Search
Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » Win the War Against Interruptio ...
Win the War Against Interruptions

Win the War Against Interruptions

During crunch time, it's not unusual for Kelly Kelley, CPS, a senior administrative assistant for Vanir Construction Management, to be working on 10 to 15 computer documents, have 40 or more unread emails, hear two phone lines ringing and have two people standing in front of her desk.

Interruptions, such as phone calls, incoming email and people dropping in, can make it sometimes hard to get anything done, but you don't have to let the unexpected disrupt your day, says Rhonda Finniss, president of Ottawa-based On the Right Track Training and Consulting. She teaches interruption management techniques as part of her class on time management.

Many workers claim technology, such as email and cell phones, has made things seem even more urgent, but "good old-fashioned prioritizing methods" can keep you from getting flustered, Finniss says. The following tips can help you manage your interruptions on a daily basis.

Prioritize

Don't get sidetracked by the less-urgent tasks that pop up during your workday; schedule them for later. Plan your day, and follow that schedule to ensure you accomplish everything you wanted to.

Be Polite

According to Finniss, one of the best weapons to prevent interruptions from overwhelming you is to be frank and polite when asking someone to wait.

When you call someone and don't have much time, say, "I know you're really busy so I'm not going to take up a lot of your time," Finniss suggests. "That allows you to be almost curt on the phone call without sacrificing the relationship."

Silence Socializers

If a perennially distracting coworker drops by to chat, suggest meeting after work to finish the conversation or, better yet, ask if he has time to help you. "If you have an empty chair in your office, get rid of it," Finniss says. "When somebody comes in, stand up. If you need to talk to them, walk with them back to their office."

Turn Your Desk Around

Finniss recommends placing your desk at a 90-degree angle to your door or cubicle entrance so you can see people come in but aren't constantly distracted by people walking by.

Multitask

When you can, bunch together smaller tasks that don't require all your attention. Until six months ago, K Meekins, CPS, administrative assistant for the commercial division of Orkin in Atlanta, handled a phone system with up to 20 lines. She would put calls on speakerphone so she could file and do other tasks while still listening to the callers.

Do It Now

If your schedule allows, perform a task while the requesting party waits. Kelley reduces her chance of forgetting by keeping a person on the phone or at her desk until she's completed the requested task. Continuing the conversation as you work serves two added purposes. "It lets them know that they are not being forgotten or left in the hold zone, but it also shows any people standing in front of you that you're in the middle of something," Kelley suggests.

Turn It Off

Disable pop-up boxes and bells that signal new email arrivals, Finniss suggests. Instead, plan to check your email at reasonable intervals, such as once an hour. "If it's that urgent, they're going to call you," she says.

Race Away from the Rush

Meekins walks or jogs during lunch to clear her mind of any morning stress and return refreshed to tackle the afternoon. Schedule a break away from your office each day to ensure that you're alert -- and not overwhelmed -- when you work.

Latest Jobs

Posted: 10/02/2014
Philadelphia, 19104
Posted: 10/02/2014
Princeton, IL, 61356
Freedom House
Posted: 10/02/2014
Princeton, IL, 61356
Liberty Village
Posted: 10/02/2014
Princeton, IL, 61356
Posted: 10/02/2014
Panama City, 32401

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.55.59-302
eTrustLogo