Last year I conducted a workshop on Time Management for Busy Professionals. I had a checklist of 12 Reasons Why Time Management Is A Challenge that I asked the participants to prioritise with 1 being the least challenging and 10 being the most. I thought they would mark as 10 things like “I can’t say No”, or “I find it difficult to prioritise because everything is important”, or “I have too many meeting and I can’t get anything done”. But, no, it wasn’t any of those. What was marked No.10, overwhelmingly, was: “I have too many interruptions at work”.
As we discussed this, what came through was that not only did they not have any strategies for managing this, but interruptions triggered a whole lot of emotions in them that used up a lot of their energy. They feared to say anything to their colleagues who interrupted them. Alternatively they felt guilty when they were abrupt and annoyed with their colleagues. They felt they had to take their client’s phone calls and curb their frustration and be polite. They felt they had to answer emails when their computer “pinged”. In all, interruptions at work created great frustration.
This is why this article by Doug Conant is so important and helpful – Why Leaders Should Embrace Interruptions.
Doug is a highly regarded CEO globally, more recently known as the CEO that turned the Campbell Soup Company around, after which he resigned and set up his own leadership development company, Conant Leadership.
He consistently produces excellent inspiring reading and he is one of my preferred thought leaders.
He believes the dozens, and dozens of interruptions at work every day can be used to expand our influence and to build meaningful relationships with our colleagues and clients and that they can be used as learning experiences.
If after you have read this article, you want to know more about how he has done this, read his book – TouchPoints – Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments.