Whether you’re juggling multiple clients or managing several projects within a company, distractions can eat into efficiency. And lost efficiency costs companies money!
This will come as no surprise, but the best way to compete tasks is to be able to focus on them. However, every time someone stops in the office, the phone rings or an email notification pops up, our attention is diverted. Here are a few tips for reducing distractions and getting items checked off the to-do list without a lot of stopping and starting!
We all want to interact with our co-workers, but sometimes we don’t have time to talk or need to keep focused on a detailed task. You can discourage interruptions subtly, and not so subtly.
- Close your door. Set a policy that if the door is closed, you are not to be disturbed. If it’s cracked, only disturb for an urgent matter.
- Wear earphones. Earphones not only block out some noises, or provide background music, but they also signal that you are engaged on a call or another task.
- Don’t engage. If you are interrupted, listen to the request and then ask if you can get back with your co-worker in thirty minutes. This acknowledges the importance of the request but doesn’t take you off task.
Society never stops! However, every call or email is not urgent. If you are working on a task that demands focus, mute these interruptions. Silence your phone and make sure the desktop pop-up notifications setting for emails is turned off. If you routinely receive calls and emails that need your sooner-rather-than-later attention, set a timer and pause your task to check your email and voicemail at that time. This allows you to complete a train of thought on what you’re working on AND give the proper attention to the next request.
Sometimes you will be needed for an emergency. We encourage using direct messaging like Teams or Slack internally to reach out on matters that need a response quickly.
Whatever system you choose to implement, don’t feel guilty about setting boundaries on your time. You will be more focused, more productive and less harried when you can dedicate your energy to a task. And your client will thank you!
This post is courtesy of MMC Account Manager Melissa Holder.