Handling Interruptions: A Time Management Tip

“Got a minute?”

We’ve all had to deal with those dreaded words. Someone pops their head into your space and requests your stopwatchvaluable time … and you absolutely know that whatever they want, it’s going to take more than a minute! Unscheduled interruptions can be a huge drain of your energy resources, but you can’t just say no – it might actually be critical! Here’s some tips to help you with time management and dealing with interruptions.

First, be honest with yourself – and with the other person. If you have a deadline looming and you’re pressed for time, don’t be afraid to mention it and ask if you two can schedule an appointment for the future. But avoid vagueness – ‘Can we talk about this later?’ isn’t as productive as ‘I’ll be free at 3 today, will that work for you?’

Second, be very specific as to how much time you do have. “I have ten minutes right now … is that enough time?” If it is – great. If it’s not – time for that calendar!

Third, listen! Once you’ve promised your time, it’s a commitment. Give your full attention, and eliminate any external distractions. Don’t think about your other work, projects, emails … or wonder in the back of your mind ‘how long is this really going to take?’ It’s not until it looks like time is running out – without any signs of winding up – that you take any action.

time managementFourth, if things are going long, you need to regain control of your time, while still making sure that you’re still respecting their issue. Validate that you’ve been listening – say “I want to make sure I have everything so far, can I recap and make sure we’re both clear?” Then ask “I only have another 3 minutes … is that enough time for you, or do we need to find some time later this afternoon?”

Controlling interruptions – but making sure you both get the most out of any interactions – both makes you more productive and it keeps your relationships at work strong and healthy!

The information in this article came from National Seminars and STAR12’s Powerful Communication Skills for Women training. Sign up for this course or one of our other great training sessions at NationalSeminarsTraining.com today!

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