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5 Simple Ways to Reduce Interruptions
By Maria Gracia
Interruptions soak up our time like a sponge. Here are five simple ways to limit interruptions so you can accomplish what you set out to do each day.
- POST A DO NOT DISTURB SIGN. Schedule certain periods during the day when you're available for questions, feedback, etc. and conserve other periods for your own purposes. Let everyone involved know when you're available, and when you are not. During the time slot when you're not available, hang a Do Not Disturb sign, along with the time slot visitors should return.
- SCREEN YOUR CALLS. While you're working on an important project, have your answering machine--or an office assistant--take your calls. You'll be able to work on your project, and then return calls at a later time when it's more convenient.
- DON'T ENCOURAGE UNSCHEDULED VISITS. At the office, remove visitor chairs unless you have a legitimate appointment. Visitor chairs do nothing more than encourage people to stop by and shoot the breeze. At home, ask friends and family to schedule visits with you, rather than just stopping by.
- CLOSE YOUR DOOR. If you have an office with a door, close the door while you're working. When you have your door open, basically it's seen as an open invitation. A closed door implies you're working on something important and should not be disturbed.
- WRITE UP INSTRUCTIONS. People will interrupt you when they have questions or don't know how to do something. Whenever you can, put answers to common questions and instructions in writing. Give these instructions to the appropriate people so they can look up answers, rather than disturbing you for every little thing.
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