My last post discussed My last post discussed “Learning how to say ‘No'” to coworkers’ distracting requests for help. Today, I‘ll share two more tips for controlling interruptions around the office.

Today’s Tips

Strive to Stick to Scheduled Meeting Times

Value your time and theirs. When you have an appointment, stick to the allotted time. It’s acceptable to remind those you are meeting with up front that you only have a certain amount of time. If you told someone you’re available between 4:00 and 4:25, they should not be offended when you let them know your time is up and walk them to the door at 4:25. After you’ve covered what you need to discuss, politely signal that time is up. Shuffle through papers, check your watch, or pick up the phone. If necessary, don’t be afraid to tell them, “Well thank you for coming in, that’s all the time I have today.” You might have to stand up and edge them toward the door.

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Switch up your Office Layout

If you have frequent drop-in visitors, the layout of your office may have something to do with it. If you’re next to the copier or water cooler,add a visual and noise buffer. A strategically placed plant, partition, or filing cabinet may shield you and do the trick. If your desk faces a busy hallway, turn it at an angle so that passersby cannot make direct eye contact with you as they walk past your office. You may even want to replace the comfortable chair opposite your desk with a hard, uninviting one. Or, stack some papers or your briefcase on the chair. People who can’t find a place to sit will not linger long.