You pride yourself on having an open door policy, and you have a great relationship with your colleagues. But sometimes you’re down to the wire on a big project and can’t afford to lose a lot of time. In situations like this, it’s important to try to prevent and minimize interruptions so that your work doesn’t suffer.
When you know you don’t have a lot of time for interruptions, be preemptive.
- Schedule a meeting at a later time with frequent interrupters. Be direct and let them know you are on a tight deadline, but that you want to set up a meeting to catch up after your project is done.
- Remove “invitations” from your work space. Things like candy dishes can draw in visitors as they walk past your work space.
- As much as possible, avoid the places in your office where people tend to congregate, such as the coffee area, break room, etc.
- Arrange your work space so that you are not directly facing the traffic flow. You’ll get fewer visitors when you aren’t easily able to make eye contact.
Other times, interruptions come knocking on your door. When this happens, take control of the interruption.
- Stand up to greet the visitor and remain standing.
- Let them know you’re on a tight deadline and only have a few minutes. Be sure to stay committed to that time limit.
- Offer to walk them back to their office. This allows you time to talk while you walk, and it removes the distraction from your office.
Next time you’re on a tight deadline, be sure to use these techniques to prevent and minimize interruptions.