This one comes from discussions that I have had with direct reports on many occasions. The phone rings, the emails keep coming, people nearby talk to each other or to you and much of this is part and parcel of your actual job. But while all of this activity can fill your work day, day after day it can also keep you from getting to the meat of your job.
Being a knowledge worker implies by the very label that you think, sometimes think deeply to accomplish projects and tasks. How can we think with all of this activity, however? These tasks that take up so very much of our day are quick and endless and interruptible. But they don’t necessarily require much thought – a far cry from acting thoughtlessly, though. Responses can be chosen like multiple choice test answers, or cafeteria style – a little of this, a pinch of that and a dollop of the thing over here and you move on.
Some tasks must be put together from scratch, carefully gathering the proper bits and pieces from experiences, from historical data, from others in your company or outside of the company. They require careful consideration and perhaps a delicate touch to complete effectively. Interruptions force you to spend precious minutes carefully picking up where you left off and then getting your forward momentum slowly going again. Read this article to see evidence that we knowledge workers already knew – that a Brain Interrupted is not the most effective or efficient brain.
What is a worker to do? Talk to your supervisor when you have one or more of these tasks and develop an acceptable plan to unhook from the distractions and successful navigate these uninterruptible tasks.
© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations