No Interruptions Day – December 31, 2021

On December 31 every year, we celebrate No Interruptions Day in an effort to reduce the intrusion of electronic gadgets and devices in the workplace. These devices are notorious for being distracting and for preventing people from focusing on their tasks. By celebrating No Interruptions Day, people learn to redirect their focus towards completing their tasks and being more mindful about their actions.

History of No Interruptions Day

In the early 1920s, Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik proposed a theory on the psychological effects of interruptions at work. According to the theory, people are more likely to remember incomplete or interrupted tasks better than completed ones. While dining at a restaurant, Zeigarnik observed that the waiters working there were able to remember pending orders better than those that have been completed and served to the customers.

Similarly, another researcher named Maria Ovsiankina proposed The Ovsiankina Effect, which posits that people have a strong desire to return to an interrupted task or project until it’s complete.

During the 1940s, the adverse effects of interruptions in the aviation industry were highlighted by psychologists Paul Fitts and Richard Jones. In their research, it was revealed that interruptions were one of the major reasons for pilot errors and accidents.

Since the 1990s, some of the main causes of interruptions for office employees have been emails and phone calls. In a research study conducted by Gloria Mark on the adverse effect of technologies at the workplace, it was revealed that an employee, once distracted, usually requires 30 minutes or even more to resume an interrupted task.

Common examples of workplace interruptions include email and SMS notifications received in the middle of fast-paced tasks like typing or evaluating search results. Receiving and answering notifications interrupt the task performance of employees. And it is usually difficult to recover full attention to the task or activity at hand.

No Interruptions Day timeline

2000
"The Power of Focus" is Published

A book published in 2000 and titled "The Power of Focus" discusses 'the Four Ds of Time Management.'

2016
Research on Workplace Interruption is Published

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, publish findings of their groundbreaking research on workplace interruption, showing that workers are interrupted every 11 minutes and resume their interrupted task only after 25 minutes.

2016
Smartphones Become the Top Distraction for Employees

A 2016 survey declares smartphones the biggest workplace distraction.

2018
Udemy Releases Workplace Distraction Report

A detailed report on workplace distraction is released in 2018 by Udemy, an online learning and teaching marketplace.

No Interruptions Day FAQs

How does one deal with interruptions in the workplace?

These simple steps work:

  •  Schedule the time you would respond to messages at work and adhere strictly to it. 
  • Avoid multitasking. Focus on one task at a time.
  • Avoid self-imposed distractions.

What are work interruptions?

Workplace interruptions include loud conversations between coworkers, buzzing sounds of online notifications, unannounced meetings, or phone calls that interrupt one’s workflow and productivity.

What is the result of interruption?

Interruption reduces the outcome of one’s work performance. It also decreases the quantity of work one performance per time. 

How to Celebrate No Interruptions Day

  1. Go for a digital detox

    To celebrate No Interruptions Day, put your phone on Do Not Disturb, avoid unnecessary texting and online browsing. Try to stay away from those things that can distract you at work.

  2. Organize your work

    Use this day to organize your emails. Delete old and unnecessary emails to free up space in your inbox. Update your work calendar and get rid of old paperwork that is lying around on your desk. Throw away old pens, markers, or any other office stationery that you don't use anymore.

  3. Attend training sessions

    Many organizations offer free online training to their employees to update their time management skills. The training is usually given through pre-recorded videos. This No Interruptions Day, catch up on all training sessions you have left because of time.

5 Facts About Employee Engagement That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Maximum productivity

    Employees are the most productive between 9 a.m. and 12 noon.

  2. The hazards of multitasking

    Productivity levels drop by nearly 40% when employees try to multitask.

  3. Pitfalls of poor desk management

    Employees waste 90 minutes per day looking for stuff on messy desks.

  4. Monday blues

    80% of Americans dread going to work on Mondays.

  5. Daydreaming at work

    Nine out of 10 employees daydream in office meetings.

Why We Love No Interruptions Day

  1. The H.R. managers identify the causes of workplace interruptions

    Constant interruptions at work can affect the work and overall performance of employees in an organization. No Interruptions Day is a great way to create awareness about the negative effects of disturbances in a workplace. This day encourages H.R. professionals and managers to identify the causes of interruptions in their organizations and develop effective strategies to reduce them.

  2. It promotes workplace discipline

    Sometimes colleagues or team members unwittingly become distractions, and shutting them off may hurt their feelings. Interns and freshers often do not know how to 'behave' and may become nuisances in the workplace. No Interruptions Day is a great way to explain the adverse effects of interruptions at work to those who are completely unaware of it.

  3. It motivates employees to complete their pending work

    No Interruptions Day provides us with the rare opportunity to complete pending tasks. One can make the most of this day by attending to backlogs. Finishing due work not only gives you personal satisfaction; it also allows you to start fresh and plan out new projects and assignments.

No Interruptions Day dates

YearDateDay
2021December 31Friday
2022December 31Saturday
2023December 31Sunday
2024December 31Tuesday
2025December 31Wednesday

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