So many people I worked with said they got more work done at home than in the office. That was because there were so many interruptions in the office. In fact lots of people come in early or stay late just to have quiet time to work. One way to have that same quiet time during the day is to manage interruptions. Look for ways to create a "Power hour" of work time. Maybe this will allow you to get home earlier!
1. Email - shut off the audible alarm for email in your computer. Plan to check email two or three times a day. Allot time in your schedule for answering important email. Use a good spam filter and delete unnecessary email.
2. Telephone - Use voice mail message to let people know you will return their call at a particular time during the day. Let people who answer the phone for you know that you can not be interrupted. Give them specific instructions about what constitutes and emergency.
3. Staff - Help the staff to understand the reason you cannot be interrupted. Give them a time at which they can get their questions and issues answered. Use a "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door or some other signal so that staff understands you are not to be interrupted.
4. Colleagues - Use "Do Not Disturb" sign on door. Explain to colleagues that you are unreachable between certain hours. Be clear when they can talk with you. Set firm boundaries when people come in to "chat" with no clear business purpose.
5. Boss - This one is tricky. If you are working on a particular client matter, tell the manager about your deadline and the implications if you don't get the work done. If your deadline comes from the boss make a trade off of a later deadline to accommodate the interruption.
6. Internet - Be careful about being drawn in by the Internet. Doing some research on the net can lead to distractions like shopping or looking at interesting sites that are unrelated to your current project. The Internet can be a huge interruption while at the same time a necessity.
7. Other project - Sometimes when you are working on one project something you need to do on another pops into your head. Getting up to do the other can be a way of procrastinating. If you don't want to work on the project at hand something else that really does have to be done can be enticing. An example for me would be when I am working on a project and suddenly realize my plants need watering. Watering the plants at that moment is a big interruption. A way to deal with it is to make a note in my calendar to do it at another time.
8. Idea Flash - Funny how you can pause to think about something you are working on and suddenly you get a great idea about something else. If you have an idea notebook write it down and move on. No special notebook? Write it down somewhere so you can come back to it once you finish.
9. Messy office - A messy office can drain you of energy. Make sure the place you are working is relatively clear of unessential materials before you start working. Schedule a cleaning time on your calendar.
10. Hunger, need cigarette, bathroom - Take care of these needs before you begin your work. Any one of these can use up a whole morning because you pass other team members on your way to get food, a cigarette or to use the facilities and that can lead to conversation and distractions.
About Alvah Parker
Alvah Parker is a Business and Career Coach as well as publisher of Parker's Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. To subscribe send an email to email@example.com.
Here‚Äôs a little round up of some Guardian commentary on today‚Äôs split. The paper‚Äôs editorial says the decision by the seven MPs to leave was a mistake, but also acts as a warning that Labour ‚Äúis in the midst of one of its periodic tacks, to the Corbynite left in this case, which put the broader, long-term coalition of Labour at some risk‚ÄĚ.
A leading Labour critic of Jeremy Corbyn, the former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, has said a majority of the party‚Äôs Scottish MPs and MSPs now backed a second EU referendum.
Speaking at a People‚Äôs Vote press conference in Edinburgh, Dugdale suggested there was deepening opposition among backbenchers to Corbyn‚Äôs stance on Brexit, even among those who are otherwise loyal to his leadership.
When young people are fighting for action on climate change, it is time to come together for the future, not divide. The Tory party‚Äôs failed solutions represent a dead end. We must do nothing to let them off the hook.
I believe there‚Äôs a majority of Labour MSPs in the parliament who would back a final say [on Brexit] but crucially over the weekend you saw a big development in the Scottish parliamentary Labour group with Paul Sweeney saying he would back having a final say.
That means a majority of Scottish Labour MPs back it too so the momentum towards a people‚Äôs vote is growing in the Labour party and as a consequence I think the likelihood of a people‚Äôs vote across the country is also increasing. I have never been more optimistic about a people‚Äôs vote taking place than I am today.
