Context Switching Interruptions

A productivity challenge theme with readers last month was context switching due to interruptions. This is a common challenge and here are a few ideas that have helped some of our users.

  • Use a productivity timer – A simple phone count down clock allows you to work in sprint time frames you define for a time. This works for me. There is even a pomodoro technique using 25-minute work cycles followed by 5 minutes to rest.
  • Prioritize the tasks and block time – Intuitive to say but hard to do, this pushes distractions until the end of the block of time. 
  • Verbalize your plan for the day – Talking through your tasks is a great way to commit yourself and to build in some peer accountability.
  • Set a new standard – You may have interruptors who force you to context switch. Tell them what you are doing and ask them to let you work uninterrupted for a set amount of time. 
  • Put on headphones – If you are in a work space, putting on the headphones is a clear way to indicate that you are in a zone. Informing coworkers about this will improve success. 
  • Create systems to jot down interruption ideas – Often we are our own worst enemies because our focus is interrupted with ideas that seem important and pressing. Many productivity gurus espouse the idea of capturing those random ideas somewhere that you’ll get back to allows you to recenter when those things come. 

What works for you?