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How Being Unreachable Makes Me More Productive

| December 4, 2012

by Jim Bruce

The essay “How Being Unreachable Makes Me More Productive” comes from a Craig Jarrow post to the blog.  Jarrow is author of Time Management Ninja.

Chris Jarrow has a secret:  He’s not always reachable.  And, he gets a lot more done because of it.  He notes, importantly, that our communication devices, as important as they are, are not there so that we can be interrupted at any time of the day or night.

So, how might you limit your interruptions?

  • Don’t answer the phone.  Let it go to voicemail.
  • Use the Privacy Mode.  That way you decide who can ring your phone.
  • Only read the important email;  at a minimum, read that first.
  • Don’t read unsolicited email;  delete it.
  • Use quick forms, e.g., short emails, of communication whenever possible.
  • Shut your door.
  • Set expectations.  Let your team know your communication style.  Let them know when it is appropriate to interrupt.
  • Give yourself permission to decline to be interrupted.

To Jarrow’s list, I’d add one that I discovered in an article about Marissa Meyer while she was still at Google:  

  • Have a regular period each day for office hours.
  • Give people permission to sign up and drop by for a short 5-10 minute conversation.  It is a good way to organize a flow of constant interruptions.

So, I urge you to think through your interruptions and take the necessary steps to get them under your control.  You’ll find there is a great reward for doing so.  You really can get more done.


.  .  .  .     jim