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SuperCompetent: The Six Keys to Perform at Your Productive Best by Laura Stack

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Chapter 7. YOU! Off My Planet!

SUPERCOMPETENT Hero Thinking:

I set appropriate boundaries and protect my time from others.

SIMPLY COMPETENT Zero Thinking:

I allow others to tell me where to be and when; other people dictate my schedule.

Interruptions account for a large portion of wasted productivity in anyone's life, whether you work in an office or at home. I'm reminded of the guy who was pulled over by a cop for speeding, who muttered, "What a jerk!" As the cop approached, his little kid in the back seat yelled out, "Here comes the jerk!"—and of course the ticket was inevitable at that point. But isn't that how we are as adults when people come into our office to interrupt us? "Here comes the jerk!" Unfortunately, we can't exactly say that at work (though you might say it in your head).

The Six Ds of Interruptions

In general, interruptions fall into six basic categories. I like mnemonics (as you can probably tell by now), so I came up with all Ds for the interruptions that waste our time—the common, frustrating things that are most likely to crop up during the day. They are Deadlines, Disruptions, Dependencies, Discrepancies, Distractions, and Drop-Ins.

  1. Deadlines. Do you tend to be affected by deadline-driven activities? Are the boxes on your calendar bursting? Let's say you have a lot of meetings and scheduled phone calls, plus so-and-so is having a retirement party, and such-and-such is having a birthday party—and of course, you've scheduled lunch. You can't possibly get any work ...

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