Stop Interrupting Me!

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Establish Boundaries to Limit Interruptions

Are you getting very little accomplished because of family and co-workers interrupting you?
There are many benefits to working in the company of others (home or office)- collaboration, comfort, and relationships. However, despite our best efforts to tackle our to-do list, when we are interrupted throughout the day it slows down our productivity.
What can you do?

Open communication with your team members in the office, and family at home, is critical to head off their advances into your work zone.

  • Close your office door and tack a note on the outside which reads: “Focused Work in Progress”. This is a clear indication to come back later.
  • If age appropriate, consider using the Traffic Light System when working from home.  Create 3 traffic light drawings to post on your closed office door. Use as follows:
    • Red Light- indicates an important meeting, call or work – please do not disturb.
    • Yellow light – indicates important work but please knock and enter.
    • Green light-  no knock necessary, come on in.

  • Communicate and share schedules in advance. If colleagues and kids know when you have important work scheduled or an open pocket of free time encourage them to observe the schedule and work around it when possible.
  • Set up a snack station for your kids with approved and pre-portioned munchies so they can help themselves to a snack and not interrupt you.
  • At home, trade off time with your spouse to watch kids while you work.
  • Remove chairs in your office. Co-workers will be less likely to drop in when the invitation to sit is removed.  If they still come by unannounced- encourage a standing meeting which can shorten the visit.

Interruptions happen…. but with open communication of ground rules and proactive solutions you can still get your work done.

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