Escape from New Dork
Since I started my current job, I have had a problem with some of my co-workers. The problem is that some of them aren't very busy. The other problem is that they have years of experience disguising this fact. Thus, I am one of the few people that knows that these people don't do much on any given day. How do I know this? Because they come to my office almost daily and spend 20 to 60 minutes (1.75 hours is the record) talking to me. Every hour that they spend babbling is an hour that I either have to stay late or work at home.
It would be different if they wanted to talk about work related topics or even something remotely interesting. Instead, I have to hear about their latest medical procedure, what they saw on TV the previous night, or, my favorite, how busy they are. I've tried solutions like shutting the door, ignoring them, and strategic fan-enhanced flatulence, without success. Yesterday, all of that changed.
This is a functional prototype of my Office Safety Valve. Here is how it works: When a habitual babbler walks into my office to tell me how smart her kids are or some such foolishness, I reach over and flip a switch on the green board that is on the leftmost thingy. After a 90 second delay, the rightmost widget sends an e-mail, via our SMTP server, to my co-conspirator:
Re: Rescue Me
You are receiving this e-mail because TFG's office has become infested by serial babbling. Please page TFG to the electrical department, via the PA system.
Once my helper makes the page, I politely excuse myself with a "production emergency" and walk out to our shop. Then, I briefly trade clever insights with shop employees regarding their familial origins, and return to my office. Meanwhile, the babbler has moved on to his/her next victim. Yesterday, the system was employed twice with success. I look at the 2 hours I spent developing this not as wasted time, but as a long term time management strategy that helps maximize my efficiency. There is no i in team, but there is one in prick.