Ask your rubber duck

Can I get 2 minutes of your time?

‘Of course’, you reply. ‘I am quite busy, but I can spare 2 minutes for you.’ Only to realize that those 2 minutes have turned into 15 minutes and ultimately distracted you from what you were originally doing.

Bonjour, in this video, I want to share one simple trick to make sure you are far less interrupted.

Try to remember a time where you are at your desk and you’re working on something important. You’re really focusing, you’re getting really into it. Your whole brain is working on this one thing. Then out of the blue one of your colleagues pops in or calls to say, “Hey, can I grab two minutes of your time?” Unfortunately, by the time the interruption is over, you have completely lost your train of thought.

Not only that, imagine that what they’re asking is not particularly important. It could have waited or even worse, they shouldn’t have even asked you and found the solution by themselves.

It’s not uncommon for people to interrupt one of their colleagues for something they can figure out easily themselves. But they just need to talk over it.

One of my trainers, Josh, was working with a leader who shared a simple technique to reduce interruptions. The rubber duck technique.

He bought every member of his team a rubber duck and implemented a simple rule: Ask your rubber duck first: “If you’ve got something to ask someone else in the team, always always ask your rubber duck first.”

This is how it works. If you have something to ask someone else, first take your rubber duck, look at it and ask the question out loud. Then wait for three minutes. If after three minutes the rubber duck hasn’t come with the answer, then you can go and interrupt your colleague.

What is the point here? Of course, the rubber duck is not going to answer, but quite often you know the answer or have a few good suggestions to your question. So before rushing to ask someone, take the time to think about it.

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip. Ask your rubber duck. Have a wonderful day!

A bientôt,

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