First, let me finish. Then interrupt.

One of the most common complaints we hear has to with something that is so fundamentally a part of the modern workplace, it’s almost impossible to avoid.

In fact, we all have to deal with it. Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded interruption.

Here are a few suggestions about managing and minimizing workplace interruptions.

Stop being surprised or upset by interruptions

Instead, plan for them! You know they’re going to happen, so work that into your equation. Leave a few gaps in your schedule (we can show that on the calendar) each day, just in case!

No one is going to protect your time for you

Create a system that works for you. Put your phone in a desk drawer, turn off instant messaging, send phone calls to voicemail. There’s no reason you should be at the mercy of everyone else.

Just be sure that you’re checking in regularly and getting back to people within a reasonable amount of time.

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Don’t be afraid to use some kind of “do not disturb” sign

Put it on a post-it note. Put a string across your cubical door that tells others not to enter. Communicate your new system to others in the office.

If you don’t want people to interrupt you, don’t interrupt them

Show respect for others by asking, “Is now a good time to talk?” before simply launching into a conversation. So, when it comes to interruptions at work: Be a role model for the kind of behavior you’d like to see from others.