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Interruptions are…Hey what’s going on over there?

October 18, 2010 Leave a comment

The blog: PR-Squared.
The author: Todd Defren
The publication date: October 4, 2010.
Title of the Article: Interruptions are Evil.

The beginning of this month, Todd Defren posted an article on his blog www.pr-squared.com entitled “Interruptions are Evil.” As a father of six children, I live in a world of interruptions, admittedly sometimes welcomed. My wife and I feel an eerie stillness once all the children are tucked into bed. We laugh about it, but it is still, well weird. How has it evolved that life is now one interruption after another?

Sleep is doomed to interruptions as well. Yesterday, my son thought I had had enough sleep, and woke me up by stomping on my gut. I’m certain that parents reading this can probably drum up worse stories than that.

Well, Mr. Defren posted an article about how interruptions consume the workday. I submit that if your ‘job’ is to be a stay-at-home parent then his article acutely applies to you as well.

Mr. Defren quoted a statistic from a 2005 U.C. Irvine study that found that once started, workers were interrupted in an average of 11 minutes. It took 25 minutes for them to return to an efficient work pace after the interruption.

That would not happen to me now would it? I work in a factory while getting through school and there is no way we could get away with distractions amid the machines and workloads we are tasked with in a day. I understand home life…but a factory workday? Well…

I took a mental note yesterday of how interruptions affected my workday. Admittedly I was being trained on a new machine, so I almost felt as though it was a sure bet there would be no interruptions.

To my shock I could barely make it 30 minutes before being pulled away from my training! Other employees would want to shoot the bull, I would be asked to read and sign a memo from the administration, or I would be asked a question and be drawn into a conversation about running machines in another area of the plant. 30 minutes. Wow.

Mr. Defren proposed turning off all instant messaging, facebook windows, and twitter accounts for a specified period of time during the workday. This would guarantee a focused and productive work environment. Factory work however forbids these interactions anyway, so I submit that every employee must learn to ‘unplug’ themselves while working. This may be a pipe dream, but it is the only way to get through an uninterrupted workday.

As for me, I cannot take my own medicine! I tried to do this at the start of the shift, but failed miserably! Too many people want to say hello, or ask a question, or ask about my kids! I curved my answers to promote a shorter conversation, but could not cold-shoulder anyone. It’s not my nature.

So I wish to you all out there better luck than me. A focused workday is a productive one. I will keep trying to focus my energies at work in order to…wait just a second…I need to answer a question!

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Categories: Uncategorized

Cavemen or Country Club

October 11, 2010 Leave a comment

OK, here we go…

I was looking over some suggested blogs and came across an article entitled, “Public Relations needs more than digital natives” by Heather Yaxley on October 5, 2010. The article was published on http://www.prconversations.com.

The focus of the article is that in today’s age of social media and instant news feeds that the next generation of Public Relations Specialists will be absolutely savvy on technology, but may be missing the basic nuts and bolts of Public Relations.

In a way I feel this is right on point. I mean, even now my childrens’ school teachers are hammering on the fact that the spelling of today’s youth is atrocious compared with what it was twenty years ago. What is this blamed on? The ‘Spelling and Grammar’ tab in Microsoft Word! Technology has surpassed the nuts and bolts of spelling and children are now turning in reports that professionals would have salivated over in the 1980’s.

So this spelling example begs the question of whether we prefer the cavemen approach or the country club approach to our lives and professions. Are we the ‘nuts and bolts’, ‘back to the basics’ kind of professionals who scoff at technology? Do we look at technological progress as inflating life with nothing more than brighter colors and out-of-this-world promises? If we are then we risk becoming obsolete in our own field, especially that of Public Relations.

On the other side of it though is the Country Club approach. Do we look at technology as the ‘fix-all?’ Is the professioal look of the newest technology enough to make up for shoddy work. When it all boils down, is the public more effected by the style or substance of information? The answer here, of course, is that if we lose all to technology we are producing more ‘fluff’ and less ‘stuff.’ Is that enough?

I propose that there be a new balance in Public Relations. We must embrace the technology and hold to the tried and true principles of our craft. Interesting to think about how this new balance will shift over the next decade. We’ll see.

Categories: Uncategorized