Interruptions Kill

Stopping and restarting can cost you. The mental energy required in breaking your momentum is cumulatively taxing throughout the course of the day.



Ask a pharmacist who is interrupted countless times by phones, shoppers, staff, emails, Rx drop-offs and yes, fax machines.


Imagine running the 100m dash this way:

Gun goes off, run to 25m line, turn around, run back to 10m line, turnaround, run back up to 45m line, stop, forget where you were, run back to 5m line, stop, run up to 65m line, collapse in exhaustion and give up althogether.


Commit to a task fully, then move on. Avoid stop-starts.


Rested.

Interruptions kill...avoid stop-starts

  • take turns being the tired parent to your newborn, 2 parents with interrupted sleep can spiral; pick your night and show up fully, then switch the next night

  • what tasks did you restart all day long thus reducing your evening power-down time?

  • remember: an efficient day leaves more free time at night

  • evening blue light entering the eye stops melatonin release, restarting it only hours after you've fallen asleep, delaying REM and overall restorative sleep quality

Fueled.

Interruptions kill...avoid stop starts

  • stop calling it a diet (eating well is not temporary)

  • start calling it a way of living

  • resist the hope offered by "restarting" with a new fad

  • commit to your way of eating, without an end date

  • meal plan for 3 days, not just tomorrow

  • make extra (leftovers for tomorrow)

Ready.

Interruptions kill...avoid start stops

  • are there times you can do one 12-hour shift instead of two eights? Imagine: the pharmacist who starts the task finishes the task with less loose ends, reducing the need for notes and for someone else to invest in though processes that have already been invested in by someone else.

  • also, one vs two instances of: commute trips, "outfits" to prep and launder, "morning-get-ready" routines

  • writing out tomorrow's to do's before leaving the workplace allows you to hit the ground running tomorrow


  • talk about reducing interruptions at work: ask staff to turn towards you and wait before talking instead of starting to talk randomly anytime a thought presents itself.

  • when patients come to the counter, resist the urge to look up immediately and mouth your thoughts so they know you are in a thought process.


  • finish the thought before answering the phone...it can ring 3-4 times before picking up. It will signal that you are busy once you do pick-up. You can disagree with me, but I don't associate "answering on the first 2 rings" as better customer service, it's more about what happens when the phone lines connect instead.


  • doing one task until completion, before moving on to the next one saves mental energy, adds to your daily stamina, reduces human error and supports a net positive resiliency



Check out the expanded version of this newsletter published in Motivate the Mind, a publication on Medium (click below).




What interruptions are others putting on you?

What interruptions are you putting on yourself?


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