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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
President recognises protesters‚Äô demands but vowed to still liberalise the economy
Emmanuel Macron has vowed to make his style of politics more ‚Äúhumane‚ÄĚ, but insisted he would press on with his project to liberalise the French economy and overhaul its welfare state despite five months of demonstrations by gilets jaunes (yellow vest) anti-government protesters.
In his first press conference in two years as president, Macron promised ‚ā¨5bn (¬£4.3bn) worth of cuts to income tax for lower and average earners as well as pension rises for the poorest and vowed no more schools or hospitals would be closed during his presidency, as he responded to protests.
Recent history shows that people with comfortable lives can easily be drawn towards violent extremism
When police and soldiers in Sri Lanka set out on the trail of the attackers who killed more than 350 people in a series of bombings on Easter Sunday, they did not expect to find themselves in Dematagoda, one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in Colombo.
Within 90 minutes of the attack, as hospitals struggled to cope with the huge number of casualties, the security forces were closing in on a three-storey house with a BMW parked outside.
Biden contacted her earlier this month to express his ‚Äúregret for what she endured‚ÄĚ during the hearing, an attempt to reckon with a defining moment from his past that looms over his present bid for the White House.
Figure comes as rift opens between Northern Ireland Office and MoD over how to deal with historical accusations
As many as 200 former members of the British security forces are under official investigation for alleged criminal actions during the Troubles as a rift opens up between the Northern Ireland Office and the Ministry of Defence over how to deal with historical accusations.
There are at least three prosecutions against British soldiers under way. A former Parachute Regiment lance-corporal, identified only so far as ‚ÄúSoldier F‚ÄĚ, is due to stand trial for murder and attempted murder for his role in the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings. Altogether, it is understood that between 150 and 200 former soldiers and police are under investigation for alleged actions taken during the Troubles.
At least two people reportedly killed in shooting at Qasr bin Ghashir facility near Tripoli
Young refugees held in a detention centre in Libya have described being shot at indiscriminately by militias advancing on Tripoli, in an attack that reportedly left at least two people dead and up to 20 injured.
Phone footage smuggled out of the camp and passed to the Guardian highlights the deepening humanitarian crisis in the centres set up to prevent refugees and migrants from making the sea crossing from the north African coast to Europe.
Court decision blocking fossil fuel activity in swaths of the Arctic complicated administration plans to ramp up fossil fuel extraction
The Trump administration has shelved plans to vastly expand offshore oil and gas drilling in the wake of a recent court decision that blocked fossil fuel activity in swaths of the Arctic.
The administration had opened up almost all US waters to companies seeking to drill oil or gas deposits but this expansion has been halted due to a legal setback, according to David Bernhardt, the interior secretary.
Official cites difficulty of identifying victims as reason for revision
Sri Lankan authorities have revised the death toll from Easter Sunday‚Äôs string of bombings down to 253 people from the previous estimate of 359.
The country‚Äôs director general for health services issued the correction on Thursday, citing the difficulty of identifying victims due to the nature of the bombings, some of which took place in closely confined spaces and left some bodies in pieces.
Top watchdog promises to force change following Cambridge Analytica scandal as New York announces new investigation
Facebook broke Canadian privacy laws when it collected the information of some 600,000 citizens, a top watchdog in the country said on Thursday, pledging to seek a court order to force the social media company to change its practices.
US official who was sent to retrieve Warmbier signed an agreement to pay the surprise invoice, the Washington Post reports
The United States was handed a $2m bill from North Korea for the hospital care of American Otto Warmbier, who died soon after his release back to the US in a comatose state in 2017, after being detained for 17 months.
Acting on instructions passed down from Donald Trump, the main US official who was sent to North Korea to bring Warmbier back to the US signed an agreement to pay the surprise invoice he was handed by Pyongyang, according to the Washington Post on Thursday, which cited two anonymous sources familiar with the situation.
Fresh details of plot and cast for the 25th James Bond film have been revealed at an official launch at Ian Fleming‚Äôs villa in Jamaica. With the sea in the background, a platter of pears and papaya in front, Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson as well as new director Cary Fukunaga told radio presenter Clara Amfo that the new film opens with Bond relaxing in ‚Äúhis spiritual home‚ÄĚ.
A tiny nook for an urn can cost up to ¬£180,000. With 200,000 sets of ashes waiting for a resting place, the city is running out of options
‚ÄúPer square foot, it has become more expensive to house the dead than the living,‚ÄĚ says Kwok Hoi Pong, chairman of the Hong Kong Funeral Business Association. ‚ÄúA niche for an urn in a private columbarium in the best position can cost up to HK$1.8m. This is the phenomenon in Hong Kong.‚ÄĚ
A ground burial plot can cost anywhere between HK$3m (¬£300,000) and HK$5m, but in the city‚Äôs congested cemeteries, vacancies rarely become available. Land is so scarce that 90% of the 48,000 people a year who die in Hong Kong are cremated. But increasingly finding the space even to store ashes is becoming nigh on impossible.
