I dread coming back to my desk

Bonjour. This is Cyril from Work Smarter Live Better.

In this video I want to share one simple advice to dramatically increase your focus at work.

I was working with a leader called Victor, the head of Risk and Compliance for a large financial company in Australia. Victor said something interesting to me: “Cyril, I dread going back to my desk.” He then explained further: “When I come back to my desk after a meeting, there is often quite a few people who want to have a word with me. And so it’s really hard for me to work at my desk. There’s always so many people interrupting me.”

So, I made one suggestion to him: “Victor, you should batch your regulars.” The regulars are the people who regularly interrupt you. Batching the regulars is batching your discussions with these people. For example, you might suggest to each of your direct reports to have a regular quick catch up every week, 15 to 25 minutes. And then you enforce a simple rule: whenever one of you want to ask something which can wait until this catch up, rather than interrupting the other person, you write it down and bring it to the catch up.

So, we put this in place for Victor. A few weeks after, I asked him how this new system was working. He answered the following: “Cyril, it’s quite interesting. I have had to educate my team. At the beginning, they were still trying to interrupt me, even after implementing this new system. But after a while they got it. And it’s working really well. I have reduced interruptions by roughly 80 to 85%”.

WOW!! Very significant. A simple change which had a big impact. I was delighted.

And then Victor added something very intriguing: ‘Cyril, one thing that I didn’t see coming is that 50% of what people write down to talk to me, by the time we have the meeting, they have already found a solution by themselves. It empowers them to find answers by themselves rather than asking me”.

I loved it.

This is this week’s Work Smarter, Live Better tip. It is called batch the regulars. Think about who are your regulars and if / how you could batch them.

Have a wonderful day,

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