The Time Diet is based on the idea that you are the one in control of your time. The problem is that sometimes it doesn’t feel like that! Have you ever been in the middle of something and been interrupted when a friend, colleague or family member asks, “Hey, do you have a second?” Before you even have a chance to answer they will launch into whatever it is they need from you and now your focus is interrupted. Also, I guarantee that it will take longer than a “second.”
It’s not that these interruptions are trivial. They are often questions or problems that someone would like you to weigh-in on. The Time Diet recognizes that the needs of others are important and that it’s unfair to put off a task that directly impacts the productivity of someone else. However, it’s important that fulfilling the needs of others does not constantly interrupt your own work. The next time someone asks you if you “have a second” when you’re in the middle something, just say no! After you politely but firmly explain that you are in the middle of a task, set up a time to talk to this person later. This could be as simple as asking them to email you their question, or telling them that you’ll call them after dinner. It is important to say when you’ll give this person attention. Just telling them to “wait until later” sends the message that their needs are unimportant.
By the same token, don’t catch yourself being the person that’s interrupting! It’s important to respect other people’s time just like you want your time to be respected. If your question is not urgent and you know the person you need is working, leave them a note or quick message instead. Your friends and colleagues will thank you for it!