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Getting through the working day is hard enough without being constantly interrupted by phone calls, emails, pointless chit-chat, meaningless meetings and other distractions. Check out these 18 ways to minimise and manage interruptions and get more done.

1. Led by example and don’t interrupt others.
Always ask “Is now a good time to talk?”

2. If you work in an open plan office, work out a way you can ‘hide’.
Organise a wall, a screen or a door that can create a physical barrier when you need it.

3. Allocate time out of the office (at home, at the park, at a café), so you can work on things without interruptions.
It’s amazing how much you can get through when nobody knows where to find you!

4. Use Flexi-Time.
Come to work an hour before everyone else starts and leave an hour earlier.

5. Make sure your desk is not in a high traffic area eg. Beside the photocopier!
If it is – make sure you face your desk away from the traffic.

6. If you work in a shared office, wear ear plugs or headphones.
Not only does it block out unwanted noise, it stops you being tempted into other people’s conversations.

7. Have shared breaks.
That way people have the opportunity to chat away from their desk.

8. Use voice mail and set aside time to return calls.
A ringing phone is a request, not a command.

9. Time your phone calls and consciously wind-up the conversation.
If you don’t time it, it’s easy to waste time with waffle.

10. Stand up when talking on the phone.
It helps to keep conversations brief.

11. Set aside uninterrupted time every day.
Use signs or funny hats to let people know you are ‘in-the-zone’.

12. Schedule meetings for your ‘slump’ time.
That way they don’t cut into your most productive sessions. (For me it’s 2pm)

13. Know the purpose of the meeting ahead of time.
That way you can be prepared and get to the point.

14. Let people know what time you need the meeting to end.
Top Tip: Make meetings 45 minutes instead of an hour

15. Turn off email alerts.
Just check your emails once in the morning, and once near the end of the day.

16. Set-Up an Email Auto-response that says “I only reply to emails once a day, please phone me if it’s urgent.”
That way you won’t be tempted to check your emails ‘just in case’.

17. Don’t have Facebook running in the background.
Nothing that happens on Facebook is that important.

18. Plan for interruptions and over allocate time for scheduled tasks.
No matter how hard you try, you will be interrupted. Planning for it makes it easier to manage.

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