Throughout the workday it is inevitable that things will come up that need to be handled right away. This is especially true in any leadership role. In fact, as a leader you will likely experience a greater number of interruptions throughout your day — whether it be client concerns or complaints, team member questions, logistical and operations issues, and more.
These consistent interruptions will cause you to be pulled in various directions at any given time. With each interruption, your mind is forced to shift quickly. This constant shift actually leads to a decrease in your productivity, as you are not able to focus on one thing long enough to actually get in the zone to accomplish it.
In no way, shape, or form are we saying that you should avoid these interruptions that arise. In fact, it is slightly impossible to do this. However, amidst these interruptions, we do have a suggestion that you can implement right away in order to maintain high levels of daily productivity.
Time block 1-2 hours per day within your calendar, or whatever amount of time is necessary. This block is designated for YOU and is strictly reserved for your projects, tasks, phone calls, etc. Maybe you prefer early mornings before the team arrives to the office, or maybe you choose to block some time around lunch. Whatever time of day you choose is up to you! Blocking out this time in your calendar will allow you to focus all of your attention on the task at hand without interruptions. In fact, take this one step further and share this time block with your entire team, or put a note on your office door during the time letting them know you are unavailable or ‘in the zone’. Your team will know that this 1-2 hours is off limits for them to come to you with any interruptions.
I borrowed this week’s tip from my partner, Brett, and I think you might want to put it to use! Years ago Brett placed a “box” on his office door, and within this box was a form that stated “My problem is ________. My 3 solutions to this problem are _________”. Brett required his team members to complete this form before banging on his office door and asking for assistance. His team members would reluctantly complete the form…and guess what happened?! Sure enough, Brett’s time was no longer needed. The person that had the challenge/obstacle/question would usually propose a solution or two of their own. They’d then seek the assistance of their peers to come up with one or two more solutions in an effort to complete the form. Not surprisingly, the answer to their challenge was discovered, and oftentimes this solution was better than what Brett may have even proposed.