How to Manage Interruptions


As much as it is easy to wish otherwise, interruptions are a natural part of the work day, no matter what you do for a living. As an administrative professional, interruptions can be even more difficult to manage because they can rob you of the productivity you need to get your work done. Learning to manage interruptions is an important part of maintaining a productive working environment for yourself.

Don't Be a Yes-Man

It can be difficult to say no, but if interruptions are ruling your day it is one of those things that you will have to learn to do. The next time somebody asks if you have a few minutes, say NO if you don't. Then, find a time that works best for the two of you when both of you have a few minutes. After you do this a few times, people will be more respectful of your time.

Limit Your Email Time

Many administrative professionals make the mistake of leaving their email open all day. This can be a good thing if you are waiting on some important communication, but a constant influx of emails can rob you of your productivity. Check your email two to three set times per day and make time for quick looks at your inbox between projects.

Write Things Down

Whether you are interrupting yourself or other people are interrupting you, learn to write those things down. Thought of another project that you need to do? Is there a bill that needs paying? Did you forget to return an important phone call? Learn to write things down quickly and save them for later, when you aren't in the middle of something. While this doesn't necessarily apply to everything, some things can wait for later and are better left that way.

Use a Do Not Disturb Message

Do Not Disturb messages are important, whether you are using an actual one for your office door or cubicle wall or you have to set an away message for your instant messengers or email messages. Make it short and simple; let people know you are busy and can't be interrupted and will get back with them as soon as possible.

Interruptions can be difficult to deal with, but they are a natural part of your work day. Learning to manage them properly can make your work life much easier and allow you to get more work done, leaving more time for the things you love--like sleep, family and fun.