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Weekly Review Always Interrupted

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  • Weekly Review Always Interrupted

    Unfortunately I work in a cubicle with low walls. There is always a lot of activity going on and people coming to visit me at unexpected times during the day. I can usually deal with this. I just take whatever I’m working on and throw it back into my inbox to pickup after the interruption is over.

    The problem is when I try to do the weekly review. This often takes 1/2 to 1 hour. The problem is I’m always getting interrupted and very rarely get to finish my weekly review. I wouldn’t mind leaving my cubicle to do the weekly review, but all my files and everything I need to review are at my desk.

    How do my fellow cubicle dwellers deal with this?

    Jason

  • #2
    If you can't get an uninterrupted hour, you've got a bigger problem than the Weekly Review. How do you get any high-focus work done?

    On the Weekly Review itself, one possibility is to arrive early or stay late on the day you hope to get it done.

    Katherine

    Comment


    • #3
      Can you schedule a small conference room for an hour and have a "meeting" with yourself?

      Comment


      • #4
        Learn to say NO or come back later (at a time that suits you) to those that interrupt.

        As to your practice of throwing your current work back into your in box that is a recipe for disaster. You need to develop a routine for those times when you must really stop and deal with a interrupter. The best practice is to acknowledge their presence then note that you're deal with them in a minute. Then note on your list were you're at, tidy your files into a holding pile and place them back into their correct spot. Then and only then do you deal with the interrupter.

        Once people start to see that you value your time they are less likely to jump in on you.

        Comment


        • #5
          Can you do it at home on Saturday? Can you leave earlier on Friday?

          Comment


          • #6
            It is hard to concentrate

            Originally posted by kewms
            If you can't get an uninterrupted hour, you've got a bigger problem than the Weekly Review. How do you get any high-focus work done?

            On the Weekly Review itself, one possibility is to arrive early or stay late on the day you hope to get it done.

            Katherine
            Yeah, this is a problem. I'm a computer programmer, so I find it really hard to write code sometimes in this noisy cubicle farm. I don't know what I can do about that though. Every job I've ever worked in (except my very first ironically) has been a cubicle farm. No one seems to understand that programmers need to concentrate. Only the managers that don't actually do any programming get offices with doors. I usually just listen to my ipod to drown out the other noise going on.

            Jason

            Comment


            • #7
              What about my computer?

              Originally posted by jethro
              Can you schedule a small conference room for an hour and have a "meeting" with yourself?
              Yes, I thought about this, but I really need all the stuff in outlook and my files to do the review. Should I just print everything out and do everything with pen and paper? But then I'd have to go back to outlook and enter all my notes back into the system.

              Jason

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by gnugrep
                Yes, I thought about this, but I really need all the stuff in outlook and my files to do the review. Should I just print everything out and do everything with pen and paper? But then I'd have to go back to outlook and enter all my notes back into the system.

                Jason
                I hadn't thought about that, Jason. I'm paper-based except for my Outlook calendar, which I print at least once a week so I have it with me even when I'm away from my computer. Because I'm fortunate to have a fair amount of schedule flexibility, I've even done my review in a study room at the local public library. Let me tell you, that's an ideal location for pure focus.

                Any things identified during the review that need to be added to the Outlook calendar are just written on the paper copy, then dumped into In when I return to the office.

                Comment


                • #9
                  PDA Option?

                  Originally posted by gnugrep
                  Yes, I thought about this, but I really need all the stuff in outlook and my files to do the review. Should I just print everything out and do everything with pen and paper? But then I'd have to go back to outlook and enter all my notes back into the system.

                  Jason
                  Could you invest in a PDA of some type? You could install and sync it to your Outlook files, then take the PDA with you to some quiet place for review and setting up NAs.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Use iPod and headphones.

                    Originally posted by gnugrep
                    I'm a computer programmer, so I find it really hard to write code sometimes in this noisy cubicle farm. I don't know what I can do about that though.
                    I know many programmers who deal with this problem using iPod and headphones. They are wirting code and debugging while listening to the music that helps them to concentrate.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ReBuild
                      As to your practice of throwing your current work back into your in box that is a recipe for disaster.
                      If that is the case, it's David Allen's recipe that Jason is cooking with. From David and Merlin Mann's Productive Talk on Interruptions podcast:

                      "All you have to do is to make sure that when stuff is coming at you, what you're doing is to take whatever work you're doing--if you decide to answer the phone, and stop doing whatever you're doing, you know, and many times I do, cause hey, what's on the phone call? I just take what I'm doing and throw it back in the in-basket, pick up the phone, pick up a pen, I'm taking input, whatever that input's coming in."


