By Andrew Gallaway
The Challenge. What do you feel when you're in the zone - reading, writing, thinking - at work? Fulfilled, purposeful, in control? How do you feel when someone interrupts you in the zone? Frustrated, important, stressed, willing to please? Mixed feelings right? That's probably because there are 'good' interruptions and 'wasteful' interruptions. The good interruptions are when you're being informed of something that's urgent and important. The 'whoop, whoop' of the alarm is a great interruption if the building is on fire! But the wasteful interruptions can be damaging to an organisation because everyone loses - the interrupter and the interrupted. Neither is doing productive important work during the wasteful interruption.
The Cost. Three interruptions per hour can cost you up to 30 minutes of time when you consider how long it takes to deal with the interruption and then get your mind back into work.
5 Simple Tips to find your zone during work time
1. If someone comes into your workspace and interrupts you it’s likely that they consider the issue important; they might even be super pumped and excited. But how important and urgent is it compared to what you’re doing right now. The first step is to assess the nature of the interruption. “How can I help you?” If the matter is more urgent, drop what you’re doing and deal with it. If it isn’t, then could you make a later time that day to talk?
2. Consider saving up those important but not urgent conversations for another time. Collect your thoughts, emails, issues in a folder and take them to a 1:1 meeting with a colleague or a group meeting where the session is planned. It could be once or more per week. Cover off the matters you and your colleague have saved up during that session. You'll be amazed at how much time you save by batching those discussions.
3. Recognise if there’s a problem with interruptions in your workplace. This is important because interruptions can happen quite unconsciously and can become an organisational habit. So, awareness is the first step.
4. Talk to each other! If there’s a problem with interruptions talk to the team and get buy-in to recognise the costs.
5. Find the right place to work. At Collagis we believe that work needs to be done in the right workspace. If you have to do work where you need to concentrate and not be disturbed, could you book a meeting room to work in for an hour or so? Tell someone where you are going just in case and ask not to be disturbed unless it's an emergency. You'll only be gone an hour or so!
Finding the right environment during work hours is kind of like coming into work early or staying late because that's the only way you can get work done; no one else is around to bother you.
Think about it! Why are you doing that? Work in work hours as much as you can by creating the right conditions for you to get the work done.
Want to know more about how you can improve your productivity in the workplace? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org OR visit collagis.com.au/pep to find productivity programs for your workplace. We'd love to hear from you.