A manager must regularly deal with management risks: emergencies, unforeseen events and various interruptions. How not to fall behind in your work and respect your timing? Why and how to manage these cuts?
Time management is a relatively difficult art when you are in an executive position. Indeed, various and varied interruptions can regularly punctuate a manager’s day, sabotage his organization or even his objectives and career if he does not know how to manage them effectively.
Unwanted phone calls, emails more urgent than each other, notifications, colleagues too noisy, employees needing key information or just any information, etc.. When you think about it, there are many elements that hinder our concentration and disrupt our work day.
To remain effective, it is therefore essential to know how to manage all these intermittences, which can greatly slow us down and damage our work.
Why know how to manage disturbances?
Being able to deal with these interruptions that mark our working days is interesting on different levels. This allows, among other things, to:
Keep control of your time: as time is not extensible, it is important to be able to organize and plan your work according to deadlines, priorities, etc. Interruptions are small grains of sand that can totally sabotage this beautiful organization for those who do not know how to manage them.
Carry out its missions successfully: interruptions generate small adjournments which, when put together, can constitute a significant delay in the performance of its work, or even sabotage it. Knowing how to manage these intermittences is a guarantee of success in its missions.
Achieve the objectives set: constant interruptions have a negative impact on the quality and quantity of work provided.
Improve efficiency: multitasking has its limits in terms of efficiency.
Optimize concentration: It is difficult to maintain maximum attention and concentration when you are constantly disturbed. Moreover, breaking off his reflection requires an additional effort when it comes to going back to his work and taking up the thread of his reflection. A significant waste of time and energy that it is important to know how to stop.
Maintain a register
The first step is simply to scrupulously record all interruptions in your work day over a period of a few days. Keep a logbook in which you will record the following information:
Date and time of the interruption.
Person: identity and function.
Reason for interruption: briefly describe the reasons for the interruption.
Admissibility or not: was the interruption justified?
Degree of urgency: was the reason for the disturbance really urgent or could it have been delayed?
Once you have filled in your register for a few days – a week is a good time for analysis, you will be able to examine all this information more closely.
Interruptions that you have identified as unjustified unnecessarily interfere with your effectiveness. You need to find an effective way to avoid them in the future.
With regard to legitimate disturbances, it is important to analyse whether they could have been anticipated and if so, in what way (see below).
Unjustified interruptions will have to be eradicated by an effective strategy in order to obtain results quickly: politely and effectively refuse impromptu requests, define periods when you cannot be disturbed under any pretext, etc.
Because some interruptions are not only justified, but also urgent. It is essential for you to manage them when they occur. For this reason, it is interesting to set aside time in your daily schedule for these emergencies without disrupting the rest of your tasks. By consulting your registry, you will have a relatively accurate idea of the time spent managing these legitimate and urgent interruptions.
In addition, your registry also allows you to have a clear view of all other non-urgent, but legitimate reasons for disturbance. You need to put in place a method to ensure that these interruptions no longer disrupt your work, but are nevertheless dealt with (regular exchange meetings, regular meetings for various non-emergency issues, setting up a daily or weekly time slot during which you are fully available and can be disturbed, etc.).
Tracks and tips to manage the different types of interruptions
Take care of your organization
Good organization at work requires good discipline and a few simple tips:
Turn off your various notifications when you should not be disturbed for any reason: emails, smartphone ringtones, call forwarding, etc.
Plan regular meetings with your usual contacts. This will allow them to list the elements they wish to communicate to you as they go along and to share them with you during these meetings.
Schedule availability times: book time slots during which you are fully available and open for exchange. Pass the information on to your employees. They need to know very clearly when they can disturb you and when they cannot. This will avoid unjustified interruptions while promoting exchanges. However, do not abuse the “do not distrurb” principle, because it is your role as a manager to listen to your employees. As always, it’s all about balance!
Knowing how to say no
Knowing how to refuse with conviction and without aggressiveness is essential to avoid untimely interruptions. By being firm, but constructive, you strengthen your leadership position and promote autonomy and initiative.
In addition, you strengthen your self-confidence and assertiveness. This will allow you to be more productive and efficient in your management tasks.
Noisy collaborators, personalities difficult to manage, rebels… some individuals may be more difficult to manage than others. However, you must learn how to do it. For your own good, but also for the good of your entire team. Each character gives a particular way of doing things. It is your duty as a manager to adapt your management according to your interlocutor and the situation.
One trick to reducing interruption time wisely is to warn your interlocutor at the outset that you only have a few minutes to devote to him or her. Do not invite him to sit down and ask him to get to the point. If the issue cannot be addressed immediately, plan a time together to discuss it more broadly and effectively.
Dealing with the unexpected
An interruption may require you to stop immediately what you were doing and act quickly.
Take a deep breath and manage your emotions effectively to limit stress and act as effectively and objectively as possible. Know how to make the right decisions by using tools such as the decision tree or the decision matrix.