A Barrier to Workplace Productivity

Dr. Purushothaman
December 5, 2013

A Barrier to Workplace Productivity Improvement.
One of the biggest barriers to productivity improvement, is the number and
length of interruptions that take place daily. Interruptions may include phone
calls, interruptions by colleagues or staff, a lost file or tool and so on. The
difficulty with interruptions is that some of them are necessary and some of
them are not. Separating them out can be difficult.
Every time we are interrupted, it takes us between 20 to 30 minutes to get back
to the level of concentration that we were at before the disruption. We
obviously don't want to eliminate all interruptions but we can reduce them and
take control of our time and momentum more effectively.
If we are to increase productivity then we have to decrease the number of
interruptions. If we are in a leadership role we get interrupted about every
eight minutes. This makes it very difficult to actually get in the " zone" which
is a state when we are completely concentrating on our work and totally
oblivious to our environment. We felt to keep time and through absolute
concentration produce great work.
It's not easy to get in the "zone" because it takes about 20 to 30 minutes to start
working at maximum productivity. You can't get into the "zone" if you are
tired or had a lot of interruptions. This means that interruptions of any sort are
an effective barrier to high levels of productivity.
Just think about your workplace. Are there lots of interruptions that stop
people working? It's very easy to get pushed out of your "zone" because it only
takes a phone call or the distraction of somebody asking you a question for
your productivity and momentum to drop. Some days you probably don't even
get near working in the "zone" and this is why you go home wondering what
you've achieved all day.
An interruption is nothing more than an unanticipated event. To put it in
perspective, on average, we experience one interruption every eight minutes or
approximately six to seven per hour. In an eight-hour day that totals around
about 50 to 60 interruptions. The average interruption takes approximately 5
minutes. If you are receiving 50 interruptions in the day and each takes five
minutes, that totals 250 minutes, or just over four hours out of eight. About
50% of your workday.
Given the figures above, it is no wonder that some days you just don't seem to
make any progress at all. You go home at the end of the day exhausted and
puzzled why your progress has been so slow and your results so insignificant.
Peter Mitchell has been an advisor to businesses of all sizes and types for the
last 35 years. He has used all his experience to write a step-by-step guide for
business owners and mangers which is completely free.

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