Interruptions when you’re trying to work?

Tell me if this sounds familiar…

You’ve scheduled some time to get deep work done, and one of your colleagues who’s training (or one of your kids) keeps interrupting you with questions on how to complete the tasks they’re responsible for.

I recently had a coaching client who was having this exact issue.

Her department just hired a new employee with decades of experience. He is one of the most qualified people in the office, however he’s new to this specific industry. He’s smart and wants to learn everything he can so that he can excel in his new role.

That being said, my client was getting bombarded with questions that kept interrupting her workflow and she was struggling to complete even basic tasks.

We came up with three possible solutions that would allow her to focus on deep work while still answering all the new-hire’s questions.

Experiment #1: Hold Your Questions

When we gave mission briefs in the Army, one of the points we made at the beginning was, “Please hold all your questions until the end.”

This had a twofold purpose.

1) It allowed us to deliver the brief without interruption so that each soldier could understand the entire mission and their part in it.

2) Most of the time, questions that soldiers had near the beginning of the brief were answered later in the brief.

This one sentence alone kept operations running smoothly and still allowed soldiers to get their questions answered.

My client is testing this as she trains her new-hire.

Experiment #2: Regular Check-Ins

Instead of having her new-hire interrupt her workflow, what would happen if she had a regular check-in every two hours?

Throughout the two hour period between check-ins, the new-hire would collect all his questions and bring them to her at once.

In the productivity world this is known as batching.

Instead of switching context constantly, she could answer questions a few times a day when there was dedicated time.

Experiment #3: Review Past Work

What if instead of having the new-hire work through the to-do list, she had him review the completed work from the past two weeks and collect his questions.

He’d see an example of what completed work done correctly looks like.

He’d be able to gather all his questions about processes and documentation.

He’d be able to self-serve and answer his own questions by considering his list of questions in regard to the other work he’s reviewing.

Goal: More Time For Focused Work

By developing three different experiments for this situation, my client will be able to see which one (or combination) actually works to reduce interruptions and increase her ability to do deep work and get her work completed.

If you’re struggling with interruptions or productivity at work, I’d love to offer you a free complimentary coaching call.

Click Here To Book A Time That Works For You

Here’s to a productive week!

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About the Author

Robby helps busy business owners simplify and automate their productivity systems so they have more time to focus on what they're best at. He helps you design and implement plans and systems so you can work ON your business, not IN your business. Companies such as Productive Magazine, Nozbe, Matt McWilliams, and Notable Themes have trusted Robby to share his productivity systems, increase sales, and create a better customer experience.