Monday, August 27, 2012

Reducing Interruptions

By Harold Taylor 

Since interruptions are a major problem for most managers, and 80 percent of a manager's interruptions come from about 20 percent of the staff members, you may want to try the following five suggestions to keep interruptions under control.

1. If certain people find it necessary to interrupt you frequently, schedule brief, five-minute stand-up meetings with these people each morning to improve communications. Have a question and answer session and let them know what’s happening that day.

2.  Keep a tally sheet on how often the various people interrupt you during a day. You’ll soon know who the time thieves are. Talk to the offenders to determine the reason, and ask for suggestions on how you can both save some time.

3. Set time limits for the frequent offenders. Example: "Is ten minutes sufficient, Bob? Or should we schedule more time later in the day (or week)?" Never allow open ended meetings. Always set deadlines. And be sure to allow extra time when scheduling projects to allow for the any unavoidable interruptions.

4. Don't close your door for excessively long periods of time or people will think the only way that they can gain access to you is to interrupt you. Also, don't store information in your office that people need to access frequently. Locate your in basket outside your office so people won't have to interrupt you when they are simply delivering mail or correspondence to you. Be careful you don’t encourage interruptions.

5. When people barge in on you, use body language to indicate that you're busy. Don't be so quick to drop your pen, and lean back when these constant interrupters barge in.     

George Torok Host of Business in Motion Business Speaker
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