Time Bandits: Six Time Loss Interupption Issues

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Do you often find yourself thinking or saying, “I have too much to do and not enough time to do it?’ If so, you are in good company. We live in an interruption culture that treats peoples’ time like the cheapest commodity, instead of a precious, finite resource that measures out their very lives. In fact, U.S. companies waste $588 billion annually because of interruptions, according to Basex research.

Cohen Brown Management Group’s research confirms this problem of interruptions: Office workers at all levels report losing three to five hours of productive time every day due to unwanted, unneeded interruptions. Ninety-three percent of workers say “yes” when asked if they are “often interrupted” at work.

This interruption culture poses serious issues that tend to get overlooked or mistakenly considered like bad weather: out of our control, so why complain.

1. It’s an addiction

We might lament our interruption culture, but often the truth is we like it. We love our cell phones, the Internet, our ready access to everybody and everything. Even though we know our best ideas emerge and our best work gets done when we enable ourselves to concentrate without interruption, we still give in to interruptions. If others don’t interrupt us, we do it ourselves. We are addicted to interruptions.

2. Interruptions destroy workflow

You can’t be in construction management and not worship at the altar of workflow. In the business of construction, orchestrating tasks so that work flows like water is one of a business owner’s top priorities. Any time that workflow is disrupted, it’s not just one person or one step that’s thrown off course. No matter how efficiently it’s dispersed, the flow stops.

3. Restarts take energy

“Now, where was I?” Fine, the interruption is over, and now you can get back to what you were doing. But probably the mood shifted, or the website timed out, or you put your tools down, or your inspiration evaporated, or the person you were working with walked away. You have to spend extra time and effort just to get back to where you already were—if you can indeed reconstruct that place.

4. Momentum evaporates

You know when work gets fun? When you really sink your teeth into something and you get energy from knowing you’ve got something under way that you’re going to be proud of. You know the thrill of cresting a hill on your bike and then going like the wind? That’s momentum. Interruptions are like poking a stick in your bike’s wheel.

5. Do-overs eat up time

Many of our worst mistakes happen when interruptions divert our attention and cause us to take our eye off the ball and relax the focus on quality. Now time starts to slip away. It takes time to have someone point out the error, time to apologize and promise to fix it, time to do the actual rework to make it right, and so on. Do-overs can easily take twice the amount of time as doing it right the first time.

6. Distress manifestations spoil productivity

It’s highly frustrating to go through interruptions multiple times a day. The distress can vary by the severity of the interruption and how rough the day already was, but people who are interrupted experience mental fatigue, irritability, loss of concentration, reduced efficiency and reduced productivity.

In part two of this three-part series, Brown will offer guidance on how to prevent these time loss interruptions.


Source : Construction Executive