Israeli foreign minister accuses Poles of hatred towards Jews in remarks described as ‚Äėracist‚Äô by Polish PM
Poland‚Äôs prime minister has accused Israel‚Äôs foreign minister of racism in an escalating diplomatic row over the Holocaust that resulted in the cancellation on Monday of an international summit in Jerusalem.
Mateusz Morawiecki withdrew his country‚Äôs involvement in the summit after Yisrael Katz, who was appointed acting Israeli foreign minister on Sunday, said Poles ‚Äúsuckle antisemitism with their mother‚Äôs milk‚ÄĚ and accused all Polish people of harbouring ‚Äúinnate‚ÄĚ antisemitism.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer reprises role as cleaning lady during festivities in home state of Saarland
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the leader of Germany‚Äôs Christian Democrat party, returned to her home state of Saarland over the weekend to reprise her annual role as Putzfrau Gretel (Gretel the cleaning lady) during carnival celebrations.
Dressed in an apron and checkered headscarf, Kramp-Karrenbauer cracked jokes about December‚Äôs CDU leadership election, the fight banning diesel vehicles and political dysfunction in Berlin in front of a crowd of more than a thousand people.
Internet expert exposes unsecured database believed to be targeting Muslim minorities
A Chinese surveillance company has been tracking the movements of at least 2.5 million residents in a province where Muslim minorities have been the target of a far-reaching security clampdown, internet experts have found.
Victor Gevers, of the non-profit group GDI.Foundation, which supports an open internet, discovered an unsecured database online that contained the name, sex, ethnicity, ID number, birth date and employer of residents in China‚Äôs western province of Xinjiang.
European People‚Äôs party and Socialists & Democrats have run parliament for 40 years
The ‚Äúgrand coalition‚ÄĚ of centre-right and centre-left that has run the European parliament for 40 years is set to lose its majority for the first time following elections in May, according to the institution‚Äôs internal forecasts.
The centre-right European People‚Äôs party and centre-left Socialists & Democrats have long called the shots in the EU parliament, but polls suggest the two big groups will win only 45% of seats, down from 53%.
Donald Trump returned to the attack against Andrew McCabe on Monday, in response to an interview in which the former deputy FBI director discussed his new book and made claims damaging to the president.
Two former military pilots, a customs officer and celebrity bodyguard among the accused
Sitting on the asphalt at Punta Cana international airport in the Dominican Republic, the private plane was about to take off for an overnight flight to Saint-Tropez in France when police swooped.
Inside the aircraft, a Dassault Falcon 50, officers found four Frenchmen ‚Äď two pilots and two passengers ‚Äď along with 680kg of cocaine, with an estimated street value of ‚ā¨20m (¬£17.5m), in 26 battered suitcases.
Hans Leo Maes captures the bridges and stairways that link up the hilly, population-dense city
Hong Kong is known for its flashing lights, neon signs and high-rise skylines. But the architect and photographer Hans Leo Maes documents an alternative side ‚Äď the city‚Äôs interconnecting staircases and bridges.
‚ÄúThe extreme population density in Hong Kong means [structures] are stacked and linked by stairs, often external and very visible,‚ÄĚ Maes says.
There‚Äôs a whole new craze in east Africa, fuelled by secondhand inline skates ‚Äď and a desire to unite
Photos and story by Duncan Moore
Nairobi‚Äôs traffic congestion is notorious. Minibuses known as matatus battle for space with cars, motorbikes and hand-drawn carts, causing excruciating gridlock.
Through this automotive battleground dart the daring members of the Kenyan city‚Äôs inline skating community, deftly weaving between moving vehicles, holding on to buses for speed and jumping over potholes.
Idea of topping municipal plant in Copenhagen with urban ski resort won accolades for Danish architecture firm
It might be the first waste incinerator the neighbours actually want next door. The shop at the foot of the Amager Bakke waste-to-energy project in Copenhagen is packed with families desperate to be among the first to try its unique selling point: the ski slope on the roof.
