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Let me finish: how to stop interrupting… and change the world

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/oct/24/let-me-finish-how-to-stop-interrupting-and-change-the-world

theguardian.com

Let me finish: how to stop interrupting… and change the world
We are all guilty of interrupting – but if we just stopped and listened, argues Nancy Kline, we could radically change the way we live…

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Let Me Interrupt You

Let Me Interrupt You

Research shows that even the best listeners of the world, professional listeners like teachers, therapists, counsellors, coaches, listen only for about 11 seconds at a time.

Humans expect and even crave for people who will not interrupt them, and listen to them attentively when they speak, no matter how long they speak. Humans long for undivided attention from the other person, but it is hard to find anyone who will not interrupt a person speaking, or will be a gentle, active and patient listener.

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Interruption Diminishes Us

Interruption Diminishes Us

Interruption is a destructive and violent act, and no matter what value the interrupter thinks that may be added by the very act of hedging one’s words in between, the speaker who is interrupted will never heal from the diminishing of his or her thoughts.

Constant interruption creates polarization among individuals and even inside us, and not interrupting may be the very glue that can keep society together.

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Enter Smartphones

Interrupting humans were already doing a great job, but now the act is multifold, with the digital devices turning people into loud zombies who sometimes are impossible to talk to.

As if to add salt to a wound, we have, for the past decade or so, the ultimate distraction and interruption device in our pockets, keeping us soaked in junk info, and making our minds relentlessly numb.

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Stop The Interruption Cycle

The root cause of Polarization is interruption, and this has to be cut down by a full determination to understand each other and promise to:

  1. Stop Interrupting others.
  2. Pay full attention to the other person.
  3. Stay interested in where the discussion will go next.
  4. Don’t make an excuse for interrupting, like providing clarity or correction.
  5. Don’t be a smart-Alec.

If we are able to follow this, we can change the world.

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Let it Go

Interruptions can be frustrating. But, the point here is that not all of them are worthy of addressing.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do when faced with an interruption is nothing at all,...

Set Expectations From The Beginning

Whether you’re speaking up in a team meeting or you’re conducting a presentation, it’s important to be clear that you'll need to get all of your ideas out there before opening the floor to questions and contributions. 

This sets the tone right from the get-go that you’re aiming to share your ideas free of interruptions. This also makes it easy to halt an interrupter in his tracks.

Keep Going

Sometimes you can only fight fire with fire.

Refuse to pause for interruptions, and instead continue moving forward with your ideas. If needed, you can even pause for a second to address the interrupter and say, “one moment,” and then finish off your thought.

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Planning for the unexpected 

Many of us have very well laid-out to-do lists any daily plans. However, they do not reflect the reality of our everyday working life.

We will always be interrupted. If our mindset is to acc...

The specifics of your job

We let our planning focus on the tasks associated with the job. But we don't take into account all the aspects of our job.

Interacting with people can be part of the broader scope of your job. It means that interruptions are not actually non-productive aspects. They are actions that should get folded into the plan for each day.

Blocks of time

Some interruptions cannot be avoided. But, we can talk to people in advance about the best times to pop in. We can also schedule a time when we will not be available and would prefer not to be disturbed.

The new law of productivity

High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus)

Deep work vs. Shallow work

  • Deep work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. Creates value.
  • Shallow work: Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. Doesn't create value.

4 philosophies to integrate Deep Work into your life

  • Monastic: maximize Deep Work by minimizing or removing shallow obligations. Isolate yourself for long periods of time without distractions; no shallow work allowed
  • Bimodal: divide your time into some clearly defined stretches to deep pursuits and leave the rest open to everything else. Reserve a few consecutive days when you will be working like a monastic. You need at least one day a week
  • Rhythmic: involves creating a routine where you define a specific time period — ideally three to four hours every day — that you can devote to Deep Work
  • Journalistic: alternate your day between deep and shallow work as it fits your blocks of time. Not recommended to try out first.