Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Excuse Me, But...

I used to have an old poster on my wall that read "I hate it when someone talks while I'm interrupting."

I thought of this poster last week. I was talking to a friend when another person came up to us and said, "I hate to interrupt, but..." And then she kept on talking. I listened for a while, to see what was so important, but didn't hear anything of interest or importance. I just walked away. Did she really hate to interrupt? I don't think so. I think she was just rude and didn't even know it.

It seems like there are constant interruptions during the day. The minute I sit down to a meal, there's a phone call. If I start to type on the computer, someone will knock on the door. If I sit down to read a chapter in a book, dozens of things suddenly need to be done around the house.

Interruptions keep you from getting your work done. When I was teaching, there were constant interruptions during the school day. There were phone calls from parents during class. An unscheduled assembly was suddenly scheduled. Messages were hand-delivered almost every hour. Announcements came over the central speaker systems at the worst times (like during a test).

Interruptions are annoying and irritating and I hate them, but what can you do about them? Complaining doesn't help. It may have some temporary effect, but within a short time, the interruptions will start again.

So what can you do? I've learned that you just have to accept the fact that you're going to be interrupted and roll with it. Oh, wait, excuse me. I have a phone call......


  1. Aceptance is the first step towards dealing with any problem, but the constant interruptions and multi-tasking are responsible for the reduced ability to focus. Kids are just not able to focus on one thing for long, which is such a pity! Cellphones should NOT be allowed during class hours. I think it's disrespectful. They can be turned off or put on a viberation mode.