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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Interruptions at work

Are you being constantly interrupted at work? Basex, a New York research firm, discovered that employees worked on a project an average of 11 minutes before being distracted. Once interrupted, workers took 25 minutes to return to their original task, according to reserachers Gloria Mark and Victor Gonsalez of the University of California at Irvine.

So how do we fight this? Try to reduce interruptions and distractions:

- Tell your co-workers you will be available to answer questions at certain hours - at the top of each hour or at specific times during the day.

- Return phone calls at certain times. Change your answering machine message to let callers know when these times will be.

- Train your people to email or put in writing information that doesn't need a response.

- Educate your people to determine what priority level their interruption is - high, medium or low. Determine how each priority should be handled and communicate that to them.

- Have a sign or signal outside your door or cubicle to let people know not to disturb you.

- Do work that requires high concentration in an area where you won't be interrupted.