April 20, 2019

Archives for November 1, 2011

Tenth Circuit: Stipulation of Dismissal Was a Self-Executing Dismissal and Required No Further Motion

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in De Leon v. Marcos on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

The Tenth Circuit vacated the district court’s judgment. Petitioner appeals from the district court’s entry of judgment in favor of Respondent. The district court granted Respondent’s motion to dismiss on the merits after the parties had already executed a settlement agreement and filed a stipulation of dismissal. However, the Tenth Circuit found two ambiguities that were raised by the stipulation of dismissal. “First, it invokes Rule 41(a)(2), but that rule contemplates a motion to dismiss filed by the plaintiff in situations other than those set out in Rule 41(a)(1), not a jointly signed stipulation. . . . [T]he procedural posture of the case was such that the parties could have invoked the exception to Rule 41(a)(2), i.e., Rule 41(a)(1), and the stipulation was not styled as plaintiff’s motion. The second ambiguity is that the stipulation provides a space for the district judge’s signature but does not expressly ask the district court to approve the dismissal; in other words, it is not a motion to dismiss as contemplated by Rule 41(a)(2).”

Despite these ambiguities, “it appears that neither of them affected the district court’s interpretation of the stipulation. Instead, the court read the stipulation as conditioned on the filing of a motion to dismiss and assumed that the parties had rescinded the Agreement.” However, the stipulation itself was the “motion” referred to in the stipulation. Therefore, the district court’s conclusion that a separate motion was required was incorrect and there was no reason to conclude that the Agreement had been rescinded. The Court found that the stipulation of dismissal was a self-executing dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(ii) and vacated the district court’s judgment.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 10/31/11

On Monday, October 31, 2011, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and three unpublished opinions.

Unpublished

Boston Scientific Corp. v. Mabey

Rose v. Utah State Bar

Harris v. PBC NBADL, LLC

No case summaries are available for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Appellate Courts Would Most Likely Adopt Partial Subordination Approach; Request for Declaratory Relief Dismissed

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Tomar Development, Inc. v. Bent Tree, LLC on October 27, 2011.

Interlocutory Review Under C.A.R. 4.2.

Plaintiffs filed a petition for interlocutory review of several district court orders. The petition was denied and the case was dismissed.

This case involved a complex series of loans, deeds of trust, and subordination agreements. As relevant to the appeal, plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment of their lien priority based on their view of applicable subordination principles and on equitable principles. Defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that the “partial subordination approach” should apply here. Under that approach, a subordinating creditor is viewed as having effectively assigned its higher priority to the holder of a junior lien. Plaintiffs argued that the “complete subordination approach” should apply.

The district court dismissed plaintiffs’ request for declaratory relief, concluding that the Colorado appellate courts would most likely adopt the partial subordination approach. The court also denied the motion to dismiss on equitable principles, stating that it could not conclude at the pleading stage that a set of facts could not be proven that would lead to the requested judgment.

The parties filed, and the district court granted, a stipulated motion for interlocutory appeal pursuant to C.A.R. 4.2. Under the Rule, the Court may grant an interlocutory appeal in its discretion when (1) immediate review may promote a more orderly disposition or establish a final disposition of the litigation; (2) the order from which an appeal is sought involves a controlling question of law; and (3) the order from which an appeal is sought involves an unresolved question of law.

The Court of Appeals found that the question of whether Colorado follows the complete or partial subordination approach appeared to be an issue of first impression. However, on the record presented, the Court could not conclude either (1) that immediate review may promote a more orderly disposition or establish a final disposition of the litigation; or (2) that the question presented was controlling. Because of other pending claims, the Court could not find that accepting the appeal would promote a more orderly or final disposition of the litigation or how the question was controlling. Accordingly, the petition was denied and the appeal was dismissed.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries for the Colorado Court of Appeals on October 27, 2011, can be found here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: No Privilege Against Self-Incrimination in a Forcible Administration of Medication Hearing

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People In the Interest of Strodtman on October 27, 2011.

Forcible Administration of Antipsychotic Medications—Due Process—Automatic Stay.

Respondent Joyce A. Strodtman appealed the magistrate’s order authorizing the Denver Health Medical Center (DHMC) to forcibly administer her antipsychotic medications. The order was affirmed.

