How You Can Handle Interruptions Like A True Professional

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Even on your most productive day in the workplace, you’re guaranteed at least one interruption. You will have to deal with disruptions during a typical workday several times.

Messy emails with no real point, chat messages from coworkers, workplace gossip, vital news you need to read, and so on.

Few things are more likely to divert your attention from work than your problems. You can’t help but dwell on whatever is upsetting you, no matter how hard you try to focus on your task.

One technique for dealing with interruptions is to work in full isolation. However, that’s inconceivable as nobody can hide at their office desk. There has to be a plan in place that helps you maintain concentration even when interruptions emerge.

Work on the big things first.

In reality, pursuing tasks of lower importance — busy work — might take your focus away from the tasks that matter. Many people believe that they will experience a sense of accomplishment if they complete a long list of minor tasks. Don’t allow these minor distractions to derail you from achieving your bigger objectives.

Create a list with A representing the most important items, B representing items of moderate significance, and C representing those you may complete whenever time permits.

Then, start with the A chores, go on to the B tasks once you’ve finished the A ones, and finish up with the C tasks once you’ve completed the B tasks. This approach won’t let you knock ten items off your to-do list before lunchtime, but it can help you progress on your larger, more significant projects while still remembering the lesser, less critical tasks on your list.

Mute your phone’s notifications.

While being informed of new messages is helpful, you probably don’t require the disruption it causes. When you don’t need it, putting your phone on mute is a good approach to avoid being distracted by its ringing. You will check your messages whenever you have free time, and you will react to them when you do. You can put even the most time-sensitive ones on hold until then.

Suppose you have customers or business partners authorized to reach you immediately. In that case, you should provide them with your phone number and instruct them to use it exclusively in situations requiring rapid responses.

Sort your inbox and respond to messages efficiently.

An email is a convenient form of communication that nevertheless has the potential to create problems. It is useful since it makes it simple to communicate with others and keep track of what others have sent you.

It may be a nuisance since it is difficult to control the timing of the arrival of new emails, the alerts can be distracting when you are working on another activity, and it contributes to the sensation of being “always on.”

Gain command of the situation by setting aside certain blocks of time to handle your email. Email conversations regularly disrupt the flow of work for a lot of people. How frequently you check and answer your email should be determined by your guidelines, which should be based on what is practical for the culture of your business and what will be most useful for you.

For instance, on a typical day when there isn’t anything crazy going on, are you able to check it at the beginning of your work day and then once every hour, but not at all while you are in the middle of a time block for a project?

If you are working on an important project that needs your full attention and participation on a certain day, you will have to deviate from this schedule briefly.

Manage what others expect of you.

If you are working on a large job and need to concentrate, do not hesitate! Pre-warn your coworkers or the people you interact with often. Just saying, “Hey, I must get this presentation for ABC Company done by lunchtime, but I’m free afterward if you need me!” may go a long way.

This comment is courteous since it lets people know you are busy, says that you don’t want to be disturbed, and demonstrates that you are willing to help accommodate them afterward.

Wear headphones.

Even if nobody is talking to you directly, you should try working with headphones on if noise makes it difficult for you to concentrate on your actions, even if nobody is directly addressing you. If you find that listening to music with lyrics distracts you, try playing classical music or noises from nature, such as the sound of waves lapping on the shore or birds calling in the forest.

A side benefit is that if others see you working diligently with your headphones on, they may be less inclined to disrupt you as they go by your office chair.


About the author

Saman Iqbal

Saman is a law student. She enjoys writing about tech, politics and the world in general. She's an avid reader and writes fictional prose in her free time.

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