(MoneyWatch) No matter how efficient you are, your work day is constantly barraged with interruptions -- phone calls, unexpected walk-ins, and urgent emails that must be addressed immediately. How do you get back on task quickly and efficiently? Productivity experts David Allen, author of "Getting Things Done," has a simple suggestion that works surprisingly well.
Allen is a management consultant best known for originating the "getting things done" strategy, which says that you are most efficient when you record tasks and activities externally and then track and review them explicitly throughout the workday.
This tip fits in with GTD, but is also a handy way to approach your daily workflow even if you don't use that approach. As reported on Lifehacker, Allen recommends keeping an in-basket on your desk -- yes, the old-fashioned, real-world kind, not software on your PC -- and whenever you are interrupted, move the item you are working on to the basket. The next time you're interrupted, take your current work and stack in in the basket as well. Sometime during the day, as time allows, go back and work on the interrupted tasks last-in-first-out.
Of course, this system requires you to take notes about whatever you are doing so you have something to drop in the in-basket, but it's a system I personally use and highly endorse. Here's Allen explaining the system in his own words:
Photo courtesy of Flickr user dbloete