Want to Boost Productivity? Eliminate ‘Got a Minute?’ From Vocabulary

stop wasting timeYou know the drill. You’re sitting at your desk. Immersed in thought, it’s clear you’re processing information.

And then the inevitable happens. Your boss or colleague swings by your desk with the ubiquitous question, “Got a minute?”

Just like that your productivity, not to mention thoughts, are squandered. According to a piece in Fortune, this is typical. A recent study shows 70 percent of senior managers pointing to the overwhelmed employee who has interruptions constantly throughout the day.

So, how can we reduce the number of unnecessary urgent drive by questions? Create a collective game plan. That is, your team should decide upon “time locks” in order to reduce distractions. These blocks of time at specific hours during the day (i.e., 2 to 4 p.m.) will be carved out for everyone to keep their nose to the grindstone.

We think it sounds really good in theory but as for application itself? The piece suggests convincing colleagues to show how this interruption-free zone can benefit them. You can also suggest it as a trial period such as for only one or two weeks and then once everyone sees the benefits, you can make time locks a fixture on the calendar.

One more caveat? The boss. Your supervisor may think he or she is excluded from the block of time and may continue to disturb you and your colleagues. Considering it’s hard to say no, what should you do?

Emphasize how much more productive you are when you focus exclusively on your work during a specific time of the day. Show how this will benefit your boss meet his or her own deadlines.