Got a minute? No, you say?
You need not be a superhero to effectively manage your time at the office. You just need some simple solutions that will allow you to maximize your efficiency. Here are eight weird but effective strategies for managing your time even when you work in a busy office with lots of people who are magnetized to you like moths to light.
- Stand up.
If someone comes into my office while I’m feverishly trying to get work done, I stand up. I will absolutely engage in conversation, but it’s going to be a short one. When you go from sitting to standing, it sends a message that you are on a schedule. It is my experience that when the other party receives the message, they keep their questions, comments or idea sharing short.
- Don’t have chairs.
I will admit, I don’t practice this, but I have a business associate who does and he swears by it. He has no guest chairs in his office. He says that the problem with chairs is that people come and sit in them and they chat. No chairs, no chat.
- Share lunch.
Sometimes your co-workers, employees and staff just want to get to know you. That’s why if I am in the office working during lunch, I’ll have lunch with them so that get the opportunity to chat about fun stuff without losing valuable work time.
- Set parameters.
If I am busy working in the office and someone asks me if I’ve got a minute, I’ll tell them yes and I’ll tell them how many minutes I’ve got.
“Sure, I’ve got about five minutes but then I need to get back to this project.”
At about the five-minute mark, I will start looking at the clock to signal that their time is nearly over. If I can’t answer the question or offer the needed assistance in that time, I’ll ask if we can schedule a longer meeting later in the day.
- Know when to take calls.
This seems like a no-brainer. I never take an unsolicited call from a number that I don’t recognize, ever. People can leave messages and I will choose to call back if I am interested. If I am unsure as to whether I’m interested in taking the call, I will likely have an assistant call the person back to get more information with regards to the nature of the call.
It’s important to note here that an unwanted call can also come in handy at times. If you have someone taking up too much time and you are lucky enough to get an unexpected call during that time, take the call while saying to your guest, “I’ll reach out to you later, I need to take this call.”
- Control dings, beeps and bops.
When I am working in the office, I set a limit on checking my email to every half hour. Important too, I make sure the volume is off on my computer and my phone. The dings, beeps and bops from email and social media are maddening. If my Facebook or Twitter beeps, I have to check it — I must keep the sound off so I can get work done in between emails.
- Keep a power hour.
There are times when I simply cannot be disturbed. In those instances, I’ll do what every good hotel allows you to do when you want quiet time and hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. I have found it even more effective to make sure that I explain why on the sign, otherwise you will still get people who cross the line.
For example, my sign might read, “Do Not Disturb — Webinar in Process.” The sign coupled with the reason for it has been most effective.
- Scrap the glass door.
There was a time long, long ago, when I had a glass door to my office. Big mistake! A glass door is like working in a fish tank and even when the door is shut, people wave you down and make bizarre hand gestures while trying to determine if you can talk. Get rid of the glass door in favor of one that offers full privacy for those times when you need to be super efficient.