Workday Interruptions Can Be a Killer

Workday interruptions

Those little workday interruptions aren’t just annoying. They cost your company money. Did you know that after being interrupted it takes the average person 8 minutes to get back to work. It’s amazing that it take that long to get back to focusing on what you were working on. That means if you are interrupted 2 times an hour at work, you spend a quarter of your day in “down time”, trying to get back into your groove. That’s a lot of lost productivity.

To help you achieve maximum effort use these tips.

  • Try to sit away from the office talkers
  • Keep your door closed if you need to concentrate
  • Stay away from the internet/social media.

From Inc. Magazine, “According to a survey by market research firm uSamp, while social media use can encourage coordination among employees, there’s no denying it’s a huge distraction.”

Other ways to eliminate those little workday interruptions is to turn off your cell phone ringer, only attend meetings where you are required and of course, get organized.

The average American spend 55 minutes a day looking for things they know they own, but they can't find. Click To Tweet

In conclusion, if you spend half your waking hours at work, that means you spend almost a half-hour each day being unproductive at work. To learn more read The Top 6 Office Distractions from

What are some ways that you cancel out those little interruptions in your day?

Share this post:

Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. Janet Barclay on December 30, 2019 at 8:54 am

    And this is exactly why I now schedule most of my phone calls. That way neither party is interrupted.

    • Janet Schiesl on December 30, 2019 at 9:30 am

      I started using a scheduling app recently. I love it for just this reason. No one is interrupted and everyone is prepared for the conversation.

  2. Sara Skillen on December 30, 2019 at 9:15 am

    Interruptions are the worst – and those statistics are troubling. I sometimes use/recommend noise-cancelling headphones (whether actually listening to something or not) to signal to others that it’s not a good time to ask a question or chit chat.

    • Janet Schiesl on December 30, 2019 at 9:34 am

      I like this idea. If I worked in a open office I’d do this. I just got earbuds for Christmas and used them when I went grocery shopping and listened to a couple of podcasts. I find grocery shopping mindless so I was able to focus on the podcast.

  3. Linda Samuels on December 30, 2019 at 10:26 am

    One of the best things I did was to turn off the beeps and dings on my devices. It’s amazing how those sounds can interrupt your thought patterns and focus. By turning them off, it’s easier for me to manage the time I have with the priorities I’ve set. The main thing about interruptions is that they put other people’s priorities over your own. And while that’s OK if it’s intentional and desired, it’s not great to always run like that.

    I agree with Sara that the stats are “troubling.”

    • Janet Schiesl on December 30, 2019 at 2:53 pm

      Yes, I agree about the stats. I have my ringer turned off most of the time on my phone to cause less distraction.

  4. Seana Turner on December 30, 2019 at 10:57 am

    That issue of getting interrupted is a tough one, especially for people who work in a “bull pen” or open-office format. It is also so hard for Moms, who are pretty much interrupted all day long. I work with Moms on this issue, and talk about strategies for dealing with the setting in which they live and work. The public library can sometimes be a super productive place!

  5. Sabrina Quairoli on December 30, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    I found that for different tasks, I need to do different things to stay uninterrupted. I need absolute quiet and no interruptions when I am focusing on new tasks or learning a new skill. It’s super easy for me to get distracted.

    However, when I am being creative like writing or creating something, classical music helps me work more efficiently and speeds up my process.

    • Janet Schiesl on December 30, 2019 at 2:56 pm

      I switch around too. When I am trying to learn something or read something I need quiet. But I like music while doing other tasks.

  6. Hazel Thornton on December 31, 2019 at 9:32 am

    As I like to say, that’s why God created Caller ID and Voice Mail! (And there are so many more tools now, since I was saying that a lot.)

    • Janet Schiesl on December 31, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      So many tools to manage this, but I think people just don’t use them because of fear of missing out.

  7. Nancy Haworth on December 31, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    Very interesting topic! Yes, 8 minutes to get back on track after a distraction can really hinder productivity. Being in constant communication can certainly make it hard to concentrate. Unexpected texts, phone call, or e-mail alerts often interupt my day, and I’ve found it helpful to use “do not disturb” settings on my devices when I really need to concentrate.

  8. Janet Schiesl on January 1, 2020 at 6:57 am

    I am trying to leave my phone in another room, because I’m not good at just picking it up, even with no notification.

  9. Ronni Eisenberg on January 2, 2020 at 8:15 pm


    Distractions are the worst. I think mostly because it’s so hard to get back on track. And they certainly break down the hard work that’s been put into place.
    It’s shocking to see how much time is lost looking for things and wasting time. Wouldn’t you love to have those minutes, hours back?

    Great piece,

  10. Janet Schiesl on January 3, 2020 at 9:02 am

    Thanks Ronnie.
    Distractions are everywhere, so it take diligence to keep up. Don’t you think?

Leave a Comment