If managing an organization, a business or a professional practice was easy, anyone could do it. Today, we’re all continually besieged by too much competition for our attention. Here’s one way to classify intrusions and impediments to our progress:
Cataclysm: cata [kata] + clysm [klysmós] = a violent “down wash.” A momentous or violent event marked by overwhelming upheaval and demolition. In your work life, that can mean being forced out of business due to a natural catastrophe, losing a lawsuit or incurring massive negative publicity.
Upheaval: up [elevate] + heave [throw] = to throw things with force up into the air. A major disruption that leads to turmoil and often significant change. In business, this could be a sudden change in ownership, a reorganization, a strike or a major crisis.
Disruption: dis [apart] + rupt [to break] = to break apart. A “forcible separation or division into parts,” often leading to turmoil or disorder, and more severe than an interruption with potentially lasting effects. In business: a break, or a rupture, in the workday.
Interruption: inter [between] + rupt [to break] = to break in between. A break in continuity, often temporary, of an action or event. Interruptions are more common and milder than disruptions, and can lead to disruption if not handled properly. In business this could be others intruding upon, hindering, or stopping your progress as a result of their contact with you.
Distraction: dis [apart] + tract [to draw] = to draw apart. Something that draws your mind or attention away from the task at hand, such as an instantaneous random thought or a constant, low-level imposition that impedes focus. In business: construction noise from across the street, a flickering light or a coworker’s constant finger tapping.
Irritation: Irritate [annoy] + -ion [condition or state] = the state of being annoyed. The act of irritating or the state of being irritated, impatient, or angry. In business, this represents a momentary upset of any nature.