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Stop Office Interruptions from Colleagues
Submitted by Leslie Allan on July 12th, 2012
I hear the same story from many of my colleagues: “I start the day with the best of intentions to get a lot done. But then people start dropping into my office unannounced. My day quickly gets swallowed up with all of these interruptions. I get to the end of the day and I find I’ve got nothing important done.”
Interruptions are a normal part of your working day. For some, it’s important that you tend to them straight away, such as the customer threatening to beat up one of your reps in the foyer. Most, though, are a drain on your day.
What can you do to get more productive hours in your day? I find the trick is to get colleagues not to interrupt me in the first place. One strategy I use here is to shut my door when I need uninterrupted time. If you are in an open office or otherwise don’t have a door, you can put a sign on your desk that reads, “Please, no interruptions”.
Another strategy I use is to let colleagues, customers, clients, and so on, know when I am available. I set aside a couple of hours each day that I advertise as my available time for impromptu questions.
When someone does interrupt your work, watch your body language. Your body posture and movement sends clear messages about your availability. Here are some things to watch.
When someone interrupts you, turn your head to speak without turning your body away from your work. Don’t put your pen down or take your hand off the keyboard. This sends an unambiguous message that you are in work mode. Also, be short in your response whilst remaining polite and respectful. Ask the person interrupting to make a time for them to come back at a more convenient time for you.
Don’t neglect socializing altogether. Sharing fun, stories and general chit-chat is an important part of relationship building. Be careful not to become a wet rag. The secret is knowing when to socialize and how to set aside time to work on the important stuff.
What strategies do you use to prevent interruptions from impeding your productivity? Please share your stories here.
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