Interruption Management
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Interruption Management

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Too Little Sleep, More Interruptions - Interruption Management

Only 3 percent of professionals get eight hours of sleep every night of the working week. According to a Travelodge sleep study, company directors are the most sleep-deprived of all, with 8 per cent getting under four hours of rest per night.

The survey included more than 5,200 individuals from 30 different careers to discover more about how work affects rest. Those in the travel industry, such as cabin crew and pilots, found it hardest to get to sleep: 86% struggled with sleepless nights. Teachers were the most likely to stay awake because they were worrying about their work (39%). Here are the top 10 most sleep-deprived professions are:

* Company directors (averaging 5.9 hours of sleep a night)
* Ambulance crew/paramedics (6 hours)
* Tradesmen (6 hours)
* Leisure and hospitality workers (6 hours)
* Police officers (6.1 hours)

* Factory workers (6.2 hours)
* Nurses (6.3 hours)
* Engineers (6.3 hours)
* Doctors (6.4 hours)
* Civil servants (6.4 hours)

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Keen Focus or Predictable Distraction? - Interruption Management

I couldn’t help but be amused when I came across a Forbes article years ago on the dangers to a company when top executives are distracted by opportunities for “adulation.”

“Cancel That Cover Shoot”
by Dana Wechsler Linden, Forbes, January, 31, 2005

Forbes picked the Charles Schwab Corp. one year as the company of the year. Within two years the stock dropped to $7 from $30, and 35% of the employees were on the street.

Now two economists -- Ulrike Malmendier of Stanford and Geoffrey Tate of Wharton--have gone beyond anecdotes. As specialists in "behavioral corporate finance," they studied the performance of more than 500 chief executives from 1975 to 2002. Half won media awards, such as best manager or entrepreneur of the year, and became pseudo-celebrities. The other half didn't win awards but had company performances and profiles remarkably similar to the ones who did.

Guess what? Celebrity leads to hubris -- and lower returns for shareholders. Malmendier and Tate don't name names, but here's some of what they found:

* Return on assets at companies with "celebrity" executives deteriorated steadily for at least three years after a big award, while those without did consistently better than the superstars.

* Award-winners write more books than nonwinners -- autobiographies, collections of self-help advice and homespun philosophy. Ghostwritten or not, they're distractions from the bottom line.

* The more awards chief executives win, the more likely they are to sit on three or more boards, leaving less time for their own directors.

None of this surprises Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, head of the Yale School of Management's Chief Executive Leadership Institute. "The truth is, people do get distracted. You can almost see them start to grow weary of the business and thrilled with the adulation."

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Monday, July 03, 2017

Remove Your Name from Lists! - Interruption Management

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse explains that many websites sell, or provide for free, personal information about individuals and it offers tips and help on getting off of lists.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Too Much Information is Disruptive - Interruption Management

This is a scary one: Having too much information can be as dangerous as having too little. In his report Dying for Information, commissioned by Reuters Business Information, based in London, David Lewis, Ph.D. observes that too much information can lead to a paralysis of analysis, making it harder to find the right solutions or make decisions.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Junk Mail is an Interruption - Interruption Management

This story years back in Newsweek, “Dear Junk Mailers: Leave My Son Alone,” speaks volumes about the junk mail industry in our society. Thirteen years after the death of a seven year old boy, advertisers still target him with offers of tuxedos and snack cakes.

Gary Wiener, writing in Newsweek: “When his 18th birthday arrived, my son, Jacob, became awfully popular. The U.S. Navy wanted him. "Before you find your place in the world, maybe you should see it first," it urged. A local menswear shop offered him 50 percent off a tuxedo package for high-school graduation. And a razor company sent him a free razor, hoping, I suppose, to make a lifelong customer out of him. Their only miscalculation was that Jacob didn't shave. Nor was it likely that any of the armed forces would gain Jacob's services. And he certainly wouldn't graduate from high school. Jacob, you see, died in 1993. He was only 7 years old when a cancerous brain tumor stole him from us.”

“As much as we loved Jacob, that period of our lives is still incredibly painful to remember. Yet, years after his death, letters addressed to Jacob find their way into our mailbox. Early on, I was driven almost to tears by these inducements for our son to attend a ritzy local private school or to sample a particular snack cake. I knew my wife would be devastated by such mail, and I tried to get to the mailbox first so that she would never be affronted by envelopes addressed to her dead first child."

"Much later, I realized she had been doing the same thing, hastily throwing out mail addressed to Jake so I wouldn't have to endure the epistolary abuse.”

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Put Information to Work for You - Interruption Management

When I was researching information for my book Breathing Space, first published in 1990, I found that more information became newly available in a 24-hour period than a person could comfortably ingest in the next 80 years. By 2011, the acceleration of information generation meant that in less than a single second, more information became available than was ingestible in the next 80 years.

When you counted up all the television shows, radio broadcasts, magazines, newspapers, books, articles, signs, reports, blogs, and every bit of communication that became newly available within a one-second interval, at normal viewing or reading speeds, it would take an individual 80 years to consume it all at normal viewing, listening, and reading speeds. In the next second, another 80 years worth is generated and in the next, and the next, etc.

The reality of living in this millennium is that we cannot escape from information. It surrounds us and bombards us in every aspect of our professional and personal lives. If you own a mobile device, and most people now do, you’re connected to the rest of humanity as a result of a network of 16 million miles of fiber optic cable that span the globe with each cable simultaneously able to accommodate 10 million communications.

The challenge for each of us, everyday, and almost every moment has become to extract from the mountain of information we encounter the handful of vital bits of data we need and then assemble such information so that it leads to knowledge we can act upon and wisdom we can accumulate.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Oh, the Noise! - Interruption Management

Sixteen years ago, the article “Noise Busters” by Richard and Joyce Wolkomir appeared in Smithsonian Magazine. From the authors:

“Nature quiet is now preserved in only 7% of Arizona’s Grand Canyon national park and nowhere in Hawaii’s volcano’s National Park.”

“Among city dwelling Americans, 87% are exposed to noise so loud it has the potential to degrade hearing capacity over time. But you will not necessarily find peace in the suburbs or countryside either, not with the on slot of leaf blowers, snow blowers, lawn mowers, chain saws, snow mobiles, power boats, and all terrain vehicles."

“Researchers have demonstrated that noise can raise your blood pressure and change your blood chemistry… Adrenaline levels can rise, indicating the imposition of stress.”

Noise is unwanted sound, derived from the Latin word for nausea. In 1960 there were no leaf blowers, no jet skis, no car alarms, and few snowmobiles. Noise on one side of the school has been shown to diminish some children’s test scores, compared with that of children on the other side of the school in a relatively noise-free zone, who otherwise have the same academic capabilities and demographic profile.

Do you want to do your best work? Get away from the noise.

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Jeff Davidson - Expert at Managing Interruption Overload

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Jeff Davidson: Bio

Managing Interruption Overload

Is the constant crushing burden of information and communication overload dragging you down, pulling you off course, and impeding your effectiveness? By the end of your workday, do you feel overworked, overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted? Would you like to be more focused, productive, and competitive, while remaining balanced and in control?

If you're continually facing too many interruptions and too many demands, you need Breathing Space.


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