Interruptions destroy your efficiency and, ultimately, your bottom line. Diana Thomas, owner of Promotions Plus, a promotional products company in Austin, Texas, discovered some useful strategies for curbing interruptions when her four sons were young:
To get uninterrupted time on the phone, Thomas purchased a kitchen timer. When she picked up the phone, she set the timer for the period she expected to talk (adding a few minutes' cushioning). If a child started to interrupt, she pointed to the timer. The child was reassured that soon she'd be off the phone.
Whenever Thomas closed her office door, one of the boys inevitably started knocking. To solve the problem, she gave each child $10 at the beginning of the month. Whenever one interrupted her, she took away $1. It didn't take long for her children to catch on.
If adults interrupt, you need to be more aggressive. Denise Campbell, an independent Avon representative in North Providence, Rhode Island, found it difficult to avoid being rude to relatives or friends who dropped by or called while she was working.
"I began giving them a few minutes of my time, then announcing I was busy and needed to return to my work," says Campbell. "The message got through; I no longer get many interruptions during working hours."
Denise Campbell, c/o Avon by Denise, (800) 286-6515, AVONRI@aol.com
Promotions Plus, fax: (512) 269-4951, Thomas109@aol.com
Kimberly Stansell, c/o Research Done Write!, 6308 W. 89th St., #306-BS, Los Angeles, CA 90045, (310) 568-8589