One of the most popular jokes in our family right now is a knock-knock joke.
Interrupting cow who?
Moo! Note that the timing is everything here. You need to yell out your Moo before the other person finishes the Interrupting cow who? portion of the joke, thereby interrupting them. Trust me, it’s hilarious! If you spend time with younger kids or with adults who need to lighten up (and who doesn’t?!?), try this out on them and see for yourself.
My kids have been off from school for a week and it’s been an adjustment for all of us as we unlearn the schedule and pattern of the school year and try to settle into a summer rhythm. When and how I got my work done over the school year isn’t effective anymore; there are too many interruptions.
Do you ever feel that way in your job? Are the interruptions taking over and preventing you from doing your best work? I’ve been in roles where that’s been the case and it’s frustrating for both the interrupter and the interruptee.
But there’s another way to think about the interruptions: Have you considered the possibility that the interruptions ARE your job?
When people stop by your desk to ask questions, it’s not because they’ve been plotting all day to sabotage your work when you finally get a moment alone. It’s because they lack clarity on something and believe you can provide it.
Those problems that get brought to you to fix are the things that someone else couldn’t resolve on their own (Send them back to try resolving it on their own first if they haven’t!). They need your unique insight and advice on another way to approach the issue.
I’ll bet if you spend some time thinking about your various interruptions throughout the day, they are mostly questions, requests for help, problem-solving, or advice. They are a chance to build productive relationships. A chance to share your knowledge. They are an opportunity.
We need to reframe how we look at interruptions. They aren’t annoyances to be ignored or brushed aside – they are often the exact thing that our companies or families need us to do in order for us all to be successful.
And sometimes when an interruption is taking place, it helps me remember to reframe it, lighten up, and really listen when I whisper to myself, “Moo.”