Have You Got a Minute?

Such an innocuous little phrase, yet when you are hard at work, really focused and engrossed in what you are doing this seemingly harmless request can be a nightmare distraction.

"The average American has 50 interruptions a day, of which 70% have nothing to do with work" W. Edwards Deming

Interruptions are on of the main time stealers that get in the way of productivity. Whether it is phone, email or person generated, have you got a minute? can really break your concentration, affect your mood and make you feel irritated and frustrated.

Have you got a minute can so easily turn into 5, 15 or even 30 minutes and suddenly your day is behind schedule but, remember you let it happen. However, the good news is that it is within your control to do something about it. You can stop or at least manage these situations Here are my top 5 tips for managing interruptions

1. If you work in your own office ? close the door and put a notice on the outside saying please do not disturb until 2.30pm (or whatever time you will be finished doing what you are doing)

2. If you work in an open plan office, put a note on your desk or on top of your PC saying I need to concentrate, please do not disturb , then take it down when you are finished.

3. If you need to have uninterrupted time each day, switch off your phone, close down your email and let your colleagues, boss and team know that for example, you do not want to be interrupted, plan meetings, chat etc every day between 8.30 and 9am.

4. In response to the Have you got a minute? You can say

a. No

b. Not at the moment but if you come back in 30 minute I will have

c. I have a maximum of 5 minutes. What specifically do you want to speak to me about and is 5 minutes enough? If so go ahead. If not, suggest a more convenient time

d. Tell me what you specifically want to talk to me about and then I'll tell you whether now is a good time to discuss it

5. Educate your colleagues, team, boss to do all of the above and respect their wishes too. This helps create good habits all round

Now go and Take Control of Your Time your minutes are precious!

2005 Beverley Hamilton

About The Author
Beverley Hamilton is the author of Take Control of Your Time: 7 Straight Shooter Strategies for Success. To learn more, subscribe to Quickstart her free ezine and get more tips, tools and articles visit at One Step Further

NOTE: You're welcome to reprint this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered including the "about the author" information at the end.

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