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Jenny Eaton

Are You A Goldfish Or An Elephant?

How to deal with interruptions ...

Posted on: 23/02/2012   By: Jenny Eaton

Do you ever find yourself moving from one task to another and never really completing anything to your satisfaction? For me, even writing this blog post has required a serious amount of focus - I seem to be constantly interrupted at the moment ...

don't feel like a goldfish, let us handle your interruptions

don't feel like a goldfish, let us handle your interruptions

Obviously I could have done better to start this after I had put my 4 year old to bed, rather than whilst he is awake. But when an idea strikes, I find I'm better off writing it down there and then rather than trying to remember what the thought was later!

I think that interruptions impact on our working in two ways. Firstly, they distract us away from the original task; it has been estimated that interruptions can eat up to a third of your working day. If you've wondered why your time disappears so quickly, it's because three hours are taken up with interruptions - and that's before you've tackled the 10 hour to-do list inside of an 8 hour working day!

And don't you think it's even easier these days to be distracted? With emails, Skype, desk phones and mobile phones ringing, texts, chatting with colleagues, checking Facebook, Twitter and Google alerts to see what the competition is up to ... somehow there are distractions automatically tied into doing our jobs!

But I think the second problem with interruptions is actually getting back to the job you were doing in the first place. For example, I started writing this blog post in the early evening but then my 4 year old wanted a drink. Whilst I was pouring it I grabbed my mobile phone which led to a text conversation.

Then after the drink was finished, it was time for a bedtime story. I won't regale you with my entire evening but suffice to say it's now 10.30pm and I am only just coming back to it. You see I might have the everlasting memory of an elephant and be able to tell you minute by minute of my graduation in 1998, however my attention span is probably worse than a goldfish! Once I am distracted, that's it - I struggle to remember what I was doing in order to go back to it! I have a cup of cold 'hot' chocolate sitting here - I think I made it an hour ago and I've forgotten to drink it!

Anyway having got a little off track (you see I can even distract myself when I'm working!) let's return to the topic of interruptions. Research suggests that about 60% of our interruptions can add between 10 minutes and an hour to someone's work load. And I am pleased to know that I am not alone; the average recovery time after an interruption can be 30 minutes! That means that a single interruption depending on its nature and the intensity of the original task can actually have an impact of an hour and a half on the working day.

Can you imagine what you could achieve if you could eliminate some of those interruptions or distractions; if you weren't wasting an hour and a half after a phone call before getting back to that all important quote or pitch presentation? I don't know about you but sometimes I just lose my train of thought and it takes me a while to warm back up. I think this might have been a different - I won't say better - post if I hadn't had a three hour break in the middle of writing it!

Now I work for a Telephone Answering Service so my day is spent being interrupted. However my day is interrupted so that yours doesn't have to be! We have clients that only ever divert their calls when they don't want to be interrupted; when they have a task that needs their whole undivided attention or that requires precision or actually just needs finishing in one sitting.

So if the phone is the bane of your life and stops you from achieving everything that you could, perhaps it's time to let someone else handle the interruptions!! Simply call us on +44 (0) 845 901 1803 and let us show you how easy your working day can become with a little help from your magical friends at The Office Genie!

Until next time ...


More about Jenny Eaton ...

I love playing with words and I have dreamed of being a writer since I was a child. With a romantic idea of scribbling away in a cold attic room with my trusty fountain pen. I have always dabbled, but until now it’s not come to much.

When I started with The Office Genie it was to provide me with a part time income to support my writing. Over time though I have developed into the Marketing Genie on a full time basis. I love it, I get to play with words all day as I try to share the dream and the passion that Jacqui has turned into The Office Genie. My work involves blogging, letter writing, email writing, web copy writing, e-book writing, campaign planning, strategy planning, social media interactions – it’s like I write and talk all day every day, my parent would say it’s the ideal job for me!

My first blog posts were about my day to day life as a Genie but they are growing into sharing my view of the business world. I am passionate about helping small businesses be the best that they can be, standing out from their competition in the small things that come together to give an impression of great service – to find out how we can help you should call me on the number below.


+44 (0) 1604 529170


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