Maintaining productivity in a workplace where you collaborate with other individuals can be difficult, but overcoming these obstacles and remaining productive is feasible. In this article, I will explain how to handle the “got 5 minutes” question and provide four methods for establishing a productive work atmosphere.

Before we start, what you will learn necessitates establishing boundaries and possibly training your coworkers. Although this may appear strange, it is critical.

You cannot expect your coworkers to alter their behavior simply because you have changed yours.

A tiny percentage of individuals in your life frequently intrude on your time and space. These people come into your office and say, “Gotta minute?”

Please behave professionally as you follow these suggestions.

A stopwatch highlighting five minutes.

How to Respond to “Got 5 Minutes”

Have you ever been asked, “Hey, got 5 minutes?” by someone in your workplace?

You already know that 5 minutes is never truly 5 minutes.

Here’s my recommendation: Say no if you genuinely do not have time. Firmly and professionally explain that you are unavailable and do not give in, no matter how much they plead with you. Remain resolute.

If they persist and you have 5 minutes to spare, do the following in their presence (this is crucial!): open the timer on your smartphone, set it for 4 minutes, hit start, and say GO! (Why 4 minutes instead of 5? Because nobody stops talking at the allotted time.)

They will most likely ask if you’re serious.

You will respond, “Yes, and now you have 4 minutes and 45 seconds.”

Be sure to inform them when there is only 1 minute remaining. This demonstrates that you are serious.

If they inform you that this approach won’t work, say, “I have 15 minutes available at 2 p.m. Does that work for you?”

If they agree, say, “Great…see you then.” At this point, break eye contact, or if you are somewhere other than your office, walk away. Do not remain and chat, or else you will lose control.

However, if they claim it cannot wait, you must decide whether to break your rule.

When they arrive later, give them your undivided attention.

Caution tape in front of a barrier

Barriers in the Workplace

When you are at work, there are several things you can do to prepare yourself for productive success. Here are four ideas:

1. If feasible, eliminate the chairs in your office.

People who sit are more likely to overstay their welcome. They get comfortable. People will not stand for too long, and they will not sit on the floor.

If you cannot eliminate the chairs, put books, files, folders, and papers in them to remove the seating option.

2. Share your calendar! You can share your Google Calendar and Outlook Calendars without disclosing what is on them, showing people you are occupied.

3. Get a large wall calendar and put major projects and events on it for everyone to see.

You want others to BE AWARE of how busy you are.

Remember that you are retraining the individuals who have been invading your time for a while.

4. The power of no. Do you really need to attend that two-hour meeting? Do you really need to participate in the three-hour company lunch? Do you really need to be included in the REPLY ALL email thread?

Consider this: When you say YES to something, you have no idea how many people or things you are saying NO to because you cannot predict the future. (Or can you?)

Your Turn

What strategies do you use to remain productive at work?

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