The Happiness Connection  

Interruptions are a gift

When I taught Microsoft Outlook courses, I advised my students to check their email only at specific times.

If it wasn’t one of those times, they should shut their email programs down or at least turn off the notification icons and alerts. 

This doesn’t work for some jobs such as receptionist. But if you have projects to work on or reports to write, this process will provide a major increase in your productivity.

You can lose hours of your workday if your concentration is continually being broken. 

In our world of instant gratification, clients and colleagues tend to want your attention immediately. 

If an email goes unanswered for an hour, you might find another one arriving and then another one, and another one, until they get a response or learn to be patient.

Getting back to people immediately may be great for customer service, but it does little for maximizing your efficiency.

Add to that your natural curiosity. The arrival of a message is likely to draw your mind away from whatever it was doing.

  • Who messaged me?
  • Is it important?
  • Was there an interesting social media post I should know about?

When your flow is interrupted, research shows it takes up to 30 minutes to re-focus. No wonder you can have long days at work when you feel like you didn’t accomplish anything.

Interruptions can cause chaos, especially when there are too many of them. Constantly being pulled away from the job at hand can be exhausting. 

It may feel like all interruptions should be avoided, but that isn’t the case. Interruptions can be a powerful way of shaking you out of a state of autopilot to pull you into awareness. 

Your mind loves efficiency. Why concentrate on how to drive home after work, when you can go into an autopilot state and rest your mind or think of something else. 

Once you start your journey, the rest just happens. I can think of many times when I suddenly realized I didn’t turn where I should have. 

Autopilot kicked in and I stopped being consciously aware of what I was doing. It was taking me home or to the office although I was intending to go somewhere else.

Habits are great, but they have their limitations. Not everything benefits from becoming mindless. 

Sure, it is great not to have to give your attention to brushing your teeth. You’ve done it countess times, but you don’t stop to smell the roses or enjoy life in the moment if you are on autopilot. 

This is where interruptions step into their superpower. They get your attention. Once that is achieved, that power is transferred to you. You get to choose how you want to move forward.

The pandemic is a great example of a global interruption. It shook us out of habitual living. Life as we knew it changed.

Many people I talk to enjoyed some of the resulting changes that COVID has brought. More family time and a slower pace of life are just two examples.

I see major interruptions as gifts. Like being awakened from a deep sleep, your first reaction may be fear, or annoyance, but once you take stock of the situation, you are in a place of power – if you want it. 

  • What do you want to do?
  • How do you want to move forward?
  • What type of experience do you want to have?

Interruption fosters awareness. Awareness encourages choice. Choice lets you step into your power.

It might feel like an annoyance or chaos creator, but interruption can also be a powerful gift.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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