Q: If interruptions hinder my own efficiency at work, what can I do? I like supervising and mentoring junior lawyers, but it can be hard to get my own work done some days.
A: Advice I’ve heard to control those interruptions when a co-worker pops his or her head in your doorway and ask if you’ve got a minute is to place a sign on your office door saying “Will have-a-minute between 11:00 and 11:30 am.” I’m not so sure signs on a lawyer’s door will be welcome–or effective–but the concept of asking people to schedule a few moments with you later that day or the next could help. Or telling your junior colleagues you have set a regular “office hour” (at a time when you otherwise would welcome a break…say at 3 pm) is something you could try.
And remember, it’s ok to let people who stop by know it isn’t a good time, you’re expecting a call and need to finish something up first, etc., as is letting them know, once you have answered their question or given them advice, that you need to get back to your client’s time-sensitive matter. Sometimes those short interruptions become longer sessions, so remind people they asked for a minute and you were happy to help.
Does that help?