Time is precious – how do you manage yours?
We all know managers get very little uninterrupted time to work on their priority tasks.
Between phone calls, information requests, questions from employees and a whole host of things that crop up unexpectedly, when are you supposed to get your work done?
Some interruptions need to be dealt with immediately, but others need to be managed.
Here are three techniques you can use to manage interruptions (or interrupters)
1. Keep an interrupters log
If interruptions are constantly disrupting your schedule try recording them all for a week in an interrupters log, then analyse the data.
Work out which interruptions are valid and which are not.
You can’t avoid all interrupters – like answering urgent questions – but you can schedule them so you still have time complete your daily work. It’s a great way to work out which interruptions aren’t valid and block them from your schedule.
2. Disrupt the disrupters
If interrupters could have waited for a meeting or completed the work themselves, decline their disruption politely but assertively.
Hold regular meetings with people – if they know they will have access to you at a defined point, they will learn to wait.
However, some interruptions are both urgent and valid so you will need to deal with these situations as and when they arise.
3. ‘Available’ and ‘unavailable’ time
It’s simple yet effective – let people know when you are available and when you’re not. A closed office door works well, but may be more difficult in an open plan office. Be creative, make a fun exercise for staff to come up with a sign that says ‘do not disturb’ so everyone is on the same page.
Not only will it avert interruptions, it will avoid hurt feelings.
A word for managers
Remember, handling urgent matters is part of your role, so keep the barriers at a workable level. Inspire and coach your team to be as effective as possible.
Skill up with CCIWA’s regular safety and employee relations courses, which are customisable to your business. Find out more here.