On the Job - Manage Those Interruptions
- Don’t chime in. When office chatter starts up around your cubicle, you may be tempted to join the fun. But take a deep breath and think before you do. You may become involved in an ever growing and time consuming fun-fest. Can you afford to? It may be best for you to put your headphones on and keep on plugging away at your task. You don’t want to be anti-social, but if you have work to complete, just do it. If you do decide to join in the conversation, step away from your desk to do it. That way you can return to your space and continue to work.
- Learn to break away and end the conversation. If you’re involved in a conversation with someone that you need to bring to an end, try mirroring what the person has just said and then changing the subject. The mirroring allows you to avoid seeming to be rude. For instance if someone is talking about the great new microwave machine in the office kitchen, you can say, "Yes, it is a great microwave. By the way, I’m just starting to work on the Johnson file, do you have anything you need to add." This tactic will guide the conversation back to work and clue the person in to the fact that you are moving on.
- Don’t make your space too inviting. Unless you have a meeting at your cubicle, you probably don’t need to set up a comfy chair. That is an open invitation for chatting.
- Just keep walking. Does that sound strange? If you have ever been stopped by two or three people as you walk into your office, then you may have already learned that it is best to keep walking after you say good morning to your co-workers. Be especially cautious of those who arrive much earlier than you do, they may be laying in wait for someone to talk to. When this happens, let the person know that you will talk after you have put your briefcase, purse, etc. away, say you will call them in a few moments, or something similar. Don't allow people to start your day on the down side unless there is an emergency.
- If you have an office, close your door. A closed door shows that you are busy. Don't feel guilty about doing this, it is your space and your time.
Use good judgment:
- Would you be better off without that extra chair? Ask yourself why you have a chair in your space, is it really necessary?
- Do you have to keep that inviting bowl of candy on your desk? If it invites guests and chatter, put the candy in your desk drawer.
- Would you be better off simply answering "yes" or "no" when someone asks you a question that only requires a "yes" or "no' answer? If you can answer with a yes or no, instead of offering comment or advice, do so.
Using a little common sense and a lot of self control will give you a few extra precious minutes in the office each day.
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