With teenage girls a particular target of street harassment, Farah Benis is on a mission to document incidents and raise awareness
CatcallsofLdn is an Instagram account that raises awareness about street harassment using chalk art. Inspired by and working with @catcallsofnyc, founder Farah Benis collects submissions from the public then chalks them onto the pavement in the place where they happened. The hope is that chalking, documenting and sharing images of the words will help to raise awareness of street harassment and ultimately prevent it.
72% of submissions are from under 17-year-olds, 60% of those were wearing school uniforms and 100% of the perpetrators were adult men
Photographer Zhang Kechun travelled across China to document how urbanisation is reshaping the country‚Äôs natural landscapes. The often dreamlike images of his series Between the Mountains and Water depict tiny figures dwarfed by the immense scale of China‚Äôs economic development
The star of Hannibal, The Hunt and new film Arctic doubts frank conversation is possible in the wake of #MeToo. But is he really also sceptical about climate change?
Dogme 95, the notorious Danish DIY film movement that launched the career of ‚Äď among others ‚Äď Lars Von Trier, has been called a lot of things. ‚ÄúRevolutionary‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúamateur porn‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúshit‚ÄĚ (the last one yelled by the critic Mark Kermode at a Cannes screening of Von Trier‚Äôs The Idiots). With its 10-point manifesto targeting ‚Äúdecadent film-making‚ÄĚ, wobbly-cam aesthetic and tendency towards nudity, violence and cruelty, it has inspired rapture and revulsion in equal measure. Though not everyone, it seems, had such a visceral reaction.
‚ÄúTo be frank, I just thought it was silly,‚ÄĚ says Mads Mikkelsen. ‚ÄúSitting down and writing down 10 commandments of how to approach film-making? ‚ÄėThe story is important‚Äô ‚Äď no shit, Sherlock! Seriously? Do you have to write that down? Was it not important before you wrote it down? All these things were common fucking sense to me.
Conservatives have launched inquiry into alleged racist incidents in local party
Portsmouth‚Äôs major political parties are struggling to contain claims they have racially discriminated against local minority ethnic council candidates.
The Conservatives have launched an inquiry into alleged racist incidents in the local party. A leaked letter shows a former council candidate for the party has claimed he was marginalised, bullied and racially abused.
Khalifa Haftar‚Äôs foreign backers have egged him on ‚Äď and civilians are paying the price
The warlord Khalifa Haftar, who controls eastern Libya, has never disguised his ambitions. Once one of Muammar Gaddafi‚Äôs generals, he returned from exile in the US when the dictator fell in 2011, attempted to launch a coup three years later, repeatedly declared his intention to take Tripoli and has said that his country may not be ready for democracy.
So the professions of shock from his backers when he mounted his assault on the western capital, held by the internationally recognised Government of National Accord, cannot be treated with great seriousness. The only real surprise about his advance was its timing. By moving while the UN secretary-general was in the country, to discuss arrangements for a UN-organised conference intended to lead to elections, he destroyed muted hopes of a political solution and underscored his already evident contempt for the process. As the prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, complained, the response of many supposed allies was silence.
A hotel room theft, blackmail and a gym brawl are among the accusations thrown in a very public falling out between two athletics greats who were once friends
A sedate Wednesday morning press conference for this weekend‚Äôs London marathon appeared to be over when Mo Farah suddenly raised his hand and began to speak. Clearly Britain‚Äôs four-time Olympic champion had something to get off his chest. ‚ÄúTraining has gone well, and everything else,‚ÄĚ he said, ‚Äúbut there was a slight problem with my hotel in Ethiopia.‚ÄĚ
Nouman Raja is the first Florida law enforcement agent in nearly 30 years to be convicted and sentenced for an on-duty killing
A former Florida police officer has received a 25-year prison sentence for the fatal on-duty shooting of a black musician whose SUV had broken down after a late-night concert.
The fired Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja was the first Florida law enforcement agent in nearly 30 years to be convicted and sentenced for an on-duty killing ‚Äď and one of only a few officers nationwide.
LGBT campaigners say Brazilian president‚Äôs comments risk inciting hatred
Brazil‚Äôs far-right president, the self-declared homophobe Jair Bolsonaro, has been accused of inciting hatred towards LGBT people after declaring the South American country should not become a ‚Äúgay tourism paradise‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄúIf you want to come here and have sex with a woman, go for your life,‚ÄĚ Bolsonaro reportedly told journalists in the capital, Bras√≠lia. ‚ÄúBut we can‚Äôt let this place become known as a gay tourism paradise. Brazil can‚Äôt be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families,‚ÄĚ Bolsonaro added, according to the Brazilian magazine Exame.
‚ÄėAbsurd‚Äô that US and its closest allies are not leading players in technology, former PM says
Malcolm Turnbull has revealed that he encouraged Donald Trump to ‚Äútake the lead‚ÄĚ and develop 5G networks in cooperation with allies, including Australia, to hold out ‚Äúferocious competition‚ÄĚ from China and to safeguard networks against cyber-attacks.
