One of the biggest roadblocks to productivity is the interruption. An interruption is anything that breaks your concentration or stops you from continuing what you are doing. Some interruptions are critical, while others can be put off easily. Everyone needs to train themselves to dismiss non-critical interruptions as soon as possible so that they can concentrate on their work.
Two Types of Interruptions
There are two main types of interruptions that most people have to deal with. Critical interruptions don’t happen often, but they require your immediate attention when they do happen. These are things like your house being on fire or your spouse being critically injured in a car accident. It is important to get your work done, but critical interruptions usually take precedence over anything you are working on. It is important to let your boss or client know as soon as possible if a critical interruption has happened and you will not be able to complete your work before the scheduled due date.
Non-critical interruptions are the normal day-to-day interruptions that can keep you from being productive. These are interruptions like your phone ringing when you are writing an article or your coworker wanting to chat while you are in the middle of a project. It is a good idea to put off these interruptions as quickly as you can so that you can get back to work until your task is complete.
Filtering Out Non-Critical Interruptions
There are many ways to filter out non-critical interruptions that break your concentration and make you less productive. One way is to only check your email and social media during breaks and not keep these tabs open during work times. It is nice to know when you get a new email, but setting your computer so that you are not notified right away will help you focus on work.
Close Your Door
A closed door is a visible sign that you are not available. Whether you work from home or in an office, keeping your door closed when you are in the middle of a project is a good way to avoid interruptions that are not vitally important. You may even want to put a sign on the door with the time that you will be available so that people don’t have to wonder when it will be okay to enter the room.
Turn Off Your Cell Phone
It is also smart to turn off your cell phone while you are working. You may not be able to turn off the phone at your office, but turning off your cell phone will mean that you are not interrupted by personal phone calls while you are working. Make sure that your friends and family know your work hours so that they will not expect you to answer your phone during this time.
Taking breaks during your workday will allow you to focus on things that would normally interrupt your workday. Chatting with a coworker, getting a snack and checking your email and phone messages during your breaks will help you be able to focus when you are working. It is a good idea to use an online timer during your breaks so that your break doesn’t end up being longer than you intended.
Set Fixed Work Hours
Setting your work hours is also important. Many people who work at home have difficulty getting work done because they are constantly being interrupted by friends and family. Explain to everyone that you will be working during certain hours each day. It is best to keep the same hours every day so that people remember which hours you are working. If someone interrupts you during this time, calmly explain that you are working and you will be able to get back to them at a certain time. You may even want to make appointments with family and friends so that you will have advance notice of when they will be coming to see you.
Try Using Headphones
Some people find that listening to classical music helps them concentrate on their work. Another benefit to wearing headphones at work is that other people will be less likely to interrupt you. The music will also minimize distractions because you won’t be able to hear every conversation going on in the room around you. Some people find music to be distracting, so only use this tip if you are a person who concentrates better when you are listening to music.
Benefits of Preventing Interruptions
The most obvious benefit of preventing interruptions during your workday is that you will be more productive. You will get more projects done and your projects will probably be higher-quality because you have been able to concentrate until the project was completed.
You may also gain the respect of your boss and colleagues by getting a larger volume of work done each day. Many people find that they are less stressed at the end of the day when they have been able to focus on each task and complete it without being distracted by non-critical interruptions.
Getting your work done in a timely manner also gives you more time to focus on things outside of work such as friends, family and hobbies. Striking a good balance between work and life is one of the most critical keys to long-term happiness and success!
About the Author
When it comes to time management, few people know what they’re talking about like the team at Online Clock. Created back in March, 2006, OnlineClock.net has become the world’s premiere online alarm clock website. They also offer other productivity tools such as online timers, countdowns, stopwatches and online counters.