What to do with Your Interrupting Cows

Who hasn’t heard the knock-knock joke about the interrupting cow?

Me: Knock, knock

You: Who’s there?

Me: Interrupting Cow.

You: Interrup. . .

Me: Moo.

That, of course, is a joke, but we’ve all had interrupting cows, often every day. Interrupting cows come in many forms.


One form of interrupting cow that we have is distractions. We can be working on a project when our phones, online games, the telephone, texts, social media, our families or our pets demand our attention and interrupts our flow of thought. One seemingly minor distraction can cause us to lose twenty minutes or more in productive time. Major distractions like internet games can distract us for hours.

Often the best we can do with these types of distractions is to try to avoid them at all costs. To avoid distractions from our phones is not to have them on while we are working.

To avoid being interrupted by those around us, we also need to plan try to avoid this type of distraction as well. For instance, we can get up early so we can work before our family demands our attention. We might instead stay up late for the same reason. We might simply find times to work when we know that we won’t be distracted like when family members are out of town or simply taking a nap. We might also choose to shut ourselves off in a room with instructions to those around us to avoid interrupting us except for emergencies.

I have a love-hate relationship with the solitary game called Freecell. I can go mind dead for hours playing Freecell. I made a vow to myself that I would not play Freecell this entire week. If all goes well, I will do the same next week. Not that there is anything wrong with playing games in general. Just that when I am supposed to be working, I shouldn’t be playing Freecell.

Another Type of Interrupting Cow

The other day I experienced another type of interrupting cow. This time I was working on my book Write a Book to Ignite Your Business, The Why-to and the How-to. I had been working on it for about an hour and had gotten to the point in my book where I was talking about sitting down and doing the actual writing when I had this idea of calling flashes of inspiration “interrupting cows”.

There are two things that I don’t want to do with this type of interrupting cow. The first is that I don’t want to ignore this flash of inspiration. I learned a number of years ago that great ideas are easily forgotten, therefore, if I didn’t write it down, I would forget what I thought in that moment of brilliance.

I didn’t want to do the opposite either and to allow it to take all my time from my work.

I can’t avoid this type of interrupting cow, nor do I think that I want to avoid it. Instead, as quickly as I can, I write down just enough about this flash of inspiration so that I can save it well enough to remember it later when I went back to it. That’s exactly what I did with the interrupting cow that became this blog post. It is also a section in the book that I was writing when the interruption came. As you can see, sometimes interrupting cows are not so annoying. Sometimes they actually serve a purpose.



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