Do you have a coworker who constantly interrupts you? Or do you work in a busy office where it’s difficult to get five minutes of uninterrupted work done? Here are some tips that can help.
1. Pay attention to your body language
When you’re in the middle of an important task, it’s easy to let your guard down and not realize how you may be projecting your body language. If you find yourself often getting interrupted by coworkers, pay attention to how you’re sitting at your desk and how much space you take up when speaking with others. Try leaning back slightly, crossing your arms over your chest and crossing one leg over the other—these are all small, subtle ways to communicate that you’re busy and not looking for conversation.
2. Be conscious about when you speak
If you want to reduce the number of times that people interrupt you during the day, try keeping an eye on when they often approach you for conversation. Do they interrupt more when you’re standing at your desk or walking around the office? Maybe they interrupt more frequently during lunch hour or right after meetings end? Once you have a better understanding of when people usually approach you, make a conscious effort to avoid those scenarios as
Have you ever had a coworker interrupt you constantly or walk into your office unannounced? It can be very frustrating when others don’t respect your office space and time. When it comes to workplace etiquette, there are a few tips you can use to keep your work environment professional and calm.
Here are some helpful ways to deal with difficult coworkers:
1. Let them know how their actions make you feel
2. Set boundaries
3. Avoid gossiping
Let Them Know How Their Actions Make You Feel
The first step in dealing with a difficult coworker is letting them know how their actions make you feel. For example, if someone always interrupts you, let them know that it is distracting and makes it hard for you to focus on your work. If someone keeps walking into your office unannounced, let them know that it makes you feel uncomfortable and that it creates an awkward work environment for the both of you. This is the most effective way to handle challenging situations at work because it helps to open up communication between yourself and your coworker.
Have you ever had a coworker who is constantly interrupting you? Maybe he asks you to check a document or ask you a question as soon as you sit down. Or maybe she pops into your office every 15 minutes to chat.
It’s important to be available to your coworkers, because companies are organized around collaboration. But it’s also important to get your work done, and constant interruptions can make that very difficult.
To address this problem, I’d suggest using the “Three Strikes Rule.” Here it is: The first time someone interrupts you, don’t say anything (because it might not be intentional). The second time, politely tell them that you need some uninterrupted time to focus on this task — but offer a specific time when you will be available later in the day. And the third time? Politely tell them that if they interrupt again, you will close your door for an hour or two and focus on getting your work done.
Of course, the Three Strikes Rule won’t work with everyone. If someone is prone to anger or doesn’t take hints well, it might be best to speak with them privately about setting better boundaries.
You have a very important thing to work on. You thought you were going to hunker down and just get it done, but your coworker keeps interrupting you.
When this happens, it’s easy to get annoyed with them or feel like they are intentionally trying to sabotage your workflow.
Instead of getting upset, try these two things the next time you get interrupted while working on something important.
1. Take a deep breath and assume good intent
2. Ask if they can come back in 5 minutes
When you take a deep breath and assume good intent, it will be much easier for you to deal with the situation (and keep your cool). This will also change the way that you talk to them about your concerns. Instead of saying “You keep interrupting me!”, try saying “I am working on something that is due ASAP, can we chat later?” which better reflects the fact that your coworker probably has good intentions (even if they don’t seem that way).
It is also helpful to ask them if they can come back in 5 minutes because this puts pressure on them and gives you a clear end point for when you need to put your focus hat back on. If their problem isn
Is your coworker interrupting you when you’re in the middle of a train of thought? You can put an end to it.
When a colleague interrupts me, I feel like I need to finish my thought before he or she can finish theirs. In other words, my brain blocks anything new until I complete my previous task—and that doesn’t happen if I get interrupted. So the next time a coworker interrupts you with a question, meet his or her eyes and say, “I’ll get back to you in 10 minutes.”
This way, you won’t forget about the question, but you’re not letting it distract you from what you’re doing. And when the 10 minutes are up, take a minute or two to switch gears in your head before answering. This will help ensure that you don’t make mistakes as you work through the new problem and give your colleague the attention he or she deserves.
The Problem: You have a coworker who is constantly interrupting meetings by speaking out of turn, taking the conversation off topic, or asking superfluous questions.
The Solution: The best way to approach this situation (and any difficult coworker situation) is to speak with your coworker directly. Let them know you understand they may have a legitimate question or comment, but would appreciate if they could hold off and ask it at the end of the meeting.
If it continues after that, let them know again in a meeting setting that you would appreciate their cooperation in holding off on questions until the end so everyone can keep on task and respect each others’ time. If all else fails, take this up with your manager, but give your coworker every opportunity to fix their ways first.
It’s 8:30 and your meeting with the boss is in an hour. You’ve been working feverishly on your presentation and have just about finished it. You’re sitting at your desk, concentrating and hoping for no interruptions.
Suddenly, a coworker who doesn’t work on your team or even in your department looms over you, saying loudly that he needs to talk to you about the website you created for his team last month.
You glance at the time — this will take at least 15 minutes and it’s already 8:45. You don’t want to say no and risk being seen as uncooperative, but you also can’t afford to be late for your meeting with the vice president of sales. What do you do?
This scenario is common in the workplace and it can be frustrating when you feel like you don’t know how to handle it. There are two things I tell my clients they need when they are dealing with difficult coworkers: courage and communication skills.