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Interruptions... It’s something we all know, dread, but don’t know how to fix. It seems like interruptions eat away at our days, and they do.  

Did you know that the average office worker in America now experiences 8 to 11 interruptions every hour . Worse, it takes between 5 and 28 minutes to recover from an interruption, i.e. recover the level of focus you had before the interruption. Taking the most optimistic of those numbers, it means that 40 minutes out of every hour are lost to interruptions. And that doesn't even count the time spent in the interruption, which may or may not be productive.  

At best, if you let things be in their present state, you‘re effectively working 20 minutes out of every hour. Quite scary, isn’t it?  

That’s why it’s so important to minimize interruptions as much as possible, if possible by filtering calls, by processing your email in batch instead of as every email comes in, and create a no-interruptions-allowed period of time: Once every day, turn off your phones, your email, your blackberry, close your door if you have one, and/or put in earplugs so that you don’t hear anything short of a shout, hunker down and get a focused 60 minutes of work done.  

It’s an easy thing to do, and one that yields huge dividends. If there is only one time management habit you’ll change this year, make it this one!  

Have a wonderful end of month.  

Fabulously40 Time Management Expert

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lindamac wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • I used to work in a place where where a couple of days a week, I could come in at 1:00 p.m. and stay until 9:00 p.m. (you can do that when you're single). On those days, I'd start the day with an in-box full of projects ready for me to work on. We had the afternoon with the whole team there for questions and coordination. Then I'd have 4 more hours to myself after everyone was gone - no phones, no interruptions - by the time I'd left, I had gotten everything out of my in box and off to whoever needed it next. Those were the most productive days of the week! I used those two mornings a week to get out and bicycle. When our office moved to a location where I couldn't do the later shift, people actually commented on how much more stressed out I was. Work didn't get done as quickly either. Interruptions are just cancerous!!

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