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CIE time: another myth November 10, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Experiences, Seen Elsewhere.
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LEAN suggests that you schedule “CIE” time — calls, interruptions, and e-mails. From their blog:

* Plan 1/2 hour (morning, lunchtime, late afternoon) 3x’s a day to deal with CIE’s.
* When you have to get into a “work flow zone” (working on presentation, in an interview, etc.), drive your calls to voice mail and shut down email.
* Publish your schedule with your teammates (post outside your cube/office – with a sign over it – – STOP – READ MY SCHEDULE BEFORE ENTERING) so people know when you are in a “work flow zone”.
* Make sure your peers know that just because you’re not on the phone and/or in an interview, it doesn’t mean you are not working and CAN be interrupted. Posting your schedule + discussing this with your peers can help eliminate 80% of the interruptions that you actually can avoid (versus client calls, etc.)

cs_ptiWow. Talk about workplace utopia. If anyone at my company — or any other company I’ve ever worked for — tried that, they’d be roasted alive. (Except for item 2, but I’ll get to that in a minute.) So you want to basically tell people “you can’t bother me except at these specific times”? Yeah, good luck.

First of all, we live in a “now” culture. If you don’t do the job right now — or at least acknowledge it right away — you’re not doing your job and you’ll be subject to someone showing up to ask you if you got their message. Which brings us to item 3, posting your schedule; what about that sales guy, or that annoying guy who always says “I know you posted that this is your work flow zone but I really need your help”, or the secretary who keeps sending you phone calls from the one annoying customer because everyone else has screamed at her that they have real work to do but you’re too nice? What do you think the likelihood is of your work flow zone ever being uninterrupted? That is, unless you work after business hours.

Yep. Scheduling calls, interruptions, and e-mails is a joke, and in this economic situation, if you try to do anything other than everything right this very second you’ll find yourself out of a job.

I do want to mention item 2, however — route away calls and e-mails when you’re in your work flow zone. People by and large are lazy; if they e-mail or call and you don’t answer, they’re not that likely to walk over unless you’re really needed for something. That’s probably the only useful takeaway from the article.

Really want to get into a work flow zone? Work from home.

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