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How Do You Handle Interruptions?

How Do You Handle Interruptions?

This is a thread in the SolidWorks forum, but since it is a problem that we all share, I thought that I would ask it here.

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

For me, interruptions are commonplace and I would estimate make up 60-75% of my workload.  I prioritize them generally as follows:

Management Directed Priority
Preserve Cash Flow
Enhance Cash Flow

On the wall of my office I have the listing of "planned" projects for the year that anyone can take a look at.  I also keep a journal of work and unplanned always overshadows the planned work.  Nature of my job.


RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

Interruptions are the standard for me.  I squeeze my "real work" in between the interruptions as well as I can.

For others in the organization, there are guidelines about how to deal with work requests that arrive outside the standard process - if it's a quick request, just fit it in, if it's a 4hr+ request, pass it to someone who can squeeze it into the standard process (like me).

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

My employer allows me to work from home a couple days per week, which allows me some very nice uninterrupted time...

-The future's so bright I gotta wear shades!

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

For reference, please see the original post forum559.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

Have you read FAQ731-376 to make the best use of Eng-Tips Forums?

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

I posted here because most of the members do not peruse that forum, and I felt that it was a larger question that everyone here can relate to, not just SolidWorks users.

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

I try and prioritize similar to PSE but sometimes if something that comes up just looks more interesting than what I'm working on I'll jump to that.  It's a bad habit I'm trying to break.

Sometimes I will tell people I'm too busy or can't help them but it's rare and frequently comes back to bight me later.

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

Start before anyone else is there to interrupt me and finish long after they have gone home.

I am sure there must be a better way.

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

Get in early, stay late. I work with a lot of chatty people so it's unavoidable. I have a talent, though, for telling people ", it is now time, though, to tackle this vexing anchored bulkhead..."

9 times out of 10 I get left alone. The 1 time out of ten I don't, it goes like this: "Oh, which project? I did one just like it..." and all is well.

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

Get in early, stay late and take my lunch after everyone else.  I would like to put a lid and a door on my cubicle.  Sometimes, I wonder how I get work completed with all those meetings.....I consider most meetings an interuption since I can give detailed reports via e-mail, Excel or PowerPoint.  But most managers can only ad value to their existence by calling a meeting.

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

I have a door. It is usually open. If I need to do something, I close it, but usually not more than an hour.

People rarely see my door closed, so when it is closed, they don't interrupt, because they know it will be open again in about an hour.

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
Have you read FAQ731-376 to make the best use of Eng-Tips Forums?

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

A door?  You have to be about 7 levels higher in the org chart than I am to warrant a door.  I share a pass-thru cubicle, which essentially means I sit on one side of a narrow hallway.  It makes for lots of changing scenery... and lots of interruptions.

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

I recommend earplugs.  I always keep lots around (and offer them to coworkers).  You don't hear the conversations and if someone really wants you, they tap you on the shoulder.

Also, somewhat like DaveVikingPE, I put a time limit on non-work conversations.  If the direct telling them that I have work to do doesn't work, I get up and walk them out of the room.  I then say "talk to you later" and go back in.  All but the most rude understand they've been kicked out....for those few people I go into the ladies room (where they can't follow.)  Of course this wouldn't work for any of you guys.

Patricia Lougheed

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of the Eng-Tips Forums.

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

If we started escaping into the ladies room, perhaps others won't have the nerve to follow.  You may be onto something VPL. winky smile

I usually cut conversations short with a simple, "I'll talk to you at break."  It works a majority of the time.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

Have you read FAQ731-376 to make the best use of Eng-Tips Forums?

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

A guy in our office has an "Open/Closed" sign on his cube wall.  If he is busy working on something important, he flips it to the "Closed" side.  People seem to respect it.

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

Which reminds me of an old colleague who had a "Next Window ->" sign.

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

Starting early helps.  Occasionally working from home if working on a big document has been my one tried and true coping strategy.  Offsetting my lunch hour from the norm by half an hour helps to get an extra half hour free from interruptions.  I've tried earplugs as well with some success.

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

I once brought a motion-detector to work. I hooked it up at the entrance to my cubicle. Needed it for one day... Boy, did that make for an interesting one... Now, in order to prevent people from sneaking up on me I have rear-view mirrors on my monitor (I sit with my back to the entrance).

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

Ok, this is a bit of thread hijack, but I have a different problem entirely.  I share an office with one other guy, who is completely un-distractable during the day.  I don't like interuptions, but I do think when you spend 8 hours a day with someone you should have a few chats throughout the day.  This guy, when you try to talk to him, doesn't react at all, then 10 seconds later may blurt an 'uh huh' to his screen.  In the morning, he puts on a big act and with an exagerated 'HEY MATE HOW ARE YOU TODAY??!?!?!', but by the time you have answered he's not listening anymore and you are talking to yourself.

Now, I know what you're thinking, he just doesn't like me.  But, the thing is outside work he is COMPLETELY different and we get on fine.  

Anyone else come across these stange beings with split work/leisure personalities?

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

Yes we have


BEER: It's not just for breakfast anymore

RE: How Do You Handle Interruptions?

How?  Easy..  Just disconnect your internet.  it will stop you from spending too much time on eng-tips and fantasy football.

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