By Mildred Munjanganja | August 3, 2009
1. Plan your day – make this the first thing you do when you sit down at your desk. Your plan should include an account of what you want to have achieved by the end of the day. You can break the day up into two hour blocks, accounting for each block. Be sure to include time for interruptions.
2. Allot a certain amount of time to such miscellaneous tasks and interruptions and make sure that your team is aware of this daily time slot so that they only come to you during those periods except for critical circumstances
3. When someone walks into your office and has something they need to discuss but you are focused on something else, inform them that you would like to give them uninterrupted time and suggest a time when you can meet, unless it is urgent. Putting them in your calendar and blocking out a time when you can meet shows them that you value them and their problems, you want to give them uninterrupted time and allows you to complete the tasks you are working on until you are prepared to meet. You can also make some of these meetings lunch meetings, it helps to maximize your time. While you both perform a function you have to perform [eating food] – you meet.
4. Make time during the day [maybe 3 minutes] to do a quick check-up on everyone – particularly if it is a team that you manage. Ask them how they are doing, if they are facing any challenges, need any help, etc. This is the time when they can get to speak to you about anything they may have in mind. It will reduce their need to interrupt you throughout the day.
5. Close your email when you’re working on something of high priority. A simple pop-up box from outlook is enough to make you get distracted or sidetracked.
6. Respond to each e-mail as soon as possible, even if it is simply to say “I will get back to you on this tomorrow”; when people are waiting on a response from you regarding something, it invites interruptions as they will eventually come to you for whatever they need.
7. Learn to say NO! You will always be invited to partake in frivolous conversations; learn to simply walk away and take the person who talks the most with you. This will help to disband the group.
8. Shut the door half-way if you are working on something urgent
9. Turn off your electronics if you are working on something critical, e.g. turn-off your cell-phone, shut down your Instant Messenger, put your office phone on “Do Not Disturb” – it will go to voicemail, allowing you time to complete your tasks.
10. Make time to listen to voicemail messages and respond.
11. Plan social office events after business hours, monthly if possible, where people can nurture their business relationships and feel less inclined to do so during business hours.
12. Encourage teams to go on lunch together; they can fulfill their social needs during this time, reducing the need for human contact while working.
13. Put a physical INBOX outside your door; this is where all your mail and important documents will be placed, preventing people from interrupting you to deliver documents.