Handling Interruptions: A Time Management Tip
“Got a minute?”
We’ve all had to deal with those dreaded words. Someone pops his or her head into your space and requests your valuable time ... and you absolutely know that whatever the person wants, it’s going to take more than a minute! Unscheduled interruptions can be a huge drain of your energy resources, but you can’t just say “no” — it might actually be critical!
First, be honest with yourself — and with the other person. If you have a deadline looming and you’re pressed for time, don’t be afraid to mention it and ask if you two can schedule an appointment for the future. But avoid vagueness — “Can we talk about this later?” isn’t as productive as “I’ll be free at 3 today, will that work for you?”
Second, be very specific as to how much time you do have. “I have 10 minutes right now ... is that enough time?” If it is — great. If it’s not — time for that calendar!
Third, listen! Once you’ve promised your time, it’s a commitment. Give your full attention, and eliminate any external distractions. Don’t think about your other work, projects, emails ... or wonder in the back of your mind “how long is this really going to take?” It’s not until it looks like time is running out — without any signs of winding up — that you take any action.
Fourth, if things are going long, you need to regain control of your time, while making sure that you’re still respecting the person’s issue. Validate that you’ve been listening — say, “I want to make sure I have everything so far, can I recap and make sure we’re both clear?” Then ask, “I only have another 3 minutes ... is that enough time for you, or do we need to find some time later this afternoon?”
Controlling interruptions — but making sure you both get the most out of any interactions — makes you more productive and keeps your relationships at work strong and healthy!
The information in this article came from National Seminars and STAR12’s Powerful Communication Skills for Women training. Sign up for this course or one of our other great training sessions at NationalSeminarsTraining.com today!
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your article on time management makes perfect sense. I thorougly enjoyed hearing these quick and to the point ideas on managing time.
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