Strategies for Managing Interruptions

Administrative Assistant Resource
September 19, 2012 — 2,389 views  
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Exceptional time-management skills and strategies for successfully
managing interruptions are essential techniques that successful administrative
professionals must work into their daily routine. Due to the nature of
administrative positions, extensive and continuous interaction with personnel
in all parts of the office is required. While eliminating interruptions and
distractions completely is impossible, there are several strategies that
administrative professionals can implement to make sure their valuable time is
used effectively.

Between emails, phone calls and face-to-face conversations, administrative
workers are bombarded with distractions throughout the day. The first way to
strategically manage interruptions is to identify the validity and urgency of
distracting inquiries. This means that administrative professionals need to
recognize repeat offenders. Keeping a log of interruptions and their urgency is
a quick and easy way to discover patterns and to identify certain individuals
who are wasting valuable time.

Every day, administrators need to accomplish specific tasks and complete
regularly occurring jobs. Most individuals find that it's best to do routine
tasks early in the morning. If an urgent interruption occurs, there's still
plenty of time to complete daily tasks later in the day. If a non-urgent
interruption occurs, administrators can jot down a note and address the issue
at another time. It may be useful to delegate another person or a group to deal
with pressing issues and emergencies during peak times.

Focusing on issues that need immediate attention is critical. Accordingly,
administrative professionals must learn how to set rules, to delegate tasks and
to say no when appropriate. In order to concentrate on the most important
tasks, it's imperative for administrators to filter distractions. Email can
easily be reviewed at another time or screened for urgency by an assistant.
Phone distractions can also be managed by turning on the voice mail temporarily
or by having an assistant answer calls if that is more practical.

Setting limits and designating portions of the day to specific tasks and
inquiries are effective ways to structure available time and to accomplish
more. If administrative professionals designate times when they are available
or unavailable, co-workers are less likely to interrupt their work unless there
is a true emergency. Developing a comprehensive strategy for managing
interruptions requires administrators to set boundaries and to develop a system
for handling critical requests and situations. By using these strategies,
administrative professionals will be able to accomplish more while still
lending a helping hand when assistance is required.

Administrative Assistant Resource