It was a dark and stormy night when Sally was working on a project for a very important client. She could see the deadline looming just ahead, but it was always just out of reach. The notorious and sinister interrupter was in hot pursuit, stealing away her precious time.
Can you relate?
Do you feel like you can’t get your work done because you are constantly being interrupted throughout the day? You may be in the middle of working on a client project or writing your next amazing blog and then BAM! – an interruption comes from out of nowhere and destroys your attention, pulling you away from the task at hand.
What does the flow of your workday look like? I’ll bet you are interrupted at least once per hour. And when your attention is broken, it’s extremely difficult to get it back. It will take you at least 20 minutes to remember what you were doing, regain your focus and momentum, and start working again.
Here is how to fight the evil interrupter and take back your time.
Pay attention to the sources of your interruptions. It may surprise you to see the majority of them come from only a few interrupters: email, text messages and phone calls are some of the more popular ones. When you are aware of the source, it is easier to take action.
Extreme situations call for extreme measures. Sometimes the only way to fight interruptions is to run away and hide. Intentionally remove yourself from your office and find a place where the interrupters won’t find you. Great hiding spots are coffee shops, libraries or meeting rooms.
Design your work environment to prevent interrupters from gaining access and stealing your attention and time. Here are the key ingredients:
- Turn off notifications on all devices
- Close your email
- Close text messaging
- Turn off your phone
- Close your door (if you have one)
- Hang a Do Not Disturb sign on your door or desk
Doing these three things will build an interrupter shield around you. It’s your secret weapon when it comes to battling the interrupters who want to hijack your day.