Handling Disruptions

If someone interrupts you while you are working on something and have that mental momentum where you are in a state of flow, take just a moment to write down some key words that later will bring you back to your thought.

If the interruption is at a lower priority than what you are engaged in, here is how to diplomatically deflect the interruption without hurting the other person’s feelings. It is a four-step process.

Start with “I WANT TO . . . .” (1st part)
I want to talk with you about it.

“AND I NEED TO . . . . ” ( 2nd part)
And I need to finish this before I do anything else.

Ask a question. (3rd part)
“Can we talk in just a few minutes?”

Acknowledge their understanding. (4th part)
“Thanks. I really appreciate your understanding.”

Notice that NOWHERE have I said “I can’t talk to you now,” or “You will have to come back,” or “I am right in the middle of something and you will have to wait.”

I am not rejecting the person. Instead, I’m acknowledging the person but letting the person know that I have a need also and that we can handle the situation through mutual understanding.