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21 Sep

Sometimes a closed door is just a closed door

Datum: 2011-09-21 12:00

Do you have an open door”-policy at your office? 

What I mean to say is; does your com­pa­ny cul­ture encom­pass the rea­son­ing that in this work­place we nev­er close the door since this is a place in which we are always avail­able for each other”?

I fre­quent­ly meet peo­ple who iden­ti­fy col­leagues who drop by and inter­rupts” as one of the pri­ma­ry time-thieves” in their work­day. These peo­ple tend not to work in an open-plan office, but have their own offices. They say I can’t just close the door; that would be rude to my co-workers.”

Lis­ten to the man with the divan

But, just as Freud sup­pos­ed­ly said some­times a cig­ar is just a cig­ar”, I some­times say some­times a closed door is just a closed door”. 

If you are faced with a door firm­ly shut, it need not mean that the col­league who closed it doesn’t wish to help you. It prob­a­bly just sig­nals that now is not a good time. There is most like­ly hard work being done on a task which has a high pri­or­i­ty right now on the oth­er side of the door. Since, he who says no to one thing, says yes to another.

To pri­or­i­tize is to say no

You are say­ing yes to what you feel is the right task to work on right now. You are not say­ing no to be ungen­er­ous or mean towards your col­leagues, but because you are mak­ing a con­scious pri­or­i­ti­za­tion. You are the per­son ulti­mate­ly respon­si­ble for that the right thing is done at the right time with­in your area of respon­si­bil­i­ty. For­tu­nate­ly, you are also the only one who can make the right pri­or­i­ties, since you are the only per­son pos­sess­ing a com­plete overview of your situation. 

So, you are not say­ing no due to a lack of inter­est in help­ing your col­leagues, but because you are mak­ing a con­scious assess­ment of what is rea­son­able to work with simul­ta­ne­ous­ly and still remain concentrated. 

This may appear to be a triv­ial tip, but con­sid­er­ing what I hear in my dai­ly work with peo­ple, it needs repeat­ing to remind you to: 

Close the door.

Do this

  1. When you need to, close the door.
  2. Work with­out inter­rup­tions with what you real­ly need to do right now and with what require con­cen­tra­tion. Enjoy the silence.
  3. When you no longer need to work with­out being dis­turbed, open the door.
  4. If you feel uncer­tain of your col­leagues’ reac­tions, explain to them in the next staff-meet­ing why you need to close the door from time to time. It is because you need to work undis­turbed with a task that requires your con­cen­tra­tion since that par­tic­u­lar task has the high­est pri­or­i­ty at the moment. You are still the same old help­ful co-work­er, who is glad to be of assis­tance lat­er, once you have first had your time to con­cen­trate fully.

What if your col­leagues ful­ly under­stand your need to sit seclud­ed and be left alone at times? Per­haps they even feel the same way. Quite frankly, I think we all do from time to time.

What about intro­duc­ing a closed door so that you can work alone”-hour between 9am and 10am every day?

Few­er dis­trac­tions and get more done

If you allow your­self to close the door to get time alone when you need to, you get more done since you can work with high­er inten­si­ty for a while with­out being dis­tract­ed or interrupted.
Bonus-effect: Just imag­ine how much hap­pi­er you would be to see your col­leagues when your alone-time is fin­ished and you have been allowed to com­plete the most urgent tasks!

What is your way?

What is your best trick to be able to work focused and ful­ly con­cen­trat­ed? As we all know, seclu­sion by itself doesn’t guar­an­tee that we can focus. Let me and oth­ers know how you han­dle this by leav­ing a comment.