Acceptable Interruptions

Have you ever been interrupted at work?  The truth is that we are interrupted constantly throughout the day.  In fact, it is one of the top concerns that my workshop participants raise in the seminar pre-survey.  The mental cost to get back on track after an interruption is very high. So much so that most people would like to close their door, put on their earphones, and have a full day without anyone interrupting them.

man in brown long sleeved button up shirt standing while using gray laptop computer on brown wooden table beside woman in gray long sleeved shirt sitting

However, are all interruptions bad? I believe there are at least three acceptable types of interruptions.  They are:

  • Emergency Interruptions – If the building is in fire or someone is hurt, please interrupt me.
  • Major Organizational Deadline Interruptions – When a big gala is happening tomorrow, budget deadlines are here, or key strategic projects are in their final stage, these items may override all normal work. Best to help your teammates out cheerfully here.
  • Customer Service Interruptions – When scheduled to be the point person for customer affairs, or if a major customer needs attention, you are committed to set other work aside to focus on them.

What else do you think is an acceptable interruption?

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