‚ÄúI live so close by that I could follow the development,‚ÄĚ says Ole Fredslund, who lives in neighbouring Amager, as he helped his sons Felix and Victor strap on their boots as the slope opened its lifts for the first time on Tuesday. ‚ÄúI guess 90% of the focus is on the fact that there‚Äôs a skiing hill coming, so in a way it‚Äôs very clever. Everybody talks about the ski hill to be, not the waste plant to be.‚ÄĚ
Russian agent allegedly in Bulgaria when Emilian Gebrev poisoned in 2015 and in UK when Skripals attacked
The first sign that something was wrong with Emilian Gebrev was an itchy, bloodshot eye after a dinner in April 2015. The next day he had strange visions of flashing lasers, followed by uncontrollable vomiting. As friends rushed him to hospital, everything went black and he slipped into a coma.
Teenager accused of murder of six-year-old Googled ‚Äėhow do police find DNA‚Äô, court told
A phone belonging to a teenager accused of the abduction, rape and murder of a six-year-old girl was used to Google ‚Äúhow do police find DNA‚ÄĚ, a court has heard.
Peter Benson, the leader of a cybercrime team, told the Alesha MacPhail murder trial he helped compile a report of relevant information following a forensic investigation of the 16-year-old boy‚Äôs phone.
Swiss actor best known for his portrayal of Adolf Hitler in the 2004 film Downfall
The Swiss actor Bruno Ganz, who has died aged 77 from cancer, was a wise and contemplative presence, as familiar, consoling and crumpled as a favourite overcoat.
He came to prominence in three films by the director Wim Wenders. In The American Friend (1977), adapted from Patricia Highsmith‚Äôs novel Ripley‚Äôs Game, he was a shy picture-framer who is persuaded, under the misapprehension that he is dying, to become an assassin in order to provide for his family.
Communities clash over natural resources as arrivals from South Sudan and DRC plunder environment for fuel and construction
The cutting down of millions of trees has sparked angry clashes in parts of Uganda between local people and refugees who have been fleeing conflict in neighbouring South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The timber is being used for house construction, fuel and to make charcoal. In the north and west of the country, where an estimated 1.1 million refugees are living, massive deforestation is drawing protests by local communities.
Actor‚Äôs lawyers angrily reject reports he may have staged attack
Police spokesman says trajectory of investigation ‚Äėshifted‚Äô
Chicago police have said they want to conduct a follow-up interview with the Empire actor Jussie Smollett, because new information has prompted a shift in the investigation of his claim he was attacked.
Attempt to hustle Japan into a trade deal highlights the problems facing ‚Äėglobal Britain‚Äô
It takes a lot to anger the unfailingly polite, anglophile Japanese. But Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, and Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, appear to have managed it with their ill-judged attempt to hustle Tokyo into a quick-fire Brexit trade deal.
The diplomatic fumble has highlighted rapidly escalating difficulties facing ‚Äúglobal Britain‚ÄĚ ‚Äď the government‚Äôs nebulous vision for life after the EU ‚Äď in forging new business and trade relationships around the world without an agreed post-Brexit strategy.
Mike Pezzullo admits department faced ‚Äėurgent‚Äô circumstances when deal done with little known firm Paladin
The head of the department of home affairs concedes bureaucrats awarded a controversial $423m contract to Paladin to provide services on Manus Island because of an ‚Äúurgent‚ÄĚ set of circumstances, but Mike Pezzullo denies he was ‚Äúdesperate‚ÄĚ.
Officials from the home affairs department told estimates on Monday they were, in essence, forced to conduct a closed tender process for the contract because the government of Papua New Guinea advised the then Turnbull government in July it could not provide services it had signalled it would provide because it had entered a caretaker period.
Analysis of community where 73% of residents contracted Zika in 2015 offers new clues about epidemic
Scientists studying the 2015 Zika outbreak in Brazil have discovered that people previously exposed to dengue may have been protected from the virus.
Three-quarters of the inhabitants of a favela in the country‚Äôs north-east caught the mosquito-borne Zika virus during the epidemic. The outbreak left more than 3,000 babies across Brazil with microcephaly, a birth defect caused by mothers catching the virus during pregnancy.
