When you work in a busy office, it can seem like a minefield of distractions. The phone’s ringing, you have a pile of work to do, and each passerby may want to stop and chat. Whether your coworker has a business question or just wants to share a funny story, it may not be the best time for you.
For my third and final installment of time management strategies, I’m covering three ways you can minimize interruptions to make the most out of your day:
- Don a pair of headphones. As a Client Services Associate, I have to be ready for any questions from clients, sales associates, or any of our virtual receptionists at a moment’s notice. While I simply can’t say no to anyone who asks, “Do you have a minute?” wearing headphones is a sign that you’re focusing, and it’s not a good time. For me, even music without lyrics is distracting, so I use nature sounds from SoundSleeping.com. Recently I’ve had a soft flute, a crackling fire, and the faint chirp of crickets at my desk.
- Do you have a minute? I might not be in a position to say no to this question, but I can ask, “How about in half an hour?” or, “Can I stop by your desk in fifteen minutes?” Giving a time frame does two things: it’s nicer (who’s just going to say “No” and stare at the enquirer blankly?), and it puts that person on your schedule for the day. Now you you can plan to be interrupted.
- You can’t make more hours in the day, but you can manage your stress levels. Try this: take four yoga breaths. It’s proven to reduce the stress hormone Cortisol instantly. Sit up straight and put your hand on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose slowly, puffing out your stomach like a balloon. Push out your hand with your stomach as far as it will go. Then breathe out through your mouth (again, slowly), and enjoy the relief. It will take you under a minute, but the benefits last much longer, even extending your life expectancy!
These techniques help me make our receptionist service unlike any other answering service. We’re all busy, but for us at Ruby, the most important thing is making sure all of our virtual receptionists are supported by organized, helpful people so that they can answer phones happily and stress-free!
Do you have a great tip that I’ve missed? Please post what works for you (or what doesn’t) in the comment section below!