Most people spend a good part of their day responding to ad hoc requests, drop-ins, questions, and emergencies. During the short periods when they aren’t being interrupted, they find it hard to get back to their big projects, knowing that they’d soon be interrupted again.
Here’s a tried-and-tested tactic to prevent interruptions from invading your day.
- Plan your day the night before (or first thing in the morning)—even if it’s merely preparing a list of what you want to accomplish that day. A plan will give you a definite starting place.
- Once you’re done preparing that to-do list, don’t allow yourself to add any more to the same day’s task list. If someone asks you for something, say, “Okay, I’ve got it on my calendar for tomorrow!”
Make disruptions the exception rather than the norm. If your job allows it, don’t add on work for the same day. In many professions, there aren’t a lot of “emergencies” that really threaten a life or a business if not addressed within an hour or two.
Idea for Impact: Unscheduled tasks can add up to a dreadful drag on your productivity. Stick to a plan and stay focused. You’ll manage your day better and protect the most important, deep thinking work that’ll drive your goals forward.