Notes from the VHS tape Controlling Interruptions - How to Free
up an Hour a Day, with Verne Harnish. Nick's note -- I classify
interruptions as emails, phone calls, requests from coworkers, etc - anything
reactive that prohibits me from being proactive at the office.
- 168 = Number of hours per week
- Interruptions make us feel important and busy. They can also bring us good
- But interruptions are poorly timed and they ruin our workday concentration.
- Don't let power and ego get in the way of your goal to eliminate interruptions.
How to control interruptions - List, Eliminate,
- List - What people? What events?
- Eliminate - Ask yourself, What would happen if this task wasn't handled
- Anticipate - It is much easier to handle 10 questions at one time, compared
to being interrupted 10 different times throughout the day.
- Delegate - For more information on delegation, check out the book The
One Minute Manager Meets The Monkey. (ed note - I am not making that
More on the Anticipate step...
- Batch similar interruptions together.
- Balance between being hard to reach and being available.
Reward people for waiting. There is a big difference between an open door
policy and an open mind. An open door policy tends towards half-baked responses
when you are not focused.
Physicians have a pretty good schedule. When they arrive at the hospital, they
have a series of back-to-back 5 or 10 minute patient meetings. Then they have
surgery. Would you want your doctor interrupted while he was permorning surgery?
Also, physicians perform their surgeries in the morning when they are most alert.
To help control rambling telephone conversations, use a person's name followed
by a pointed question to regain control. When ending a conversation, come to
a specific conclusion.
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