In a speech in New York overnight, the former prime minister said that in response to concerns China was stealing a technological march he had urged the US president to ‚Äúensure that we had at least one viable and secure 5G vendor from the United States and/or its Five Eyes partners‚ÄĚ.
Arrests and prosecutions remain thin on the ground despite 62% rise in reports of suspected labour exploitation
More than 7,100 suspected victims of modern slavery were identified across the UK in 2018, with Romanian nationals comprising the largest victim group, according to a national helpline.
Labour exploitation ‚Äď the majority of which was identified in car washes, beauty parlours, construction sites, hotels and on farms ‚Äď accounted for the largest number of suspected modern slavery cases, with London the location for the highest number of suspected victims (1,477), found the helpline‚Äôs second annual assessment, published on Thursday.
In Mozambique, where many people rely on crops to live, Idai‚Äôs impact on two key agricultural areas has been devastating
Marie Jose stares out at her field of broken maize stalks, the cobs yellow and mouldy from days of excessive water followed by weeks of extreme sun. She should have harvested them last month, but Cyclone Idai struck her village in Buzi district, in central Mozambique, and destroyed them all.
She is still dealing with the trauma of losing her grandparents and niece to the tropical storm. ‚ÄúThey couldn‚Äôt hold on in the trees where we were sitting and the wind pushed them into the water,‚ÄĚ she says. Their bodies are still missing.
Toxins from old computers, fridges and other electronic goods are polluting chicken eggs in an area where 80,000 people live
Some of the most hazardous chemicals on Earth are entering the food chain in Ghana from illegally disposed electronic waste coming from Europe.
According to a new report by two environmental groups tracking the disposal of e-waste, chicken eggs from the Agbogbloshie slum in Ghana‚Äôs capital, Accra ‚Äď where residents break up waste to recover metals ‚Äď contain dangerous levels of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), among other harmful substances.
Campaigners move to end misconceptions about emergency contraception in country where morning-after pill is outlawed
A pioneering grassroots campaign to legalise emergency contraception is launched in Honduras this week amid ongoing false claims by church leaders, senior doctors and conservative politicians that the medication causes abortions, infertility and cancer.
Honduras is the only country in Latin America where emergency contraception is banned, forcing desperate women, including rape victims, to buy expensive and unregulated contraband pills on the black market.
Well-educated and wealthy, new details emerge about the nine suicide bombers
According to Sri Lanka‚Äôs defence minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, there were nine suicide bombers in total ‚Äď mostly well-educated and from wealthy families. Eight have been identified and one of them was a woman, he said, though Sri Lankan authorities have refused to officially name any of the attackers yet.
Preventing Iran‚Äôs oil from reaching the market will raise oil prices and US business costs
The past two and a bit years have shown that it is naive to expect Donald Trump‚Äôs strategic and economic policies to demonstrate coherence. Even so, the lack of joined-up thinking in the decision to end the waiver against sanctions from nations that buy oil from Iran takes some beating.
Local group National Towheed Jamaat would have needed help to mount such a complex operation
Three days after the bombings of churches and luxury hotels that killed over 300 people in Sri Lanka, Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the atrocity.
The claim was not unexpected. The bombings ‚Äď multiple suicide attacks designed to cause mass casualties among Christian worshippers on Easter Sunday and among tourists too ‚Äď had all the hallmarks of an Isis attack. The group needs to prove its capability and relevance after suffering defeat in its core heartland in Syria and Iraq. It still commands support among a network of sympathisers across the Islamic world. It had the motives and the means.
CCTV video shows two suspected attackers in Sri Lanka's Easter Sunday bombings carrying backpacks into the Shangri-La hotel in the capital, Colombo, before the blast.
The bombings, which killed 359 people and injured 500, shattered the relative calm that has existed in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka over the past decade and raised fears of a return to sectarian violence.
Barack Obama's former vice-president has entered the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. It is his third presidential campaign ‚Äď after two unsuccessful attempts at earning the nomination in 1988 and 2008. He joins a crowded and diverse field. If successful, the 76-year-old would become the oldest person to be elected president in US history
Two Florida sheriff's deputies have been suspended after a video showed them pepper-spraying and punching a 15-year-old black student. The video, which was widely shared on social media last week, shows the two officers slamming Delucca Rolle to the ground and smashing his face into the concrete several times. Rolle‚Äôs family say he was picking up a cellphone that a classmate had dropped when one officer pepper-sprayed and jumped on him
Kim Jong-un has arrived in Vladivostok by train before talks with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Kim is expected to seek Russian support over western sanctions and his negotiations with the US over North Korea's nuclear programme
New footage has emerged appearing to show a suspected suicide bomber entering St Sebastian's church in Negombo. The subsequent explosion was the deadliest of the series of coordinated bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 50 people. The footage was broadcast widely on Sri Lankan news channels
The Massachusetts congressman Seth Moulton has become the 19th person to declare their intention to seek the Democratic presidential nomination. Watch the decorated Marine Corps veteran talk about his fame in Iraq, his attempt to stop Nancy Pelosi's re-election as House Speaker and what makes him stand out in a crowded Democratic field