|Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Learn to Manage Interruptions Managers are especially torn between trying to be both accessible and productive. They want to be modern, sensitive bosses who will hear out customer complaints and employee problems -- but they also have planning to do, projects to complete, paperwork to handle, goals to meet, and higher-ups to satisfy.
Here are some techniques for striking a balance:
- The telephone, Alec Mackenzie suggests, is one of the biggest time-wasters. He gives several strategies for dealing with interrupting phone calls, such as call screening, voice mail, and the like. However, perhaps the simplest solution is to put a three-minute egg timer on your desk. When the sand runs out, you know to halt diplomatically all but the most critical of calls.
- An open-door policy is fine, but it can destroy your efficiency if taken too far. Roger Dawson, in 13 Secrets of Power Performance, offers numerous ways to lessen drop-in visitors. One, arrange your office so you are not readily visible and thus a target for people passing by with time on their hands. Another, set a block of time -- usually early in the workday or near the end -- when employees do a lot of socializing, and make that your official "closed-door" period when you can hole up and not feel guilty.
- Go to lunch at an odd hour; say 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. Not only, Dawson believes, will you get a better table and service at the restaurant, you will be working when everyone else is out to lunch, and will therefore minimize distractions. Thus, your productivity will soar.
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