Strodtman contended that the magistrate’s order was void for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court in which a short-term certification is filed pursuant to CRS § 27-65-107 has original and continuing jurisdiction under CRS § 27-65-111(4) to decide matters concerning forcible administration of medication. Under C.R.M. 6(e)(2)(B), magistrates also possess jurisdiction over these matters. Therefore, the magistrate did not lack jurisdiction to hear and decide Strodtman’s case.

Strodtman also contended that the magistrate violated her due process rights because he failed to conduct a full and fair adversary hearing. When the administration of involuntary antipsychotic medication is at issue, due process requires notice, the right to be present at an adversary hearing, and the right to present and cross-examine witnesses. Here, it was not error for the People to call Strodtman as a witness, because Strodtman had no privilege against self-incrimination in a forcible administration of medication hearing. The court also did not err in qualifying Dr. O’Flaherty, a first-year psychiatry resident at the University of Colorado–Denver, as an expert in medicine, because she had specialized knowledge in treating psychiatric patients. Further, the court did not err in allowing the People’s medical experts to provide hearsay testimony, because it formed the basis of their opinion. In addition, Strodtman did not prove bias merely by showing that the magistrate made a passing comment about the People’s expertise in the matter. Finally, although the magistrate’s comments regarding his personal experience with therapy were inappropriate, the magistrate decided the case based on the proper elements and his personal experience ultimately did not prejudice Strodtman so as to depart from the required impartiality.

Strodtman also argued that the magistrate erred in finding that the People had proved all four elements by clear and convincing evidence. However, the evidence in the record indicates that (1) Strodtman was not competent to participate in treatment decisions because she disagreed with her diagnosis and refused to take medications in the past; (2) Strodtman was not taking medication when she was hospitalized; (3) the medication effectively treated the symptoms that caused her to be hospitalized; (4) without this medication, she would experience significant, long-term deterioration; and (5) Strodtman lacked the capacity to consistently self-medicate, so oral medication taken voluntarily was not an available effective treatment. Strodtman’s need for treatment by antipsychotic injections to keep her from being hospitalized was sufficiently compelling to override Strodtman’s interest in refusing treatment.

Strodtman also argued that the magistrate erred by denying her post-hearing motion seeking an order automatically staying forcible administration pursuant to C.R.C.P. 62. However, a forcible medication administration order is not the type of action contemplated in Rule 62(a). Accordingly, orders for forcible medication administration are not automatically stayed for fourteen days after entry.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries for the Colorado Court of Appeals on October 27, 2011, can be found here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Trial Court Failed to Reduce Attorney Fees Award Proportionately

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Planning Partners Int’l, LLC v. QED, Inc. on October 27, 2011.

Breach of Contract—Attorney Fees—Counterclaims.

In this breach of contract case, defendant QED, Inc. (QED) appealed the trial court’s judgment awarding $188,748.80 in attorney fees to plaintiff Planning Partners International, LLC (PPI). The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded with directions.

QED, an electrical supply company, decided to host a Mediterranean cruise for its employees and customers. QED hired PPI to plan and coordinate the air travel from Colorado to Spain. PPI entered into a standard charter agreement with Omni Air International, Inc. (Omni), a charter flight company. Three days before the scheduled departure, Omni informed PPI that it was assessing a fuel surcharge of $122,428 and threatened to delay service until it received payment pursuant to the charter agreement. PPI agreed to pay it on QED’s behalf if QED signed a promissory note and loan agreement (Agreement), which it did. In July 2008, PPI filed this lawsuit alleging that QED had refused to repay PPI. QED filed counterclaims against PPI for breach of contract relating to the letter of agreement, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence. The jury returned a verdict awarding PPI $137,725 on its breach of contract claim and awarding QED $58,535 on its breach of contract counterclaim, for a net judgment to PPI of $79,190.

