I write for, and give seminars to, clients who are looking for ways to do more and do it better. This piece is something I threw together a while ago for a company newsletter. Some of the tips are solid while others might be a bit extreme. I´ll leave it to you to decide which ones are which:
When it comes to trying to get some work done in your office, one of the biggest momentum killers is the dreaded drop-in visitor. When someone says "do you have a minute?" what they are really saying is "my work is boring to me right now, so I am going to interrupt your focus, regale you with inane babble and slowly sap your will to live. Do you mind?". Once they ask, you can´t say no, or everyone in the office will hear that you are a grouch who is too good for them. But you have work to do, so you need to come up with ways to avoid hearing about how co-worker Jim thinks that the company would be more productive if the silver paperclips were replaced with gold ones.
You have to be proactive. For example, remove any extra chairs, pictures or other comfortable furnishings from your office. You might not like the bare-as-prison-cell look, but if your office isn´t inviting Jim won´t like it either, so he will be less likely to drop in. Another approach to try is to stand up when someone drops in. You can´t be comfortable talking to someone who is standing up, so Jim is less likely to stay as long. If he doesn´t get the hint, start walking towards the door as you talk. If he is really dense, just keep walking and leave him there alone. There´s the chance that he will never leave and you will have to get a new office, but that´s a risk worth taking. If he never leaves your office, you can always go and use his. If none of that works and you are still getting interrupted by drop-in visitors, you can always close your door. And get a lock. And a gun.