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How to lessen/avoid interruptions.

It is estimated that managers receive about 6 interruptions, on average, an hour. While part of your job as a manager is to be available to your employees and to offer guidance, constant interruptions can spell trouble for you; when you're constantly being interrupted, your work is compromised.

While you probably can't get rid of them completely, there are a number of things you can do in order to avoid or at least lessen the number of interruptions you get throughout the day without coming off as unapproachable to your employees:

1. Encourage emails. Encourage your employees to send emails rather than stop by your office. Written communication is less intrusive, and it is often easier to write a quick note in response than carry on an actual conversation.
2. Delegate authority. If you are bogged down or busy with something else and can't be interrupted, delegate authority to answer questions or supervise to someone else. Tell your team that for the next hour, or 2, or whatever the case may be, your designated supervisor (you can just say their name) can answer any questions they may have.
3. If you don't have an office, use headphones. You don't even have to be listening to anything. Often, people will not bother you or interrupt you when you are wearing headphones. You could also wear your Bluetooth, if you have one. If people think you are on the phone, it's less likely that you'll be interrupted.
4. Make sure your employees understand various policies/responsibilities. Often, interruptions are the result of confusion about tasks or questions that are easily found in the company handbook. By helping employees to use other resources, you can avoid certain interruptions.
5. Do the rounds. Making frequent face-to-face contact with your employees, even if that means taking a lap around the office and checking on things once or twice a day, helps you to address concerns on your time, minimizing your chances for being interrupted later on. It also allows you to remain in control of your own schedule, instead of others infringing on yours.
6. Close your door. You don't have to keep it close, but you many consider getting in the habit of closing your door when you can't be interrupted and leaving it open when you don't mind if your employees drop in. This is a universal sign of "don't bother me," and unless it's an emergency most people will understand.
7. Keep employees informed. When you absolutely can't be bothered, send out an email or leave a sign on your door that states, "I will be unavailable until." In addition, you might want to add that you can be reached by email if necessary.
8. Provide an interruption-free room. You may want to set up a room or space that will allow your employees and your self to work in uninterrupted. Managers aren't the only ones who are interrupted at work.
9. Be discerning. You don't want to make yourself completely unavailable as a manager; after all, your job is to manage, and you don't want to come across as unapproachable. Instead, reserve "do not interrupt" times for times when you truly don't want to be interrupted.

Interruptions in the workplace can be distracting and reduce that amount of time you have to do your own work. However, by following some of the above suggestions, you can lessen and avoid interruptions.

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