QED argued that a significant portion of PPI’s attorney fees were incurred in defending all of its counterclaims, including the ancillary ones, and that the trial court erred as a matter of law in refusing to apportion the fees on that basis. The attorney fee provision at issue here shifts the burden of fees to the borrower (QED), regardless of which party prevails. Where reasonable attorney fees are provided for in a promissory note or contract and the judgment based on the note or contract has been reduced by a counterclaim arising out of the transaction, an apportionment of attorney fees is required in proportion to the amount recovered on the note less the amount recovered on the counterclaim. The trial court found that PPI incurred reasonable and necessary attorney fees of $188,748.80, but it erred in failing to reduce PPI’s award proportionately. The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded for correction of the award of attorney fees.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries for the Colorado Court of Appeals on October 27, 2011, can be found here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Property Encumbered By a Valid Lien Not Asset under Colorado Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Board of County Commissions of the County of Park v. Park County Sportsmen’s Ranch, LLP on October 27, 2011.

Colorado Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act—Jury Verdict—Evidence—Asset—Lien—Successor Liability—Foreclosure—Notice—Accommodation Party.

Defendants appealed the jury verdicts and trial court judgments in favor of plaintiffs on their claims of fraudulent conveyance, civil conspiracy, successor liability, and quiet title. The judgment was affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case was remanded for further findings.

Defendants contended that the jury’s verdict under the Colorado Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (CUFTA) was not supported by sufficient evidence. A fraudulent transfer under CUFTA includes the transfer of an asset; however, an asset does not include “property to the extent it is encumbered by a valid lien.” Here, because defendant Park County Sportsmen’s Ranch, LLP (PCSR)was encumbered by valid liens that exceeded its value at the time of foreclosure, it was not an asset under CUFTA. Further, defendants signed the 2002 note as accommodation to the parties under CRS § 4-3-419, because they did not receive any direct benefit from the loan. Therefore, the verdict was not supported by the evidence, and the judgment was reversed. Additionally, the jury’s verdict on civil conspiracy was reversed because it was based on the alleged fraudulent transfer.

Defendants contended that the jury’s verdict on successor liability must be reversed. Generally, a corporation that acquires the assets of another corporation does not become liable for its debts. Here, however, the indirect transfer of assets through a foreclosure sale supports successor liability despite the fact that the property lacked any equity. Additionally, the evidence supports the jury’s verdict that defendant JJWM, LLP was liable as a successor corporation, because (1) the original four partners of PCSR, the previous corporation, also were the only four partners of JJWM; (2) both partnerships had the same purpose; (3) JJWM acquired the sole asset of PCSR; and (4) PCSR also was JJWM’s sole asset. This evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s verdict on successor liability under the mere continuation exception.

Defendants argued that the trial court erred by reattaching plaintiffs’ original judgment liens to the ranch owned by JJWM. Because the individual defendants were accommodation parties, the foreclosure sale was valid and, except for Thornton’s lien due to defective notice, the foreclosure extinguished the other plaintiffs’ judgment liens. Based on this conclusion, the trial court’s order attaching plaintiffs’ original judgment liens to the ranch was reversed, except as to Thornton.

Defendant City of Aurora contended that the trial court erred by (1) finding lack of notice to Thornton of the foreclosure; and (2) voiding Aurora’s quitclaim deed from JJWM for a portion of the ranch. Because the record shows that the notice to Thornton was defective, the foreclosure did not extinguish its judgment lien. Because no fraudulent transfer occurred under CUFTA, the court’s order voiding the quitclaim deed was reversed.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries for the Colorado Court of Appeals on October 27, 2011, can be found here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Booking Reports Properly Certified, Not Hearsay, and Not Testimonial

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Warrick on October 27, 2011.

Possession of Weapon by Previous Offender—Booking Reports—Mittimus—Authentication—Hearsay—Confrontation Rights—Opinion Testimony—Identification.

Defendant appealed the judgment of conviction entered on a jury verdict finding him guilty of possession of a weapon by a previous offender (POWPO) and harassment. The judgment was affirmed.

Defendant contended that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting the booking reports and the mittimus, both of which were used by the prosecution to convict defendant of the POWPO charge, because they were not sufficiently authenticated. The booking reports contained a certification from the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office that was signed by the custodian of records. This certification was sufficient evidence to authenticate the booking reports as public records under C.R.E. 901(b)(7). Further, the mittimus was self-authenticating under C.R.E. 902(4), because it was certified and signed, and contained the seal of the Arapahoe County District Court. Accordingly, there was no abuse of discretion in admitting these documents over defendant’s objection.

