Tag Archives: Time

Work Interruptions: Are They Worthwhile?

Virtually everyone gets interrupted for one thing or another in the workplace. Depending on your position, you may or may not be able to control the who, what, when, where or why of others’ imposition on your time, but you do have choices regarding how you deal with them—and how you interact or interrupt others.

Identify Priority

Ask yourself a few questions before you react negatively to an interruption or before you interrupt someone else.

Can it wait? Unless the topic is truly imperative, delay the matter until a mutually agreeable time, such as scheduled meetings or a combined-issue conference. If it can wait, let it.

Identifying the priority of an in-person or telephonic interruption helps determine whether you actually need to interrupt another person’s work flow and concentration. Be respectful of their time, abilities and needs: If you wouldn’t appreciate an unnecessary interruption for the low-priority issue, don’t interrupt others for it. If you do truly need to interrupt, be respectful and apologize for the disruption.

Send an email or enter the item on a “Pending Resolution” list and present it at an appropriate time.


Whenever possible, address the issue in someone else’s office area. When the conference ends, depart to resume your own work. Getting an individual or a group to leave after a meeting can be difficult, noisy or slow. Instead, choosing another area allows you to leave that area and return to a quieter, more controlled atmosphere that grants you a faster refocus time to get your own work completed.


Having or using an open door policy is terrific, but when constantly being barraged by interruptions or causing them, your own work flow and that of the interrupted person will be sporadic and less than stellar. Institute a set time for interruptions and walk-in conferences. Use your time wisely and effectively and allow the other person to do the same.

There are or will be times, however, when an interruption is unavoidable. Learn to separate the messenger from the message, but train the interrupter to recognize “important” from “wanted now” and to prioritize appropriately.

If you are in a conference and expecting information from another source, let the other person or people know that you might have to allow the interruption before it occurs. You avoid escalated irritation and frustration from the other if you do get interrupted.

If you are a supervisor, allow a daily time for individuals to address issues; allotting the dedicated time can free much more time during your day and theirs to constructive pursuits. Additionally, hold team or department meetings regularly to address team or department goals, problems and accomplishments. Keep those team meetings on point, however. Do not allow them to stray to individual issues and questions.

Refusal or Referral

If the interruption does not pertain to you, let that be known. Refer the interrupter to an appropriate source. If your position allows, don’t accept assignment of responsibility if you are not qualified for it, even if the nature of the interruption is only an answer to a question. If someone else can provide the answer, refer the issue. Don’t provide answers or resolutions that the peer or subordinate can obtain himself instead of taking the easy path and asking you first.

Post by Holly Adams, a writer for Coupon Croc; Visit us for the latest discounts to save on everything you need to increase your efficiency at work; whether it’s the latest gadgets or organization supplies.


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I’m Sure That You Are Way to Busy to Read This

I just don’t have the time.  There isn’t the bandwidth.  There are not enough hours in the day. The hurrier I go the behinder I get.  Surely these are very common and familiar phrases in your work-a-day world.  To me, only the last one holds any modicum of truth.   Indeed, the more harried you allow yourself to get, the less efficient you become.  How many projects are put off simply because of poor time management?  How many concepts are thought to be staggering simply because of the perception that the project is just too big?

Consider the space shuttle.  Taken at its entirety the project was of such magnitude that nobody alive could possibly have attempted such a thing, yet broken down into its component tasks and properly scheduled it was one of the most successful and satisfying undertakings of modern man.  There is rarely a case to be made for not having “enough time.”

I have seen manager after manager bemoan the rigors of their daily schedule ad infinitum.  Seriously, to the point of spending hours at the coffee machine or behind their desks bitching and moaning about how little time there is in their day.  How many times during the day do we really schedule time to invest in the things that are actually going to SAVE us time in the long run?  In my former life the business development of a major corporate travel management fell to my responsibility.  There are absolutely no end of executive administrators and “C” level managers we ran into that realized there travel program was absolutely out of control (costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours annually) but simply didn’t “have the time” to sit down with us and get it fixed.  Ironically, these same managers and admins somehow “had the time” for their engineers and managers to sit down on their computers and book their own travel, often making mistakes or deliberate misuses of corporate budget that any professional agent would have caught in a heartbeat.  These same engineers and managers also seemed to have the “time” to spend on weekend “teambuilding” retreats, trade shows, and product user group meetings.  It seems to be that “time” is not the issue; rather it is one of priority.

Properly setting your priorities, and holding to the discipline of enforcing your schedule, is of key importance in time management. It reminds me of a friend I had growing up that had to buy all of their groceries at a boutique market because they took credit cards, and the local market did not.  They couldn’t just eat beans and graham crackers for one single month to save enough to pay off the credit card debt and start paying with cash at the market across the street that cost about 2/3 of what the boutique market charged.  Instead of exercising the discipline and “sucking it up” for a small period of time, they continued to pay exorbitant prices for their groceries, and monthly interest charges on their credit cards.

Time is money.  If you don’t take the time to invest in your future, you will not have any savings.  Our next installment will discuss how to invest time wisely on your internet presence:  your website and your social media profiles and sites should be your best “selling” assets.  Have you invested the time to make sure you are taking the maximum advantage of those golden resources?


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