                      That's a pretty shiny endorsement. I may have mis-transcribed a word or two, but not any that would change the meaning here. I can't imagine I've taken that out of context.

                      The recipe for disaster, I would think, is using the in-box to store work besides one single item that's been interrupted. Tossing the current thing there--particularly if you keep "In" at or near zero or have the standard that after resolving an interuption, that's the first place you look--I think is all right. Always tossing in your current project when you switch focus to something else (and letting them sit there and stack up) probably IS a recipe for disaster, but as an interruption-handler, it seems like a sound enough strategy to me.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Know how you feel

                        Jason,

                        I can really relate to what you are going through. I've had an office for the last 18 months and found the ability to close my door a key benefit. Along comes a major project (six sigma implementation) and a whole lot of us got relocated from (read: kicked out of our ) offices to make way for team members.

                        My strategies so far for dealing with Corporate drive by's and interruptors include:

                        1) Placing plants in strategic lines of site where interuptors park themselves hoping to engage your view. They have to step around the plants on the floor to stand where they normally do when interrupting. Other physical barriers could help as well.

                        2) Maintain focus on your screen or written document. Just don't look at people that walk by. If interruptors catch your eye then they've got you!! It's really hard to not look at first, but after sticking with it for a while it seems to be working for me.

                        3) The use of the iPod mentioned before has also worked well, but I've found you have to pick your music carefully or it can become a distraction. I've also missed a few phone calls when I've had the volume too loud!! You can also just sit there with earphones on and not have any music playing. People walking by don't know the difference.

                        4) I've always scheduled the weekly review as a recurring appointment in Outlook, so that if people try to get me at that time, they'll see a "busy" inidcator in my calendar. Doesn't stop the walk up interruptors, but it helps.

                        I like the point made earlier on keeping the interupptor waiting while you take the time to pack up your current work, before allowing them to talk to you. Good stuff!

                        Good luck with managing your interruptions. I hope you can find some peace and space to make your weekly reviews happen.

                        Regards, Warren

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Put the current work to inbox in case of interruption.

                          Originally posted by ReBuild
                          As to your practice of throwing your current work back into your in box that is a recipe for disaster.
                          David Allen recommends to put the current work to inbox in case of interruption (GTD Connect Video section / "Coaching on GTD" category / "Using Your Inbox Effectively")

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yeah, this is a problem. I try to resolve it with headphones and monsters patience

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              IF (and it's a big IF) you keep In at or very near zero, then tossing the stuff into IN whenever you are done makes sense to me. You probably finished at least one item on your check list, and rather than create a delay between finishing one set of work and the beginning of another whilst you rework your list, you toss the old in IN and start something new. Then, when you go to process (which you do regularly), you can update several items on the list at once.

                              I've starting doing this because I was starting to feel like the system was overwhelming the work. Now, at least by the end of the day, the checklists are updated, but I'm not looking at Omnioutliner 1000s of times. I'm still experimenting, but it seems to be working out for now.



                              Originally posted by maxleibman
                              If that is the case, it's David Allen's recipe that Jason is cooking with. From David and Merlin Mann's Productive Talk on Interruptions podcast:

                              "All you have to do is to make sure that when stuff is coming at you, what you're doing is to take whatever work you're doing--if you decide to answer the phone, and stop doing whatever you're doing, you know, and many times I do, cause hey, what's on the phone call? I just take what I'm doing and throw it back in the in-basket, pick up the phone, pick up a pen, I'm taking input, whatever that input's coming in."


                              That's a pretty shiny endorsement. I may have mis-transcribed a word or two, but not any that would change the meaning here. I can't imagine I've taken that out of context.

                              The recipe for disaster, I would think, is using the in-box to store work besides one single item that's been interrupted. Tossing the current thing there--particularly if you keep "In" at or near zero or have the standard that after resolving an interuption, that's the first place you look--I think is all right. Always tossing in your current project when you switch focus to something else (and letting them sit there and stack up) probably IS a recipe for disaster, but as an interruption-handler, it seems like a sound enough strategy to me.

                              Comment

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