00 a.m., and then soon it is time to break for lunch. After lunch, they come back and chitchat with their coworkers some more, not getting back into the job until 1:30 or 2:00 p.m.

Work All the Time You Work

The rule for you is to “work all the time you work.” When you go into your workplace, begin work immediately. Do not chat with others, read the newspaper, or surf the Internet. Since you planned out your day the evening before, you begin immediately on your most important task, and keep working, task by task, until you get your most important jobs done.

Minimize Interruptions

When someone phones you, cut to the chase immediately. Say something like, “Hello, Bill. It’s nice to hear your voice. What can I do for you?” Get right to the point. Don’t waste time. Before you call Bill, quickly write out an agenda of the points you want to cover in your phone call. When you get Bill on the line, you say, “I know how busy you are. I have three points that I need to go over with you and then I will let you get back to work.” This approach is both polite and professional. Most busy businesspeople are going to appreciate your getting to the

point quickly and then getting off the phone. When someone comes into your office to chat, you can say, “I would love to talk with you right now, but I really have to get back to work. I have to complete this task by this afternoon.” Whenever you say those magic words, “I have to get back to work,” the other person will pack up and leave.

Stand Up Immediately

To minimize the time cost of unexpected interruptions, when someone comes into your office, stand up and approach the other person saying something like, “I was just on my way out. What can I do for you?” Then, you walk with the person out of your office and back into the hallway, talking and listening. When the person has finished talking, you then let him go back to his work, and you return to your office and your work.

Another technique is to take outside visitors to a separate meeting room rather than bringing them into your office. Then, you politely set a time limit at the beginning of the discussion by saying something such as, “I have an impor- tant call coming in from our agent in London at exactly 3:15. I can’t get out of that appointment. I’m sure we can cover everything we need to cover by that time.”

In his book The Effective Executive, Peter Drucker makes the point that not only do people waste your time, but you waste the time of other people. He suggests that you have the courage to go and ask other people, “What do I do that wastes your time?” When you invite people to be perfectly honest with you in answering this question, you will be quite amazed at the ideas you’ll hear to help increase their effi- ciency and effectiveness, and your own as well.

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