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- Reducing interruptions
- Dealing with feeling overwhelmed
- Responding to quick questions
- Making the most of meetings
- Following up
- Implementing a closed door, open calendar policy
Skill Level Appropriate for all
- I talk about how switches are your enemy when it comes to productivity, but what if you're in a position that requires switches in attention? Where you need to respond? For instance in emergency situations. I call these positions responders, and typically you'll see them in technical support or things like repair or even emergency response. If switches are a requirement in your day, yet we don't want to have switches take place, how do we reconcile the two? Well there are a few tweaks that I'd suggest you make to your schedule.
First of all, rather than fighting these switches expect them. Expectations have everything to do with your ability to be happy in the workplace, and rather than being frustrated every time they happen, just realize this is my job. I have to respond to these things. Second, schedule less in your day. For instance if you know that you're in a position where you're going to be interrupted regularly throughout the day, leave at least 50% of your calendar open, empty.
That way you're prepared for these interruptions to happen. Which leads to step three, shuffle within the day. Let's say, for example, that I had processing, going through my emails, scheduled at 9 a.m., but an emergency occurred that I'm supposed to respond to what do I do? Well I move it within the day, for instance, to 1 p.m. I don't abandon the appointment. I just move it to a time that's more appropriate to make sure that I get it done.
Step four, if I find myself with empty time in my schedule, I use that down time to prepare. That's a great time to gather things into approved gathering points like my in box, my email, and I use that time to process things. Deciding when I'm going to accomplish them in the calendar. That way I get ahead of the schedule to prepare for the next time the interruption is going to occur. The idea here is to be realistic both with yourself and with your schedule.
You can be successful in a responder position. The idea is to be flexible in your path toward getting results.