Minimize interruptions with my Take 10, Give 5 approach – VIDEO

In this video, Dr. Melissa Gratias reads an excerpt from her book,’Reduce Interruptions…you don’t have to be a victim.

How do you minimize the damage of workplace interruptions? Listen to Dr. Gratias as she expands on her concept of Take 10 Give 5.



Excerpt from Reduce Interruptions…you don’t have to be a victim:

Minimizing the damage of interruptions needs to happen at all three phases. Start with the preparation phase. Perhaps counterintuitively, you should spend more time in this phase than you may be used to. In your zeal to respond immediately to your communication devices or visitors, you may drop your primary task too quickly in favor of the interrupting task. Increase the likelihood of quickly resuming your primary task by following my “Take 10, Give 5” approach. When you are interrupted, take ten seconds to note where you were on your primary task. You can do this in several ways.

You will more quickly resume the primary task if you reduce the time it takes to answer the question, “Now…where was I?” When someone knocks, answer them with: “Give me ten seconds, please.” Let the phone ring a couple of times so that you can Take 10. It only takes a few seconds to improve your productivity in a meaningful way.

Reduce Interruptions eBook

Are you ready to get serious about this workplace productivity thief?

Read my eBook Reduce Interruptions…you don’t have to be a victim.

Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.


  1. Joyce Teal

    Great post! We would all be more productive if we didn’t have interruptions. When I was working at a position, I received frequent phone calls that often disrupted my train of thought on the project I was working on. I discovered that post-it notes were the solution. The phone would ring, I’d put a note on the contract where I was (sometimes this was the computer screen!) and sometimes a word or two to jog my memory when I came back to it. People don’t always expect that you will answer on the first ring. Letting the phone ring to the third ring won’t cause someone to hang up. Keep up the great posts!

    • Melissa Gratias, Ph.D.

      That’s exactly what I’m talking about, Joyce! Thanks for your comment.


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Interruptions can kill productivity. With one “Got a minute?” from a coworker or one stray thought swirling in your brain, the flow of your work can be completely disrupted.

The trouble is that few people have concrete strategies to get back on task quickly after an interruption. Some people completely lose focus…for hours! If you have tried reducing interruptions, but they still impact your ability to be effective at work, this free webinar is for you.