Defendant also contended that the booking reports and the mittimus were hearsay and that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting them under the public records exception. However, the trial court was appropriate in admitting the booking reports and mittimus under C.R.E. 803(8)(A) and (B).

Defendant contended that admission of the booking reports and the mittimus violated his confrontation rights under the U.S. and Colorado Constitutions. The booking reports and mittimus were not created to establish a material fact at any future criminal proceeding. Rather, they were created for routine administrative purposes. Therefore, the booking reports and the mittimus were not testimonial and did not trigger defendant’s confrontation rights.

Defendant contended that the trial court abused its discretion when it permitted the police officer to testify that conspiracy to commit robbery is a class 5 felony and that “F5” stands for class 5 felony. The officer’s testimony that conspiracy to commit a robbery is a class 5 felony “could be reached by any ordinary person” capable of looking up the applicable provision in the Colorado Revised Statutes. Therefore, the police officer’s testimony, even if it was an opinion, was not expert testimony within the meaning of C.R.E. 702.

Defendant further contended that the trial court abused its discretion and committed plain error requiring reversal of his conviction by admitting the police officer’s testimony identifying him from his booking photos. The police officer testified that he had come into contact with defendant during his investigation and stated that he had gotten a good look at him during that period. Therefore, the officer was personally familiar with defendant and did not err in identifying him.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries for the Colorado Court of Appeals on October 27, 2011, can be found here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Trial Court Failed to Make Evidentiary Findings Regarding Justification for Strip Search

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. King on October 27, 2011.

Possession—Controlled Substance—Strip Search—Warrant—Fourth Amendment—Knock and Announce.

Defendant appealed the judgment of conviction entered on jury verdicts finding him guilty of possession of a schedule II controlled substance. The case was remanded with directions.

Defendant contended that the trial court erred in concluding that the strip search, which revealed he was concealing bags of cocaine in his anus, was within the scope of the search warrant. Strip searches require reasonable suspicion specific to the search and are outside the scope of a warrant allowing a search “upon person.” Strip searches must be authorized (1) by a warrant allowing strip searches that includes an articulable basis for the more invasive search; or (2) by officers having particularized reasonable suspicion that the defendant has hidden contraband on his or her body. Here, the officers performed a strip search on defendant when they asked defendant to take off his pants and defendant informed them that he was not wearing underwear. The trial court failed to make any evidentiary findings regarding the justification for the strip search (specifically, whether the officers had the requisite reasonable suspicion that defendant was hiding drugs on his body). Accordingly, the trial court must consider this issue on remand.

Defendant also contended that the officers violated the “knock and announce” principle of the Fourth Amendment. Here, the no-knock method used to execute the warrant was proper because there were exigent circumstances necessitating an unannounced entry. Defendant had a history of drug dealings and the search took place at a motel where there was a bathroom nearby. The officers had a reasonable suspicion that knocking and announcing their presence likely would result in destruction of the drugs subject to seizure.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries for the Colorado Court of Appeals on October 27, 2011, can be found here.

Guardians ad Litem and the Attorney-Client Privilege: The Aftermath of the Gabriesheski Decision

On October 24, 2011, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in People v. Gabriesheski. The Court held that because a child in a dependency and neglect proceeding is not the client of a court-appointed guardian ad litem (GAL), the attorney-client privilege and confidentiality do not strictly apply. In reaching its decision, the Court noted that the role of the GAL is to represent the interests of the child, not the child himself or herself. The full case summary can be read below.

What will this mean for guardians ad litem and the children whose interests they represent? The decision raises many questions for family and juvenile law practitioners, including how to handle the ethical challenges of the case moving forward. Attorneys Sheri Danz and Linda Weinerman from the Office of the Child’s Representative, amicus curiae in Gabriesheski, will discuss the far-reaching ramifications of this important decision, issued only last week. This CLE program will be held on Monday, November 7, and will provide 1 General CLE credit and 1 Ethics credit.

Don’t miss this excellent opportunity to stay on the cutting edge of family and juvenile law developments in Colorado and learn how this very recent Colorado Supreme Court decision will affect your practice. Registration information is provided below.

