Sunday, February 27, 2011

Interruptions Cost You Money

My friend Barbara Dove gave me some great stats at a recent MSPU Bootcamp in Irvine. In case you're not familiar with Dove Helpdesk, you should be. Check it out at Great outsourcing stuff from very sharp woman.

Anyway, we were on a panel and Barbara mentioned some information about the effect of interruptions on profitability. So I bugged her until she sent me the info. Now I have to go read a bunch more on this. In the meantime, here are some juicy nuggets to consider:

First, people actually research Interruptions. This is a favorite topic of mine, but I was not familiar with this research.

Second, Research shows that errors are four times greater when a person is interrupted.

This is huge. Errors cost money. Period. Four times as many errors costs . . ..

Third, when it comes to technical matters, it takes an average of 15 minutes to resume work after interruption.

This is HUGE. One of my biggest mantras over the last several years has been Do Not Be Interrupt-Driven. It's in my powerpoints, my books, and in my businesses. My brother Manuel and I are vicious about setting the rules of communication and operation so that we are not constantly letting other people decide how and when we will respond to requests.

Fourth, All of this is controllable. You just need to set some policies and enforce them. Turn off those stupid Outlook popups - 90% of the time it's unimportant. Turn off the ringer on your phone. Permanently. Have a policy that you cannot be interrupted at work unless some specific criteria are met - like a green flag on your desk.

All too often we assume that we have to live in a world filled with interruptions. But unless you work in a hospital emergency room, interruptions really aren't necessary.

Make more money today. Take control of your own business.

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* “High Cost of Interruption”, Jonathan B. Spira, KM World Magazine, Sept 1, 2005.
“Beyond the Time Cost of Interruptions on Primary Task Performance: Understanding Errors”, Ratwani and Tafton, Cognitive Science Archive Proceedings, 2007, p. 1842.

* “The cost of email interruptions”, Brad Meador, March 11, 2008 blog

* “The cost of Everyday Interruptions”, George Ambler, The Practice of Leadership, Feb 6, 2008.


1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree with the importance of this subject more, Karl. That's why this subject is top of the Time Management Chapter in my book and comes out in almost all of my talks regardless of the topic.

    Interruption and Multi-tasking are the biggest 4 letter words in time management. They are a death toll to small business owners both from their own time management and from getting production out of employees.

    Good stuff, my friend.

    George Sierchio
    The Consultant's Coach


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