We all get stumped from time to time… we can’t think of the address of that website or the password to that service. It would take us a 30 seconds to look it up, or 15 seconds to just ask our coworker sitting across from us. It’s a no-brainer–ask our coworker!

We just saved 15 seconds. But what about our coworker? They have to stop what they’re doing, answer your question, then try to get back to being productive. The problem is that it can take 15 minutes to get back into “the zone.” We just cost them 15 minutes of productivity to save us 15 seconds. Add up all these little interruptions throughout the day and you can lose hours of productivity just by being lazy.

Next time you have a simple question for the person sitting next to you in the office (or across the country via IM), try finding the answer yourself first. Be resourceful. Ssearch Google. Check the documentation. Go through basic troubleshooting steps. Don’t ask for help until you’ve exhausted all your other options. And then, if it’s not an emergency, send an email instead of interrupting them.