Dealing With Interruptions That Throw Your Planned Day Off Track

Mar 3, 2010
4 Min Read

You've followed all the "rules" about planning your day and work hard to keep it on track. But no matter what you do, it seems like every day turns out the same -- you're there for ten hours, gobble down lunch at your desk and complete five (or none!) of the twenty items on your to do list. It can be depressing. In the long term it will wear on you and and make you less effective overall.

A team leader's job is a tough one.

Not only do you have to get your work done, you have to ensure that your team is on track to achieve its goals. Between task and team member interruptions -- not to mention those unexpected calls from the boss -- your work day can be a very hectic one.

Before you go any further, take some time to assess what's going right and what's going wrong with your day. You can't fix what you don't know, so the best thing to do is find out. Here's how:

  • Track your time for one week. At the end of each day, analyze what happened that day. See if patterns exist around certain times of the day, people or tasks. Make a note of what you discovered.
  • Analyze and compare your notes. What does it tell you? Are there special times of the day you are particularly busy? Certain people that require more of your time than others? Tasks that always take longer than the time you allocated?
  • Adjust your schedule. Set up your day to allow extra unplanned time during the periods you found that were very busy. Allocate more time for the people and tasks that require it.

"Before you go any further, take some time to assess what's going right and what's going wrong with your day."

The key is to modify your schedule according to what's happening in your day so you can be more productive. Pay close attention to the things that are derailing your schedule and adjust accordingly. It will help your work life be a whole lot more satisfying and less stressful.

What do you think? How do you manage things that derail your day?

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