How many times are you interrupted in the course of a day? Chances are it is too many. Do you feel in control of your schedule? If the answer is NO, would you like to start to manage your interruptions?

Interruptions usually happen when there is a conflict of priorities between yourself and a colleague. Interruptions soak up time like a sponge. Stop conflicts and you stop the interruptions.


a)are you using interruptions as an excuse to avoid your work? Once you have been interrupted, it can be very tempting to use this as an excuse stop what you are doing. Note down a reminder of where you were before your interruption, and make sure that you get back to it straight afterwards.

b) do you start one project before completing the first? How would it feel if you just completed just ONE thing before starting another? Incompletions drain your energy. Whilst complete work does take more time initially, it will save you time in the long run.

c) do you procrastinate? Stop procrastinating and Take Action - do it NOW!

d) are you distracted? Turn off the radio, close the blind if the outside world is distracting you, and face your desk away from the door.


1. Discourage unscheduled visits
At the office, remove visitors chairs to discourage colleagues from making themselves comfortable. At home, ask friends to phone before they call round - after all, you wouldn't want them to have a wasted trip!

2. Telephone Interruptions
Do you have voicemail? If so, start using it for a couple of hours a day so that you can have uninterrupted time to get on with your work. If your company policy requires customers to speak to a "real person", how about asking a colleague to take messages for you? You can then reciprocate when they need some quiet time. Return the calls later in the day and start getting into the habit of having a "telephone hour" each day. By grouping your phone calls together, they will take less of your time because they are no longer interruptions. You now have control.

3. Prolonged Conversations
Don't prolong a conversation or do anything to extend an interruption. If someone visits your desk or phones you, stand up. It is less comfortable to have a conversation whist standing, and they tend to be shorter as a result.

4. Do Not Disturb
Try to schedule some "me time" each day. This is time where you can close your door, put up the Do Not Disturb Sign, and get on with your work. You should also schedule time where you are available to see colleague. Once you educate colleagues, they will soon get used to the idea that you are only available between 10:00 and 12:00 each day.

5. Learn To Say NO Graciously
Here are some phrases to help you to get the message across that you are busy - without insulting anyone!
* Sorry, I can't talk right now, but I will be free after 11:00 if you would like to call back then?
* I'm just going to a meeting - can I call you back first thing tomorrow?
* It's been great talking with you, but right now I need to complete a report. Let's talk again tomorrow / next week.

6. Encourage Email In The Office Rather than constantly being interrupted, encourage colleagues to share questions and ideas by Email. You can then respond at a time that is convenient to you.

Author's Bio: 

Chrissie Slade is a Life & Clutter Coach based in the UK. I offer telephone and Email Coaching to help you to recognise and reach your full potential. When you have a balanced life, feel centred and stress-free, the rest of your life just seems to fall into place! By working with a Coach, you CAN have it all - "success without struggle." Reach HIGH, Think BIG, Take ACTION!