Interruption Management
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Interruption Management

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Piles are Distracting - Interruption Management

Piles accumulate... be they stacks of mail, reports, survey forms, seminar announcements, catalogs, etc.  Confront your piles head-on with a take-no-prisoners attitude!

If you haven't noticed already, such piles can accumulate in a hurry. A couple of file folders, issues of a magazine, some office memos, something you clipped from the newspaper, a single day's worth of mail, some fliers left by your door, and POOF, you've got a pile!

Piles, by their nature, tend to represent complexity and unfinished business. Each pile in your visual field, i.e., that you encounter in any given day, registers in your brain, if only for a picosecond at a time, as more stuff that you haven't really dealt with. Fortunately, there are ways to handle the ad hoc piles materializing a little too frequently in your life:

* Dismantle piles with relative grace. Have available a pen, some file folders, paper clips, rubber bands and a stapler. Now you're ready to collect everything on your desk or table or elsewhere that needs, or you suspect may need, attention. Stack all of it in front of you in a temporary pile. If the pile is high, your incentive to do so may be that much greater. In 30 minutes or less, you're going to dismantle and reallocate this simplicity-threatening pile. Allocate each item to one of four locations – an important pile, an urgent pile, an interesting pile, or the recycling bin, where most items will go.


* Allocate to the best of your knowledge. If an item is urgent and important, place it in the important pile near the top. If it's simply urgent, place it in the appropriate pile. If you are unsure of any particular item, place it at the bottom of the large stack, but only do so once for each item. On the second encounter, you have to classify it. In thirty minutes or less, the voluminous pile should be gone, and you're left with three semi-neat tiny piles. Rank the items and then re-arrange them in each pile. Downgrade or toss anything you can. You're left with three smaller, more precisely arranged piles, important, urgent, and interesting.

* Get meaner and leaner.  What else can you chuck? What can be combined, ignored, delayed, delegated, done in multiples, armed-out, automated, systemized, or used for kindling? The more items you can downgrade to interesting, the farther ahead you'll be because you can deal with these items when you feel like it.

* With what's left, tackle items one by one. After you've identified the most important project or task at the top of the important folder, begin working on it. If you can't complete it, proceed with it as far as you can go. Then place it back in the folder, either on top or where you determine it now belongs. Similarly, begin on the next most important item and proceed as far as you can go.

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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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Jeff Davidson, MBA, CMC, Executive Director -- Breathing Space Institute  © 2014
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