Open Door Fallacy

The concept of the “Open Door Policy” is good in theory and an improvement over times when leaders were not available and not approachable. In many cases the concept has gone too far though, and many leaders now think they should always be available.

I recommend closing your door and not taking calls for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. It’s easy to see that by closing your door it will prevent interruptions and increase your efficiency. However there are additional benefits, such as lowering your stress level.

I’ve read various articles that explain how to deal with interruptions by kicking people out of your office in a polite way, or how to hang up on time-wasters without them knowing you’re trying to get rid of them. It’s much easier to avoid those distractions in the first place. Set a standard at your workplace. “Between 11 am and noon everyday my door will be closed and I’m not taking calls.”

Research shows that the more control you have over your work, the less stress you will have. Don’t let other people determine when you will deal with issues. By taking control of this aspect of your work, you will reduce your stress.

There are other ways it will relieve stress as well. It’s all about what you do when your door is closed. The first practical thing is that you will get your work done faster, and we all feel less anxiety when we can check off an item on our list.

Beyond that it gives you time to analyze what else is causing you to feel tense, and you can plan your response to those issues. It will give you time to center yourself, do breathing exercises, listen to classical music, meditate, or any other relaxation technique that you prefer. I just encourage you to pick one and actually do it! It will help you get in flow and achieve your peak performance.

Overcome the urge to always be available. Some guilt-free alone time at work is good for you and good for your business.