I am not the best when it comes to avoiding interruptions. I wish I were.
However, I have come up with a few things that help me avoid interruptions and stay on task.
I keep a calendar.
This one is simple enough for avoiding interruptions. When people interrupt me, I simply say that I need to get back to them and that I am putting a note on my calendar to make certain I do get back to them.
I keep a priority list.
What are the three most important things I need to do today? I put those things at the top of my calendar. I find it easier to avoid interruptions when I have a list of the things I must do.
I screen my calls or just turn off my phone.
When I have a deadline, I just do not answer my phone. I can see who called from caller ID and return calls when I have finished my tasks. Some people block the caller ID on their phone. These are usually marketing calls. I ignore them.
I save personal calls and personal emails for personal time.
I let personal phone calls go to voicemail. I have a personal email address. Most companies have a policy against taking personal phone calls and reading personal email during the workday. Getting personal emails mixed in with business email is the same as getting personal mail at the office. No one would ever dream of receiving personal postcards and bills at the office. Why then would a person open personal email at work? Avoiding opening personal email at work is an easy way to avoid interruptions.
I do not receive emails updates from social media sites.
I do not allow social media sites to send me email notifications. If a social media site is not important enough for me to check my messages on the website, I do not use the website at all.
I have reduced my email addresses.
Having to work with multiple email addresses created interruptions in my workday. Over time, I created email addresses for AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, yadda.com. I needed these email addresses for different email functions in my business. Along with those different email addresses, I created newsletter subscriptions and membership logins. Today, I have consolidated those subscriptions and login email addresses.
I have reduced my commitments.
Too often, I offer to help with things where people could have done well enough without me. I try not to commit to doing things that just are not necessary. As I increase my commitments, I have more difficulty avoiding interruptions.
Learning from my mistakes
I take notes on mistakes I make that are time wasters. Making a mistake is normal. Repeating mistakes is nuts. Keeping track of how I can avoid interruptions is healthy and sane.
Image courtesy of Alan Cleaver/Flickr