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What to say to someone who keeps interrupting you at work

what to say when you are being interrupted at work

When you are trying to get your work done, there is nothing worse than unnecessary interruptions by colleagues.

Sure, we all like to take a break at times, but when Betty Sue is lurking in the hallway looking to talk because she doesn’t want to tackle her own work it can start to affect yours.

Part of having a successful career is maintaining good relationships at work, you don’t want to offend or step on anyone’s toes but you need to set some personal boundaries. You can start with the obvious, shutting your door if possible or a sign on your door with a message that you are going to be busy between certain hours.

If you allow people to repeatedly interrupt you, they will continue to do so. What you need to do is teach people how they will get the fastest result from you.

When someone shows up and asks for something that isn’t urgent let them know that you are working on a deadline and you are unable to talk. Tell them to email you a request and you will get to it later that day. Keep your tone pleasant, kind and be firm that you can’t be walked over.

The interloper will probably push back that they only need a minute of your time. We all know how long it takes to get back on task when your train of thought has been derailed, especially if you are in the flow on a project. You can say, “Send me an email and I will get to it as soon as possible. I am happy to help.

Five things you can say if someone interrupts you at work

  1. How long do you need? I am available for 2 minutes now or half an hour this afternoon.
  2. I would love to catch up with you when I am not on a deadline.
  3. I can see that this is really important, I am swamped right now but we can look at my priorities later and see if you want to put his ahead of other projects.
  4. I am working on a project that requires s uninterrupted focus time. Would tomorrow work to meet up?
  5. I am in the middle of something right now. Can we meet up in a couple of hours?

Next time you are unnecessarily interrupted use one of our great replies to let people know that you are not available at their beck and call.

More comebacks you might like

Got any comments, questions or tips for dealing with an obnoxious person? Share them in the comments below.


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