Interruptions mean things that unexpectedly disrupt work. A task in progress may be interrupted for external reasons by colleagues, partners and clients, or when you suddenly think of something that makes you interrupt your current task and switch to another. Some interruptions are important for work, but these can be managed, and unnecessary ones should be eliminated.

Tips for eliminating interruptions

Interruptions are an essential and important part of today’s networked tasks, in which work is done together and everyone has their own role to play in larger sets of tasks. Interruptions become problems at work when they are not managed and interfere with the flow of work. Are interruptions part of everyday work at your workplace? Do they need to be managed? Are there situations in your work where you should not be interrupted? In some situations, do you have to interrupt others’ work or is your own work interrupted at a bad time?

Why should interruptions be controlled?

It is important to control interruptions because research shows that unnecessary interruptions weaken the flow of work and increase cognitive strain. An interruption requires you to shift your attention to another task and update your memory when you return to the interrupted task; this takes time away from the work itself. An unforeseen shift from one task to another increases time pressure at work and may lead to errors and exposes you to stress. Studies have shown that a large proportion of interrupted tasks may remain uncompleted during the working day in question. It is not advisable to work in a way in which tasks are continuously interrupted.

Download a room chart to help control interruptions: