How to Interrupt Someone’s Workday — Without Annoying Them - Deepstash

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How to Interrupt Someone’s Workday — Without Annoying Them

How to Interrupt Someone’s Workday — Without Annoying Them


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Key Takeaways

Interruptions are a fact of life — but do they have to be unpleasant? A recent study found that 31% of workplace interruptions are actually experienced positively, and offers six strategies to help anyone become a better (that is, less annoying) interrupter: Assess how critical the task is, don’t...

The Ideal Interrupter

Especially as many organizations shift to long-term hybrid models, it’s more important than ever to think proactively about how we communicate with one another at work. In this complex new landscape, it’s up to all of us to pay close attention to evolving norms about what it means to be a “good” ...

How we experience an interruption can vary substantially depending on how it affects our work. While switching gears and shuffling our schedules around to accommodate an unexpected task can be frustrating, interruptions can feel positive if they seem like a good use of our time. 

Here are s...

Assess How Critical The Task Is

People are more likely to see an interruption as worth their time if the task they’re being asked to do seems important — especially if it seems more important than whatever they were working on previously. So, before interrupting someone, consider whether what you want them to do is lik...

 Don’t Pile On

People tend to react negatively to an interruption if it pops up at a time when they were already feeling overloaded. To avoid piling on, ask yourself what you know about the person’s current workload. If you know they are slammed, consider interrupting someone else instead (if the task is urgent...

Interrupt The Right Person

It’s always annoying when you’re interrupted by someone, only to discover that you’re not even the right person for the job.

So before you knock on someone’s door, ask yourself: Is this the right person to take on this new task? Whose role makes them the best fit for the task you n...

Interruptions are experienced more positively if they occur at what feels like the “right” time. That typically means waiting for a moment when the person you want to interrupt isn’t deeply engrossed in another task, or when they need a break from their regular work anyway. To determine whether i...

Decrease The Time Burden

People’s perceptions about how long an interruption seemed to last influenced how they felt about it. When interruptions seemed to drag on or take longer than they “should have,” they were more likely to cause negative feelings.

To address this, think creatively about how you can lighten t...

Interruptions, by definition, will always be somewhat unexpected. But they don’t have to come entirely out of the blue — in some cases, you can let someone know that you expect to have to interrupt them in the near future. For instance, if you plan to ask a coworker for feedback on a website desi...

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