Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Communicating your availability, part of Managing Your Time.
When people look at you at work, what do they think? Do they think you're always available, it's okay to always walk over to you and interrupt what you are doing? I don't know the answer to that question, I do know you should be thinking about it, and maybe you should go a step further. Start getting proactive about broadcasting your availability. Find some ways to let people know how open you are to being interrupted. Let me give you one interesting example, I saw on a consulting engagement. I found some people who understood this idea and they wanted to find a colorful way to show people in the office where everyone was in terms of time management and urgency.
So this what they did. They came up with a color coded system. Every person in the office, outside of their cube, had a little piece of velcro. Everyone would put up, throughout the day, as needed, the color that represented their availability. So, for example, they used red, green and yellow. When you walk up to someone's cube and you see the green square sitting outside the cube, you knew that life was okay. It's okay to stop in unannounced and speak to someone and interrupt what they're doing, not a really risky proposition.
However, if you walk up to their cube and you see yellow, well, that means use caution. They're busy, it's not a dire emergency but you need to be thoughtful before you just walk in and interrupt what they're doing. So let's reserve this now for really important interruptions, or maybe your boss with the terribly important task. That's what you do when you see yellow. Then, they were allowed, on occasion, to put the red square outside their cube. And that meant danger, stay away, I am working hard against a tough deadline, and if you're going to interrupt me, wow, it better be an emergency, a fire that must be put out right now, otherwise, stay out.
Everyone learned how to use those cards to broadcast out to everyone what their status was, whether or not it was okay to interrupt them. That example may or may not work precisely for you. But it gives a great example. I want you to start thinking not only about how to use your time and the Einstein Window effectively by focusing on the 20%. I want you to go further. Reduce those distractions and then take the final step and make sure to start broadcasting to everyone what you're real availability is. When you do that, you'll know what it means to protect the integrity of that Einstein Window.