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Manage Interruptions

Related:   Dealing with Stress   Emotional Explosions    > Manage Interruptions <   Manage your own stress   Stress within Organisations  
Manage Interruptions

Manage Interruptions

Another source of personal stress at work for many managers are 'constant interruptions', from the telephone, e-mail, or drop-by colleagues.

New technology. In terms of voice mail, e-mail, mobile phones, and the like, it is important to manage the technology rather than let the technology manage you.

Drop-by colleagues. Although being interrupted can provide a welcome diversionary break from a boring or tedious task, too many interruptions during the course of the day are a waste of time, distracting, and frequently irritating.

Interruptions occur for a number of reasons. The person involved may:

  • want to exchange information;
  • need reassurance or clarification;
  • lack confidence about a task;
  • want a casual chat because they need a break or are bored

It is important to differentiate these reasons. If a colleague needs your input to do their job properly, you may need to spend some of your time with them. If not, there are a range of friendly but firm ways of curtailing or avoiding unnecessary interruptions from colleagues.

Here are some suggestions to help you fend off unwanted visitors:

Accept the changing nature of work

One of the major sources of stress for managers today is the fact that jobs are no longer for life-job security is a thing of the past. Organisations expect employees to be more flexible, more accountable, and to be hardworking and committed; at the same time, employers offer increasingly limited (or no) assurances or expectations of employment security and career development opportunities.
For significant numbers of future workers, the job is likely to become a freelance activity in the form of a series of temporarily or discretely defined tasks or projects undertaken either successively or concurrently for single or multiple employers.
For people currently working in 'delayered' organisational structures, coping with changed career expectations requires considerable personal adjustment: you need to accept that the onus for career management and training now rests with yourself rather than with the organisation. This requires a greater degree of initiative, personal planning, and control.
Although the prospect of pursuing a self-determined career outside the structure of an established organisation might seem daunting, research evidence based on the experience of mid-life career changers suggests that increased job and life satisfaction is frequently gained from a move to freelancing and self-employment.

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