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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 pile on, identify the best person to interrupt, pay attention to busyness cues, decrease the time burden on the person, and if possible, give advance warning.
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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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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” ...
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...
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...
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