This Week in PCM : Three Steps for Planning for Interruptions

04052016 PositivityChange No Interruptions

 

Life happens. Interruptions occur and we must deal with them while still delivering our work on time, on topic and under budget! Even though we want to always experience positive change, negative things happen. We must adequately prepare ourselves because the work still must get done! Here are my top three things to complete your work even with interruptions.

Add some cushion

Don’t schedule so tight. There will always be some interruptions. I allocate 10% buffer just in case of emergencies. You need a time cushion just in case you have to be the backup representative at a meeting you’re not even supposed to be in because your other colleague is unavailable. Time cushions enable you enough lead time to get back on track and complete your work.

Develop contingency plans

A contingency plan is a backup plan. You need at least one contingency plan in place just in case your original plan doesn’t go according to plan. There are always changes in budgets, priorities, and time so you have to adjust to ensure that the work still gets done. For instance, your operating budget is $1 million but due to the recession, it has been cut to $500,000. Your contingency plan should have been developed just in case one of the triple constraints (scope, cost and time) is cut. Your project scope will have to be cut too. No one cares that the budget is cut. They still want the work done.

I recommend having more than one contingency plan. I have experienced too much change and turbulence in the workplace that I have been forced to create multiple contingency plans. Therefore, have not only plan B but C, D and E if necessary!

Learn to reprioritize

Sometimes after interruptions, your work task priorities shift. Some things are more important than others. When there are quarterly or end-of-the-year deadlines, time—sensitive projects are higher priorities. Quarterly time-sensitive matters and urgent deadlines are interruptions because they only occur every three to four times a year. If your other work shares the same deadline as the high-priority work, management may let you delay submitting it until after the quarter.

Adding cushion, developing contingency plans and learning to reprioritize enable you to bounce back from workplace interruptions and finish your work on time.

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