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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

Losing Over One Day Out Of Every Work Week


Robert Stevenson Blog - Time is Money

Interruptions are one of the biggest sufferings in the workplace. They cause disruptions and unnecessary delays during working hours. A recent study shows an average of 28% of productivity is lost due to interruptions. That adds up extra 2.25 hours of work out of an eight-hour workday is lost!

To put it another way … Studies show that the average worker is interrupted somewhere between 4 to 12 times every hour; that is NUTS. In the best-case scenario, that’s one interruption every 15 minutes. OUCH! Frequent interruptions lead to lower productivity, more errors and erode willpower. They can also cause irritation and anxiety or simply put – A LOT OF STRESS.


Here are a few of the interruptions I am talking about: Messages, Phone calls, Social media, Chat requests, Daily news sites, App notifications, E-mail notifications, Coworkers stopping by, Unnecessary emails – “Copy All”, Unnecessary meetings – virtual or in-person, and Managers interrupting work and demanding something.


Remember - The biggest killers of workflow are interruptions.


When someone or something interrupts you an enormous amount of discipline is needed to get yourself back on task. Thus, every interruption not only takes time, but also discipline … and some people just aren’t that disciplined. So, a smart manager will need to devote much of their energy to improving the environment and people’s habits in order to minimize interruptions and distractions.


Therefore, one of the main tasks of every boss is to create an environment where people can work in peace and perform; even interruptions from superiors should be structured and planned in advance. As a manager, it would be silly to go to all this trouble to reduce interruptions and then you become the “major” interrupter.


Here is one suggestion to help reduce interruptions. Pre-scheduled “no interruptions” time – One of the best ways to handle interruptions and skyrocket your personal productivity or the productivity of your team is to have pre-scheduled, no interruptions time at the office. One company makes that time from 9:00 – 11:00 am. They realize people are more productive in the morning and want to take full advantage of that fact; being out-of-pocket for 2 hours isn’t that big of a deal. Only in the case of an emergency will they be interrupted.


As a reminder to their co-workers and boss, they put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on their door, turn off their phone and disconnect from the internet. They can call back and reply to everyone when they are finished. Two hours each day at the same time is easy to implement.


Another one that is very effective “Interrupter Reducer” is to make “Reply All” to an email an exception. Everyone needs to determine who needs to be in the loop, because you could be taking valuable time out of their day by forcing them to read an email they don’t need to read.


Take some time out of your busy schedule and think of ways you can eliminate unnecessary interruptions. It will be well worth your time. Losing over 1 day per week to interruptions adds up to almost 2 months of lost productivity per year, per employee. That is something any company can do without.


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