If you’re interested in making your best even better, improving your productivity is a great place to start. One way to do so is limiting the daily distractions and all-too-frequent interruptions that threaten your work flow.
When we stop for a quick moment to address someone else’s issue or attend to a fire we didn’t ignite, we ultimately add hours to our day. So how do you meet the needs of those who rely on you while still protecting your productivity?
I was working with a client with a team of 15 people. He faced multiple interruptions by his competent and fully capable team every hour of his workday. In fact, he kept record one week and realized that one particular team member interrupted him 27 times over a two-day period. Those multiple interruptions were pulling his focus.
It was then that my client realized things had to change. He instituted a new policy. He decided to introduce “office hours.” Do you remember in college when your professors made themselves available at certain times for any questions or coaching that their students might need? This was his inspiration.
Twice daily, at 10am and 3pm, he made himself fully available for questions. He scheduled his day around this important time and created a welcoming environment for his staff.
During the day, each staff member was to compile his or her questions on one 3×5 card. Then twice daily the team would gather and discuss the issues. Not only were questions answered, it became a team-building experience. Often team members found they shared similar questions and my client only had to answer once.
But there was something else he discovered. The new procedure made his staff more independent. Rather than wait two hours for the answer, they began to seek the answers for themselves.
In one month, the office hours policy had his team working more efficiently and he had virtually eliminated interruptions to his workflow.
How often is your workflow interrupted each day?
Could you improve your team’s efficiency by instituting office hours?
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