Constant interruptions can be bad for productivity.
They can cause us to break our concentration from tasks – making us more prone to mistakes when we return. They can also cause us to fall behind on schedule.
Here are just some of the most common workplace interruptions and how you can protect yourself against them.
#1 Answering the phone
Unscheduled phone calls can be a major interruption. If you only receive a few calls per day, it may not be too much of an issue, but if you’re constantly picking up the phone, it could start to seriously affect your productivity.
One of the best ways to deal with this interruption is to outsource it. There are phone answering companies that can take calls for you, filtering out general inquiries and sales calls, relaying only the most urgent and personal calls to you.
Another option could be to hire an in-house receptionist – one of their primary duties could be to answer the phone.
#2 Replying to ‘urgent’ emails
Some emails can be replied to in due course, but others may be labeled as ‘urgent’. In the case of most true emergencies, people will ring you – so you shouldn’t have to feel that any email must be answered as soon as possible.
A few companies nowadays are setting email embargos – scheduling specific periods of the day to reply to emails and using out-of-office replies to warn people when they may not get a prompt response.
If you’d prefer to answer all emails promptly but don’t want to have to deal with the interruption, an alternative solution could be delegate replying to emails just like answering phone calls, either by using an outsourced company or a receptionist.
#3 Solving tech issues
Tech issues – including software problems, hardware problems, internet connection issues, and cybersecurity issues – can strike at any time. Having to take time out to solve these tech issues can be a major pain.
Outsourcing managed IT services can help you to react quickly to tech issues. An IT consultant will likely be able to solve the problem for you, which could spare you unnecessary time spent dealing with such problems.
You can also minimize the threat of tech issues by investing in good quality software and hardware, as well as knowing when to update.
#4 Responding to personal phone notifications
Responding to personal texts and social media messages can also be a common interruption.
If you’re the type of person that gets lots of personal notifications throughout the day, consider turning off notifications during work hours.
If people need to get hold of you, they’ll ring you. You can even turn off your phone and give your close family members your work number to avoid answering non-urgent personal calls.
#5 Chatting with employees/colleagues
Employees or colleagues are one of the biggest interruptions in most workplaces. This isn’t something you can easily deal with – allowing conversation can make for a friendly atmosphere and an open-door policy to your office can make you more approachable.
That said, you may want to set some ‘do not disturb’ hours just so that you can get some work done.
As a boss, you may even have the freedom to work from home or out of the office when you need to, which could prevent people from constantly coming into your office for impromptu meetings.