Learn a Few Time Management Tips

Best Practices, Employees

Originally posted on Recruiter.com July 26, 2013.

4 Tips to Avoid Distraction at Work

manager discipline young office worker for being late, point toThere is a hilarious skit from Mad TV that depicts a young woman working behind the counter at a fast food joint. She’s chatting away on her phone when a customer comes up and tries to place an order. Bon Qui Qui puts her lacquered fingernails over the phone and gives the customer a death stare saying: “You see I’m on the phone? Okay then. Don’t Interrupt. RUDE!” and goes back to her phone conversation.

While Bon Qui Qui’s approach is definitely not the right way to deal with customers, sometimes at work, it’s tempting to put it into play. After all, some days it feels like you can barely get any work done before Tom comes rushing into your cubicle, Sandra sends 15 URGENT emails and Geoff calls to see if you want anything from the coffee cart.

Really? Can I just get some work done? 

“The average American worker has fifty interruptions a day, of which seventy percent have nothing to do with work.”  W. Edwards Deming

And now with always-on connectivity, the problem isn’t limited to just people who work in a busy 9-5 office. I have literally had my Skype going off, responding to email, my Google Voice number ring while I was in a Google chat and my actual iPhone start buzzing like crazy, all in the same 5-minute span. And I’m not even counting the 17 (and counting) social networks I’m a part of! Writing relatively short articles (like this one) have become an exercise in frustration and usually require a jaunt to the local coffee house, where only a few people will bother me.

How do you avoid distraction at work? Some time management tips:

Prepare ‘staying focused’ statements to tell people you work with regularly. Say:

  • “I’m on deadline.” (denotes finality)
  • “I have to finish this. Please don’t speak to me for the next 3 hours.” (gives you and them a specific time frame)

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