In the midst of Venezuela‚Äôs spiralling economic crisis, Natalia and fellow members of a Chavista collective have stepped in to take over production at a local bakery, La Minka. Authorities had suspended operations when the owners were accused of overpricing their loaves and hoarding flour. In March 2017, with the tacit support of the government, the collective began selling affordable bread. This is the story of their fight to safeguard the bakery‚Äôs future and keep the Chavista dream alive
I had to gain the confidence that always seemed to come naturally to my partner to release my inner handywoman
Last year my partner and I moved into a new house. The whole exercise was exhilarating ‚Äď finally, a place we owned ‚Äď but it also unearthed in me a desperation, a deep frustration. For a long time I‚Äôve wanted to be someone who fixes things, builds things, someone who is capable in practical day-to-day tasks. I own tools, I have ideas and I tinker with my surroundings, but I‚Äôve never felt completely at ease in the tasks that various men in my life seem to take on with no backward glance.
In our just-built house there were so many jobs to do with drills, hammers, caulking guns. My drive to learn by doing was offset by disorientation and self-doubt. I wanted to begin improving our house, but I didn‚Äôt know what sort of screws I needed for the curtain rod brackets, or whether I could just drill straight into the plasterboard. My partner, a man, didn‚Äôt have much more experience in these things than I did, but approached the situation with a confidence and bluster that only confused me more.
Cardinals around the world are joining the pope at a forum on tackling abuse. But only radical reform can solve the crisis
When the first meeting in the Vatican of cardinals from around the world to discuss clerical sexual abuse was announced, hopes were high among Catholics. Finally, it seemed, the courageous, mould-breaking Pope Francis was going to force through root-and-branch reforms to tackle the scandal that has done such damage to the reputation of the institution he leads.
Yet even before 180 cardinals assemble on Thursday in Rome for this unprecedented four-day summit, the chance of such prayers being answered is looking increasingly remote. The Vatican press office has been downplaying the event as simply an opportunity to remind senior clerics of the patchy efforts that global Catholicism has made this past quarter of a century to address the thousands upon thousands of cases of priests molesting, abusing and traumatising children in their care.
From Russia to Turkey and Iraq, the rout of the caliphate brings new political considerations and shifting alliances
The collapse of the Isis caliphate‚Äôs last stronghold in Syria is sending shockwaves across the region, changing the calculations of the major powers as they jockey for advantage. Triumphalism in Washington, Moscow and Damascus risks obscuring the human cost of a ‚Äúvictory‚ÄĚ that may quickly prove transitory.
Of immediate concern is the fate of civilians, mainly women and children, displaced from formerly Isis-controlled areas where many were held against their will. The independent International Rescue Committee says up to 4,000 people are fleeing towards the al-Hawl refugee camp in north-east Syria.
Since 1992, more than 11,500 Colombians have been killed or injured by landmines, a legacy of more than 50 years of internal conflict. Many impoverished amputees without access to the healthcare system have resorted to making homemade prosthetics from wood, leather, metal and plastic bottles
The US vice-president rebuked European powers over Iran and Venezuela on Saturday, in a renewed attack on traditional US allies, rejecting a call by Germany‚Äôs chancellor to include Russia in global cooperation efforts. Describing the results of Donald Trump‚Äôs presidency as 'remarkable' and 'extraordinary', Pence told senior European and Asian officials that the European Union should follow the US in quitting the Iran nuclear deal and recognising the head of Venezuela‚Äôs congress, Juan Guaid√≥, as president
A man opened fire on Friday in a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois, an hour's drive west of Chicago. The shooter, identified as 45-year-old Gary Martin, was an employee at the industrial complex in Aurora. He also wounded five police officers before he was shot dead
Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to secure extra funding for his wall at the US-Mexico border. Trump‚Äôs decision came after weeks of wrangling over his campaign promise, which led to a record 35-day partial government shutdown, damaging his approval rating.
Residents of a coalmining region in Siberia have been posting online videos showing entire streets and districts covered in toxic black snow that critics say highlight a man-made ecological catastrophe in which British industry is compliant.