While we’re all at home, we each retreat to our own rooms during working or school hours. (Quick aside: Boy am I thankful that we bought a four-bedroom house, giving me and Ian each our own private offices.) Of course we close the door when we need to be left alone. But it’s hard to tell what the closed door means. Is the person in a meeting that can’t be interrupted? Does he just need to focus, but a quick question would be okay? Benji in particular has a hard time not coming in talking, and I’ve had at least a few times of slightly embarrassing un-muted incidents where colleagues have been treated to family conversations.

Enter my idea to create color-coded door hangers to add nuance to a closed door. (My mother-in-law actually made these; she’s got the sewing skills.)

Meeting Indicators
Color-coded availability indicators.

Using one is pretty straightforward: Slip the applicable color onto the door before you close it.

Meeting Indicator in Action
Availability indicator in action.

My mother-in-law made a set for each of us adults, but Benji really wanted his own, too. Now we all have indicators to tell how interruptable each of us is at the moment.

Availability Indicators in Action
Everyone in the house uses these sometimes.

It’s a small step, but it’s a step.

Incidentally, I don’t know how I’ll ever go back to work, where I no longer have a door — or even a desk all to myself. I’ll let Future Katie worry about that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.