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Time Management Assertiveness Interrupting Communication Open Door Policy

My job responsibilities include dealing with employees from several departments. Most employees either call ahead or set an appointment online, but certain employees just show up. I tell them I am busy, but they still sit down and take a lot of my time on minor issues. How can I deal with them without sounding mean?

When employees drop into your office, you do not have to drop everything and deal with them. Obviously, if they arrive with an emergency, that can certainly trump whatever you might be doing. However, if you are busy on other projects, there are positive ways to deal with these visitors.

For example, some experts in the field of time management suggest that managers set aside a specific time period every day during which there are to be no interruptions unless a truly urgent matter arises. Also, since some employees are already making appointments or at least calling ahead to meet with you, there is no reason why you cannot establish this as a ground rule for all employees.

If you take these types of steps and still have drop-inís, you need to act more assertively. It is not enough to tell these visitors that you are busy, since everyone is busy. You need to specify what you want. When an employee drops by, tell him or her that you are unable to meet right now, and then set an appointment to meet later. If you use a friendly and businesslike tone to let employees know what you mean, they will not think you are mean.

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