You're listening to a co-worker and you find yourself thinking about that pile of laundry awaiting your return home and the house needs dusting and --- stop yourself! Did you key into the speaker's agenda so that you could track with her? Is she sharing information or beating around the bush with fluff material or problem solving?
When you have a feel for where she is coming from it will be easier for you to respond to where she needs to go and what she expects from you. And hopefully, you'll not be tempted to drift off to those household chores on hold.
Are you a sentence finisher when you're supposed to be an interested listener? You may not even realize that you have this habit, so the next time you're in a conversation, observe yourself. Are you quick to jump in with what you think they're going to say if they even pause to take a breath or slow down in the slightest?
Maybe you'll observe yourself racing ahead with thoughts of what you'll say in response so you quit listening to prepare your retort? You may want to appear bright and on top of things, when instead you're being perceived as an uppity and self-centered. Feeling uncomfortable yet?
Well, don't despair, there are things you can do to break this habit of interrupting:
Try biting your tongue and speaking only when the other person has fully finished.
You may want to handcuff yourself to keep your gestures from doing the interrupting.
I know, it's a tough pattern to break but with time, determination, and discipline to become a better listener you can wipe this out of your mannerisms. Oh, and while listening, if you're not sure that the other person is finished with her comment-ask!
Judy Warmington, Woman Time Management (owner) -- Busy wife, mother of three adult/married children, grandmother of 10 (5 boys and 5 girls!), former high school teacher (M.A. from W.M.U.), Speaker, Author, Radio Personality, and Trainer of Professional Organizers.