Knock Knock!!

3:51:00 PM

I heard this great story some time back. Samuel Coleridge was a great writer. On one occasion in the summer of 1797, Coleridge was taking a nap. In this nap, he was given a grand vision of a poem, the verses already worked out. Coleridge woke up and quickly began writing down each line. But then, there came a knock at the door. Later in his notes, he refers to his visitor as “a man from Porlock” and gives no clue as to why he came or what took place. He returned to the poem as hour later, only to find that while he still retained a vague recollection of this dream, the rest had vanished like the morning mist. He tried to piece it together as best he could but from his point of view it never was like the original. The work is Coleridge’s "Kubla Khan".

In the last post, we had seen how interruptions are a part of life. The truth about interruptions is that we can’t avoid them. But we can definitely handle them. So how do we do that? 

First, I personally believe, we shouldn’t lose our cool. 

We may get irritated because our work gets interrupted but we must try not to lose our temper. Anger can cause us to lose focus. When an interruption is only temporary and if we have already become angry then resuming the work we were doing becomes a chore. We’ve lost focus, and as a result our efficiency to complete the work is reduced. So don’t get angry even if it turns out to be trivial.

 Second, we should bookmark the work that we are doing.
We need to have a parking space ready to park the work we are doing. This is to quick save our work so that we can resume it exactly from where we had stopped. I do most of my writing work on the laptop and I use OneNote, where I don't even have to save what I had written; it saves it for me, helping me to continue writing from where I had stopped. Learn to bookmark the work you are doing; have a way of reminding yourself of what you had done last so that you can resume it without having to repeat yourself from scratch.

Third, stop and analyze the interruption.
Ask the question; is this an opportunity or an obstacle? We are often inclined to resent interruptions. But we must try and discern about which interruptions to avoid and which ones to embrace. After all, an anticipated movie in the evening can be discontinued to allow for a conversation that matters! Some interruptions can actually turn out to be great opportunities. I like what Alan M. Gates says, "In matters both fleeting and consequential, it is in the interruption that significance lies." 

Fourth, learn to say 'yes' or 'no' to the interruption.
We should learn to say yes to an interruption when it involves something more important and more urgent than the work that we are working on.  Stop what we are doing and make the best use of the given opportunity! We should see those interruptions as opportunities. Alfred T. Day says, "Some of the most important experiences in friendships, memorable and cherished times of feeling love and support, come by way of unwelcome intrusion."

We should learn to say no to an interruption when it involves something that is less important and of less priority than the work that we are working on. Regardless of its urgency, we must say no. In my clinic, I never pick up calls when I am with a patient. I let my staff pick it up for me and let the caller know that I would get back to them later. We must value our priorities and give them first place.

Regardless of the situation, it is always almost impossible to predict as and when we may get interrupted. Some interruptions just cannot be avoided. We should make the best use of those times, try and see how we can make those interrupted times productive. Interruptions may come and go but time does not!
Try to identify moments in your life where the unexpected has interrupted the expected. Did all interruptions have a bad ending? I am sure some had a good one that you might even be grateful for!! I am a person of faith and at times like those, I try and see if the hand of God is at work in any of these disturbances. I often pray for the discipline to avoid trivial diversions, the grace to embrace meaningful interruptions, and for the wisdom to know the difference. 

Good day!

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  1. wow... Dan.. Proud of u leader.. One day i will surely say "Hey Danny was my leader in church" when i see someone pick up ur book from the shelve :) Keep Going... God bless u and may His grace take u through... :)

  2. Hey thanks a lot Jinu!! By that time, you will be a well known personality too! It would be gr8 to say that I have your number on my phone! :) Or like the author Zig Ziglar says, "See you at the TOP!!"


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