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Distracted by your boss? Read this
Sunder Ramachandran
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In Distractions at work? Stay focused we told you how to deal with unwanted phone calls, SMSes and e-mails that disrupt your daily work schedule.

Other work hazards include co-workers dropping by your desk to chat, the boss micromanaging your daily schedule to death (and ruining your work process in the bargain) and clients who call frantically. 

Here are ways to deal with these.

Manage the Boss

Does your boss keep interrupting you ever so often and speing deadline after deadline on you?

Don't work yourself up into a frenzy. Here's what you can do.

Maybe you could start having brief meetings with your boss at the start of the day. During this time, share your key priorities and commitments for the day. Also inform your boss of the lean periods in the day so that s/he can reach you for a quick review or discussion.

After that, pin up your 'to-do list' in a visible area of your workstation. This will keep your boss assured that you are doing office related work.

If you find youself overwhelmed with deadlines, communicate this to your boss.

If time is an issue, then you could outline your list of current commitments which could get derailed if you take on a new project. 

If skill is an issue, be clear upfront. If you don't feel that you have adequate skills to take on a task, it is okay. It is better to acknowledge your limitations up front than to feel burdened and pressured later. If you are not available to help out, offer another qualified resource like a colleague.

You must understand that knowing what you can handle and what you can't is a strong point.

Manage your colleagues
Everyone has colleagues who love to chat. 
If a colleague comes to your desk, explain that you are busy and ask to set an alternate time to meet. By standing up, you give a visual signal that reinforces your words.

When you find yourself indulging in idle gossip or non-productive chitchat, simply say, "Hey, I have some work to do, I will see you later", and walk away. Close your door occasionally if you have one whenever you want some uninterrupted personal time.

No one is saying that you should ignore all your colleagues. Please don't. But, save chitchat for lunchtime or teatime.

What if it is not chit-chat but work? For instance, a new colleague may have too many questions and expect you to spoon-feed him/her.
Answer basic questions and inform them of the other resources that they could tap like web sites, manuals, research reports or other members of the team. If you have to meet a deadline and really don't have the time, tell them in advance.

On the other hand, a colleagues may keep asking you for feedback on his reports and work.

If your colleagues' research/business responsibilities do not impact your day-to-day work, job performance or career goals, only express an interest by way of supportive conversation, or perhaps get a brief overview over lunch. When busy, convey that you appreciate their openness to feedback but are busy with some other projects.

The tough one is keeping a tab on colleagues who work on the same assignments as you.
If you delegate a task or assignment to a colleague, let it go, unless it is your specific responsibility to oversee it. If you must follow-up, then instead of phone calls or a chat, send a reminder e-mail and copy some senior people in the organisation. This will ensure that your colleagues know that they are being watched over by people who matter.

Manage your clients

A commitment to customer satisfaction is the key to success today. While nothing from the client/customer can be considered a distraction, there are times when not setting the expectation right may lead to precious time being wasted.

If your customers or clients keep constantly calling for simple issues, you must take actions to remedy this.

Educate them about your website and encourage them to visit it on a regular basis. This will reduce repetitive calls. For example, has forecasted dozens of FAQ customers are likely to encounter and listed them on their site

Speak to your boss and recommend an automated voice response system. Customer's can find answers to their basic questions without having to speak to a real person. Most private banks follow this model quite effectively. Saves you manpower and money as well.

Identify the top 10 -15 reasons customers call or e-mail your company and provide them to your customers in the form of a pamphlet/brochure. You can even send them a simple e-mail with the subject line 'Most asked questions about our product/service'

But all customers will not be that obliging. If they are unreasonably demanding, send an initial reply immediately, certainly no later than one business day.

The easiest and most economical means for an initial reply is to have an automatic reply setup through your complaint tracking system or other software packages. Auto responders will allow you to get back to multiple people without having to invest any time at all. To learn more about auto responders, you can visit:

Some software packages are sophisticated enough to read the customer's e-mail, pick up on key words and reply based on email content.

Other simpler packages simply respond with content you input. For example: Thank you for contacting us. Your e-mail has been forwarded to our refund Department. We will contact you within three business days.

How do you deal with distractions at the work place? Any tips you would like to share with our readers? Post your experiences/suggestions

Sunder works as a Trainer with a leading global BPO.

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Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 4

Sub: distracted by the boss

my prob is litte different. my boss loves me a lot. & always try to talk with me,to go out with me. he is married. ...

Posted by kali

Sub: Distracted by the boss

I have read this article. But my problem is with a boss who is self centred and disorderly. There is no fixed time for him ...

Posted by buddhanathan

Sub: Distracted by you boss

Take a small break from work and informally meet together with 4-5 close collegues ,even you boss can be included once a week over a ...

Posted by Malcolm Remedios

Sub: If the case is reverse

if the case just opposite, means if your boss tells do not work. and tells do your personal work. and i am ready to work ...

Posted by sudhir


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