Track Training Tips No.52

13 Proven Methods for Dealing With Interruptions

People who constantly interrupt and ‘steal your time’ are stopping you from achieving your objectives. Don’t let that happen. Here are some great tips to help you.

1. It isn’t really an interruption if it lasts less than a minute because you can probably pick up the thread again. You therefore need to ask interrupters ‘How long do you need?’ and then ‘How important is it?’

2. If the interruption will be less than a minute, do it now.

3. If an interruption needs longer than a minute, is it really more important than what you are doing?
• if so, stop and allow the interruption, but remember there is a cost

4. If what you’re doing is more important do not just say ‘come back later’ (the person will not go).
• fix a definite appointment for when you have got the time
• then ask the person to leave, pleasantly but firmly

5. When interrupted STAND UP (so the interrupter does not sit down).

6. Do not invite interrupters to stay by offering coffee, chatting and so on.

7. When you want to get rid of an interrupter:
• summarise the main points to close off the discussion
• if you have not already, stand up
• thank the interrupter be extra nice

8. If the interrupter does not go, you should physically start to move away from your work area.

9. If it is appropriate, shake hands with very persistent interrupters and steer them out.

10. If you simply MUST react to an interruption and stop what you are doing, then note what you were about to do.

11. Pre empt frequent interrupters go to them, and KEEP STANDING.

12. Especially, pre empt your boss: set up a regular check at which you ask him/her what they need from you and by when. You might even get him to plan their day like that!

13. Set up an ‘Interruptions Log’ – find out who, why, when – identify the root cause and plan to stop them!

For further information and business support contact Dave Chesters on 01785 823583 or take a look at our website

‘Training Solutions that Guarantee Results’

Follow Us

© 2012 Track Training Services (UK) Ltd
Images courtesy of