Here are the final three tips for being more focused and less distracted in your office:
Try closed-door work sessions
Establish closed-door times, if even for only an hour or two. Put a sign on your door (or on the outside wall of your cubicle) that you aren’t to be interrupted unless it’s an emergency. Use voice mail, or your secretary if you’re fortunate enough to have one, to screen calls. Quiet hours work best when they’re department-wide (even company wide) and at the same time.
Look at what causes the interruptions
It’s helpful to look for patterns in the interruptions. Keep track of your interruptions for a week. Note who, when, the reason, and how long. At end of the week, study the log to determine which interruptions were unnecessary, and which could have been prevented by better planning or better communication.
People don’t always interrupt out of thoughtlessness or a desire to socialize. If you’re rarely available, people will interrupt you because they know they must grab you when they can. The solution is to schedule regular check-in times for updates from people you must talk to often. Ask them to save up their questions so they can cover several points at once. Your assistant could check in with you three times a day instead of 20. Make sure you give detailed instruction to coworkers so they don’t have to keep coming back to you with questions. Also, give them some leeway by empowering them to decide some things on their own. Make it clear what questions are serious enough to warrant coming back to you. Let them use their judgment on the rest.