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5 Ways to Plan for Interruptions

We all recognize that even the best laid plans can be interrupted. You can receive an unexpected call, your client may arrive late, you might get stuck in traffic, etc. Interruptions are natural and are often outside of your control. What matters most is how you handle them. It’s nearly impossible to not get interrupted at some point during your workday. When living the empire lifestyle, its imperative to know when and how to pivot in order to be productive. I’ve learned a few strategies that have helped me to plan for interruptions and regain focus when these disturbances happen.

  • Give Yourself Plenty of Time – When scheduling meetings on your calendar, include time for travel. Use apps such as Google Maps to calculate how long it will take you to get from point A to point B. Leverage the same logic if you work for a large company. Sometimes it may take you 10 minutes to get from floor 5 to floor 87 depending on your company. If you are traveling for meetings, schedule gaps in between meetings to account for traffic, public service delays or one of your meetings running over time.
  • Turn Off Notifications – Social media and email notifications are distracting! They cause you to think something that truly is low priority is an emergency. Turn off your notifications on your iPhone or use an app that will prevent you from accessing social media during certain time frames. Allot yourself certain times during the day where you will check email so that reading and replying are a part of your schedule.

Related: Digital Detoxing: Unrealistic or Necessary?

  • Prioritize Interruptions – As mentioned, interruptions are natural and will happen. When you’re interrupted, determine if the item has to be addressed at the moment or if it can wait. If it is indeed something that needs to be handled straightaway, review your schedule and identify where you can incorporate that item. If it doesn’t, put it on your list of things to consider for tomorrow.
  • Don’t Take Unplanned Calls – Unless it’s an emergency of course. This is a great tip that I’ve leveraged and was reinforced by Myleik Teele on the MyTaughtYou podcast. Unplanned calls are the biggest distractions because what you thought would be a 5 minute chat turns into 90 minutes of time lost. Catching up with family and friends is important and should be a priority but allot yourself the proper time for it. There’s less than 5 people in this world that I will answer the phone for at any given time in the day. For everyone else, if it’s important, they will leave a message or send a text/email.
  • Pick 3 Items – Of the 100 things on your to-do list, pick three that must get done today, no matter what. These items will be your success measures. When you have a never ending to-do list, it can feel like you haven’t accomplished anything. Tell yourself that if you accomplish at minimum those three items, today will be a success. Your morale and energy are important to your ability to prioritize and be effective.

What other tips have you leveraged to be productive and plan for interruptions? Tell us below in the comments!

Kyshira Moffett, MBA is a millennial career and personal brand consultant. She is also the creator of thisisHERmovement.com, a careers, branding and lifestyle blog. She hosts a monthly Twitter chat, #HERmovement which features special guest experts on a variety of topics. Learn more by following her on Twitter, @Kyshira.

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