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Brian Tracy! Time Management! Controlling Interruptions

Time Management

Chapter 15. Controlling Interruptions

The key is in not spending time,

but in investing it. ― Stephen R. Covey

Unexpected interruptions are one of the biggest time-wasters

in business

and professions.

These interruptions can come in the form of a chime

for new mail from your computer,

ringing of phone calls and texts,

or people walking into your office

for something to talk about.

In fact, people are the most time-wasting element in work.

Up to 50% of time at work

is spent chatting with colleagues.

Many people come to the office in the morning

to start gossiping and continue

for two or three hours.

In many agencies,

people only really get to work at 11 a.m.,

right before their lunch break.

After lunch,

they continue to gossip with colleagues

until 1:30 or 2 pm before returning to work.


Make the most of your time at work

The rule you need to remember

is “make the most of your time at work.

When you get to the office,

get to work immediately.

Do not gossip with others,

read newspapers or surf the web.

Since you’ve planned your workday the night before,

start right away on the most important things

and keep working on them one by one

until the most important ones are completed.


Minimize interruptions

When someone calls you,

get straight to the point.

Say something like,

“Hi Bill. Nice to talk to you.

What can I do to help you?”

Let’s get straight to the point.

Do not waste time.

Before you call Bill,

make a quick outline of the points you want to talk about.

When you get on to Bill, say,

“I know you’re very busy.

I have three points to discuss with you

and then I’ll let you get back to work.”

This approach is both polite and professional.

Most busy entrepreneurs will appreciate

you getting to the point quickly

and ending the call.

When someone comes into your office to talk,

you can say,

“I’d love to talk to you now,

but I really have to work.

I need to finish this by this afternoon.”

Whenever you say magic words like

“I have to work”,

they will stop and leave.


Get up immediately

To minimize the time for unexpected interruptions,

when someone walks into your room, stand up

and approach them and say,

“I’m going out. What can I do for you?”

Then you walk the person out of the office

and into the hallway,

talking and listening.

When the other person is done,

you let him get back to his work,

and you go back to the office with yours.

Another technique is to lead guests

from the outside into a separate meeting room

instead of bringing them into your room.

Then politely set a time limit at the beginning of the discussion

with reasons such as:

“I have an important call from my representative in London

at exactly 3:15.

I can’t miss that appointment.

I’m sure we can discuss things before that.”

In his book The Effective Executive,

Peter Drucker emphasized

that not only are people wasting your time,

you are also wasting others’ time.

He suggested that people boldly ask others,

“Am I doing anything that is wasting your time?”

When you encourage people to be completely honest

with you on this question,

you’ll be surprised at the ideas you hear

that improve the effectiveness of both sides.

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. ― Leo Tolstoy

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Angel Cherry

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