Interruptions can really disrupt your workflow.
You spend time dismissing or addressing the person doing the interrupting, and then on regaining your focus.
I have a friend who doesn’t own an iPod, but wears the ubiquitous white earbuds nearly everywhere he goes, tucked into a pocket. He’s found that people only talk to him if they really have a pressing need.
So the headphones function as a passive barrier, sending out a signal that he is otherwise occupied.
Strangely, people feel more comfortable interrupting a person who is obviously intently working than a person wearing headphones.
Photo by WiLLGT09.