Addressing Interruptions

By, 07/24/2013

Interruptions are everywhere at work—meetings, emails, phone calls, you name it. How exactly you handle these interruptions could mean a less stressful work day.

It’s easy to let phone calls go to voicemail and unread emails stack up in your inbox. This can be helpful for short periods of time when you really need to concentrate on a project, but don’t let that happen for too long. If possible, check emails as they come in and assess whether the matter is urgent or if it can wait until later. This is also helpful so important messages don’t fall through the cracks as more and more emails arrive. Write a follow up list so you can be sure to address them later. If answering phone calls, ask if you can follow up with the caller later if the request isn’t time sensitive and add it to your list. This way you can continue with the task at hand, but you’re still aware of the rest of your workload so you can adjust your schedule accordingly.

The key when following up, to further diminish stress, is setting proper expectations with those around you. If you can’t complete the task right away, provide a timeframe for when you can so you’re both on the same page and there’s no miscommunication.