Is it a fire? Is it yours? Does it need to be taken care of right now?
I remember when I worked as a teacher in a school in West Palm. We taught the children to become more independent while working in small groups or on their own. The teacher would be working with 1 student or a couple of students and did not want to be interrupted. The rule was that if it was a fire (major disaster) or someone was bleeding, you could interrupt. Otherwise, you could ask another student or decide to do something else that was productive. The child could responsibly, use the bathroom, sharpen his pencil, or get up to get a needed material. (All these options would be modeled and practiced before they did it on their own.)
In our life people interrupt us at work and at home. It is possible not to meet our goals if we continuously stop for others.
At my last conference, we were discussing the importance of stopping, analyzing and deciding. Something I forget to do sometimes.
I believe we can prevent some of the interruptions by foreseeing what others that depend on us may need, and seeing how we can give them the strategies and tools to solve some things themselves.
Interruptions will come anyway, so here is an idea. Ask yourself,
1. Is it a fire?
What is the urgency and intensity of the problem?
2. Is it my fire?
Am I the only one that knows how to put it out? Can I use this moment to train someone? Can I delegate? Can we partner on the task?
3. Does it need to be put out this instant?
Can I finish what I am doing, and then deal with it?
We can’t have a rule to resolve everything right away or to delay every time there is an interruption because all interruptions are different.
So, STOP! ANALYZE! DECIDE! It takes a few minutes, but the consequences may make a major difference in reaching your goals and supporting others in ways they can become more independent.