What can we do when other people interrupt or distract us from working on the things we deem necessary? As well as prevent ourselves from distracting our direct reports that people who report to us? When other people stop by our workspace just to chat, and we're working on a necessary task, we might be tempted to pretend to listen. Many of us think we're discreetly looking at our watch, or glancing at our messages, but actually these signals can seem more rude than simply saying, I would love to chat, I'm working toward a deadline, can we need an x time and go for a walk, or a coffee, or whatever? However, when other people ask us to stop what we're doing and work on something else, we got to quickly determine how to prioritize their request against what we're working on, and respond appropriately. That's a very challenging ask, because we are not nor should we be automatons who can auto sort tasks into boxes. While we have learned to align our actions with the strategy, it is not so simple when other people ask for an action. One thing I've learned, is that when someone particularly a boss asks for something that I think is unreasonable, usually they have a reason, I do not know. When given an unreasonable request, assume first they have a reason. Other people's needs feel salient when they're standing right in front of us, and for those of us who are real people pleasers even a text can feel visible and insistent regardless of the level of true necessity, and urgency. Even when we're working on highly critical tasks or what we believe is more critical than the requested task, an automatic no is not a good idea. We need to be good team citizens and our reputation depends on meeting and exceeding expectations. On the other hand, if we accept all additional work unquestioningly, we will be overloaded. First, when someone asks you to take on a task, try looking at your priority activities through the other person's lens, maybe you'll see how their request fits the strategy. If not ask clarifying questions especially if your calendar is already filled with time-based or priority activities. You can say to anyone, I would love to help out with that, or that sounds interesting, thank you for the opportunity. Then to a colleague or peer you might add, I have some priorities that must be complete this week, I'll have a couple of hours to put toward that next week, would that work? If it's urgent, the colleague can negotiate the time with you. Now, if the requester is your boss you might need a little more finesse with that. I would love to work with that, or I can see how that would be important, and then could you look through my priorities and help me select those that could be delayed so I can work on this? Meanwhile be advised that your boss cannot always explain more, as the request could be related to something confidential. But based on your questions, your boss either will recognize that your time is allocated to critical tasks, and negotiate a later deadline, or they'll state that the requested activity is more important and urgent than others on your list. Or they might ask you to work more hours and do it all, and that's a drag, but it is better that it happens only when it needs to happen, and not every time you're asked for something that is not a priority. Do you hear the difference between asking those questions and saying it direct no to your boss? The questions demonstrate respect for their position and needs, and your genuine desire to be a strategy focused high-quality employee. Because you get things done through the active involvement of other people, make sure you are not putting your direct reports in a position of saying an automatic and yes boss to you. You have promised their workout but to your superiors, to other departments, to clients, and if your direct reports can not meet expectations, it is you who will have to apologize and renegotiate deadlines. Better, to enable your employees to say here's what I can and cannot do realistically than have them hide problems. Before delegating work to others ask yourself, is this task or activity moving everyone toward the goal even indirectly? It is something that another department needs or that leadership requests, so completing it is necessary to maintaining relationships. Or is it something that develops your employees skills or their network? You can delegate and you can take on tasks that do not meet your goals directly, if they support learning and development. These are going to facilitate reaching your objectives in the future. Your employees might not understand the longer range implications, so whenever possible explain the purpose of delegated tasks, and show them how the task fits with the strategy. That coaching conversation takes only a few minutes. So what do we do about the hidden distractions, our own busy minds, notifications and clutter? I'm not going to tell you to have more willpower and discipline, I'm not even going to tell you to be more organized than you already are or learned to be, in previous videos. You're just going to have to watch the next one, for some tips you can implement today.