At Vickie Milazzo Institute we have lots of policies and procedures. Not as many as we had at the hospital, but still enough to fill an electronic employee manual to overflowing. One of my favorite policies is the Institute’s “Interruptions” policy. This simple policy sets up a hierarchy of reasons and times when a person working “on drive-by,” as we call a closed door, can be interrupted. The intention behind this policy is to give us all the space and time we need to do that work which calls for uninterrupted concentration. Of course, this policy is routinely and regularly ignored.
Like any other Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, whether you’re working at home with family around you, in an office with other CLNC® consultants and attorneys around or camped out in a Starbucks with your laptop, I can guarantee you’ll be interrupted. I personally think there is a secret alarm or flashing blue light that goes off the moment I shut my office door to focus. It seems to be a shout-out for people to start lining up to interrupt and ask me questions that range from the important (How many pieces do you want to print of the WomenEmbracingLeadership.com postcards?), to the mundane (Can I go to lunch at 12:15 instead of 12:30 today?) and to the ones that are so goofy that I won’t even mention them.
I handle interruptions pretty easily – I’m sure it’s a result of my nursing training and experience. Haven’t we all had that shift where everything happens at once and once it settles down, it all happens again? Nursing teaches us to handle interruptions with grace and aplomb and still keep our cool. That’s why I know that by letting someone interrupt me, they can get the answer they need and get on with their work, which keeps them productive.
But other than all those outsiders, there’s one person who is responsible for interrupting the work you’re doing in your legal nurse consulting business and keeping you from getting to the really big things you need to do – like that report for your favorite attorney-client or reading that boring deposition of the doctor who’s accused of implanting unneeded cardiac stents. That one person is probably responsible for more interruptions than anyone else in your home or office. I’ll give you one clue – it’s not your significant other.
Who is the responsible party? That’s correct, it’s you. Today we live in a world where we are surrounded by a plethora of interruptions – there are email pop-up notifications, Facebook postings, Twitter streams to read, voicemail on cell and office phones, not to mention the latest news of interest to Certified Legal Nurse Consultants that pops up on my Google® homepage. While writing this blog, my email notification flashed at least 15 times alerting me to what may (or may not be) a new emergency. I won’t know until I switch myself to email mode and start responding. Right now I’m in blog mode, which means that all those other distractions like Twitter and Facebook will need to wait until this job is complete. Could I allow these communications to interrupt me if I wanted to? Yes, but I won’t, and you can train yourself not to allow them to either.
It’s a matter of discipline. When we’re working on a difficult project we either get so immersed in it that we forget time, place and surroundings (once, just once, Tom had to remind me to come to dinner) or we find the project so boring that we practically look for interruptions (you click the refresh button on your Facebook wall and when nothing changes click it again just to be sure). In the first state our focus gives us the discipline to work without interruptions. The second state is where our discipline gives us the focus to keep from interrupting ourselves.
In this holiday season we need all of the time we can spare to enjoy the holidays. It’s more important than ever to work in as focused a manner as possible. If you can interrupt the interrupter you’ll get a whole lot more done and have time to truly enjoy that holiday eggnog with your special someone.
Success Is Inside!
|P.S.||Comment and share your best or worst interruption stories!|