What is the most annoying habit of a coworker that you’ve had to deal with on your job? Well, that’s the way life is sometimes, right? So how should a Christian respond to these annoyances? We’ve looked at several annoying habits already. Now, here’s another one:

It’s the coworker who interrupts you continually, sometimes for work-related issues, sometimes not. But the interruptions are often unnecessary, and they definitely impact your productivity—as well as annoy you.

There’s no doubt that one of our major time wasters is interruptions. Every time we start and stop what we’re doing, we lose time. So, you need to think of creative ways to eliminate these unnecessary interruptions.

First, determine if you’re doing something to encourage the interruptions. For example, when they walk by your desk or office, don’t look up and give eye contact, which can invite a trivial interruption. And if that candy dish on your desk is too inviting, you may need to remove it.

Secondly, for necessary interruptions with work-related questions, it might be helpful to establish a daily time for interaction. You might suggest that the two of you get together first thing each morning to go over the day’s agenda. Frankly, managers can be the worst interrupters, and you could even suggest to your manager that an established daily meeting could save both of you lots of time—just to set the agenda and go over questions for the day.

Or you may have to become a bit more assertive, and simply say to the habitual interrupter, “You know, I just don’t have time to chat right now. Can we talk later?” That’s much nicer than showing annoyance through body language or harsh words.

Obviously, this is not a major issue. It’s just an annoyance. But these little things can start to add up and before you know it, you have a major issue on your hands. So, think of a positive, pleasant approach to try to change that annoying habit, but don’t let it cause you to respond poorly.

Paul wrote to the Colossians: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6). In responding to annoying people, we want to make this our objective—to be gracious and kind.