How many times do you get interrupted in a day?
Each time we get interrupted we lose anything between 2 to 10 minutes of time getting back to where we were?
I can hear you saying but Sam, I need to be accessible to my team. I agree with you and that is why I recommend the following first step:
Set up the 15-minute rule in your office – your team can come to you with questions and queries on the hour for up to 15 minutes, this way you stop unnecessary interruptions and it also forces people to start to think for themselves – please note you may need to make some exceptions, however the more exceptions you make to the rule the less effective it will be.
Brief your team and give this a go, I know every one of my clients who has done this have been amazed at how much more they can get done in a day.
The next step is to increase the time between interruptions or even allocate set times in the day when your team can come to you.
“Sam, can you help my husband come home at a reasonable hour?”
That question was my mandate. The first thing I had to establish was if he wanted to come home. Not funny I know; however, it is almost impossible to get someone to do something unless they want to.
The good news for all of us was he wanted to spend more time at home. His challenge was that he felt the only way he could get work done was when he was at the office alone because of the constant interruptions during the day.
All the staff knew that he got in early and left late but they didn’t realise just how early, often before 4 am and leaving well after 8 pm. When we shared with them that this was the case they were shocked and realised why we needed to implement the 15 Minute Rule.
This one strategy alone enabled him to go from 90 hours a week to 50 hours in the first two weeks (yes, he came in on weekends too).
Four weeks later he hit his target of being home every day by 5:30 pm and not working on weekends other than the 30 minutes each Sunday evening to plan his week.