Knock, Knock. Who’s there? Interrupting cow. Interrupting cow wh–MOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Respect the stop sign when you see it on my office door. I taught that to my kids at a young age. Why do I find it so important? When it comes to creative work, there is a high need for interrupt-free time. The ability to shut out the outside world allows one to get into the flow. Interrupt-free time increases the amount of time invested in creative work. It increases speed to value. Interrupts are also one of the key causes of making mistakes in work products. So interrupt free time increases quality and reduces rework later. Again, this focus increases speed to value. I have worked with many teams to install the concept of interrupt-free time. This is often a challenge in work environments where everyone expects instant responses to phone calls, text messages, instant messages, and random drop-by-the-office visits. One team put up “do not cross police tape” around their cubes. At first, others were offended by this yellow obstruction to the status-quo. After people saw the results generated by the team, they began to implement their own versions of stop signs. Have you created your interrupt-free zone?

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett
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