One important step to increasing your productivity at work is controlling office interruptions…and how you respond to them! This post is the first in a series that will address simple ways you can keep interruptions in the workplace to a minimum.

Today’s Tip:

Learn How to Say “No”

Most of us want to be helpful to others, and when we’re asked to take on additional projects at work or drop what we’re doing to help a colleague, we’re inclined to say “yes.” It makes us feel good knowing we were helpful. But keep this in mind: Saying “no” means “no for now,” not indefinitely. You can still find time to be that caring coworker in the future.

Always try to have your priority project on your desk, so that when interrupted with another task, you can weigh whether or not it is worth switching gears. Sometimes the project wins out, while other times the interruption will, but at least you will have made a conscious decision instead of a reactionary one. This will save you time and energy.

When someone pokes their head through your door and asks, “Got a minute?” do not be afraid to reply, “No, not now, unless it’s something urgent.”

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