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Did someone say “interruptions”?

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early bird speaker

early bird speaker

Recently, I had the true pleasure of presenting one of my signature talks, “4 Ways to Produce More While Staying Sane” to a fine group of Human Resource Professionals at the Granite State HR conference in Manchester, New Hampshire.


Here’s a INTERRUPTION STOPPER snippet from a workshop I gave to the VT Recreation and Parks Department, click here.


One issue that everyone related to – loud and clear- was the apparent disconnect between “saying no” (i.e. not being interrupted) and providing excellent customer service.


When most people “want something”, they want it immediately. Few have the self-discipline to add it to a list or to a schedule, and then wait for the right time. Now, if a person has sliced his finger and blood is gushing uncontrollably, immediate action is the only choice.  Most questions are not blood gushing, hospital-rushing ER questions, but, they are treated this way.


The late Steve Covey called this living in Quadrant One, “Firefighting.” Our instant-messaging, texting, constant-scroll email culture has exacerbated this issue many-fold. This immediacy becomes our normal, and we no longer have the ability to discern immediate needs from everything else.


What’s the issue? Well, there is no issue if you are an ER technician or a firefighter. That’s your job! If, however, you are a MANAGER then this can pull you off track again and again until you find yourself (metaphorically) in Kansas, asking, ”how did this happen?” The answer is…inch by inch.


The good news is that you can take back your work life. This workshop is jam packed with tips and strategies, but here are some to get you started:

  1. Work on one thing at a time.
  2. Establish a daily default priority.
  3. Ask your interrupter, “can I get a headline?”


These all sound so simple. Ask yourself, are you doing all three? If not, why not? Well, because it’s Not Easy! Here’s a little more about each tip:

  1. One thing at a time: The power of focus is not to be underestimated. At this workshop, we did an exercise proving that working on more than one thing at a time reduced participants’ productivity by OVER HALF. Would you like to double your productivity? Try doing one thing at a time. I dare you.
  2. Daily Default Priority: I know you will do more than one thing in a day. You’ll do a lot more. But how often have you had “that project” that you’ve managed to…skirt around again and again? Keep it simple, keep it clear, write it down, do this exercise every morning and every night. Commit to doing that one thing. And you know what? It WILL get done!
  3. “Can I get a headline?”: This is a great response to all those people who ask the dreaded question….”Got a minute?” That minute turns into an hour- or more -when you then need to do the follow-up, right? And what happened to the project on which you were working? When you ask this question, it causes the interrupter to think before throwing information or questions at you. One s/he summarizes, you can then decide, do I ask him or her to return later, or, is this issue more pressing than my current work? There is POWER IN THE PAUSE.


The three tips will get you started back down the path to productivity, taking back control of your workday. Contact me today if you’d like to learn more about how she can infuse motivation, participation, and productivity back into YOU and/or YOUR TEAM. I’d be honored to help boost you to levels you never dreamed possible.


With warm regards,


Your Productivity Coach