Have you ever had anyone peek their head into your office (or even at home) and ask, “Do you have a minute?” Many of us have been in that situation. Do you remember how you responded? Most people would likely say, “Of course, come on in.”
As common as that experience is, have you ever given any thought to what just happened and why “Of course” might not be your best response? From a time management perspective, you just broke a cardinal rule. Interruptions, on average, take about 23 minutes to get back on track. And much like the phone, email, and text, we are supposed to be the gatekeeper. Time is a precious and finite resource so it is critical that we treat it as such.
What are some other responses other than “Of course?” Just because you’re present doesn’t mean you have to be accessible. They are interrupting your productivity so assess the importance by asking, “Is this urgent?” If the answer is “No,” then reschedule for a better time. Not only will you be a better steward of your time, you will increase your productivity, and you will ultimately be able to give your colleague your undivided attention at some later time. It’s a win-win!
P.S. You can do this at home too! There is something to be said for having someone’s undivided attention.