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When Interrupted, Make a “Plan to Resume” for Greater Productivity

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Throughout the workday, any number of distractions can present themselves. Emails, text messages, a phone call from a co-worker—these can all derail our productivity. Add to that the fact that many are now working from home, and those distractions compound exponentially. One of the biggest problems with all these interruptions is that our brains aren’t wired to easily switch between tasks. They tend to remain focused on the first task, and the demand that interrupted it isn’t given the focus it needs. When a person is faced with interruption after interruption, it can lead to a day that feels chaotic without any sense of accomplishment. To prevent this, though, a simple exercise can be deployed. When presented with an interruption, instead of immediately switching to it, instead take a moment to create a “plan to resume.” Before approaching the interruption, take note of where you are in your current task and what it will take to get the ball rolling again. Once that’s complete, address the interruption. While it seems simple, this will prevent the lag in attention many experience and help you transition between tasks more efficiently.

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