People v. Gabriesheski

Dependency and Neglect Proceeding—Attorney–Client Privilege—Confidentiality of Communications—Guardian ad Litem—Social Worker—Witnesses.

The People sought review of the court of appeals’ judgment affirming two in limine evidentiary rulings of the district court in a prosecution for sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust in People v. Gabriesheski, 205 P.3d 441 (Colo. App. 2008). Following the district court’s exclusion of testimony concerning the recantation of the defendant’s step­daughter, the alleged child-sexual-assault victim, the prosecutor conceded her inability to go forward, and the case was dismissed. The court of appeals concluded that section 16- 12-102(1), C.R.S. (2010), gave it jurisdiction to entertain the People’s appeal, but it affirmed both of the trial court’s evidentiary rulings.

With regard to the exclusion of testimony by the guardian ad litem appointed in a parallel dependency and neglect proceeding, the court of appeals held that the child’s communications with the guardian fell within the attorney-client privilege, as set out at section 13-90-107(1)(b), C.R.S. (2010). With regard to the exclusion of testimony by a social worker also involved in the dependency and neglect proceeding, the court found her to be both a professional who could not be examined in a criminal case without the consent of the parent-respondent, as dictated by section 19-3-207, C.R.S. (2010), and a licensed professional who could not be examined without the consent of her client, according to section 13-90-107(1)(g), C.R.S. (2010).

The Colorado Supreme Court affirms in part and reverses in part, holding that the court of appeals did have jurisdiction to entertain the People’s appeal, but disapproved of its conclusions with regard to both of the trial court’s evidentiary rulings. The supreme court finds that because a child who is the subject of a dependency and neglect proceeding is not the client of a court-appointed guardian ad litem, neither the statutory attorney-client privilege nor ethical rules governing an attorney’s obligations of confidentiality to a client strictly apply to communications by the child. Further, the supreme court finds that because the trial court apparently understood section 19-3-207 to bar the examination of the social worker in the defendant’s criminal case as long as she qualified as a professional involved in the dependency and neglect proceeding, it failed to make sufficient findings to satisfy the additional statutory requirement that the statements at issue be ones made in compliance with court treatment orders, or to demonstrate the applicability of section 13-90-107, which is limited by its own terms to communications made by a client in the course of professional employment or psychotherapy.

CLE Program: Guardians Ad Litem and the Attorney-Client Privilege – The Aftermath of the Gabriesheski Decision

This CLE presentation will take place on Monday, November 7. Participants may attend live in our classroom or watch the live webcast.

If you can’t make the live program or webcast, the program will also be available as a homestudy in two formats: video on-demand and mp3 download.

Immigration Law: 2013 Diversity Lottery Remains Open Through November 5, 2011

Editor’s Note: The new CBA-CLE book Immigration Law for the Colorado Practitioner is now available for purchase. In addition to federal laws and regulations, lawyers must understand specific Colorado immigration laws and policies being implemented, and how they can affect their clients. This comprehensive reference covers an incredible range of practice issues, providing the necessary orientation, analysis, and authorities. It’s a new “must have” for the Colorado general practitioner, lawyers who focus their practice in areas that overlap with immigration law, as well as for lawyers who focus exclusively on immigration law. Click here for more information and to order.

The U.S. Department of State (“department”) opened registration for the 2013 Diversity Lottery Program will on October 4, 2011.The department will accept electronically-submitted registration applications (E-DV Form) until noon (EDT) on November 5, 2011.

Annually, the department sets aside 55,000 immigrant visas for the Diversity Visa Program. Out of the 55,000, 5,000 visas are allocated and available to aliens eligible to apply under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA). The department selects and distributes the available 2013 Diversity Visas to nationals from among six geographic regions and up to 7% of applicants from any single eligible country.

Nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants tot he United States or more are not eligible to register for the Diversity Visa Program. The list of ineligible countries includes natives from the following: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born)*, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

*Natives of Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible to register.

Eligible registrants must submit an E-DV Form at www.dvlottery.state.gov to enter the lottery. The department will no longer accept paper entries. The official, electronic form is only in English. However, registrants may find unofficial translations of the electronic form on the department’s website, in Albanian, Armenian, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Uzbek. Other translations of the form or assistance with translations may be available at the respective US Embassy website or foreign post in the registrant’s country of residence.

The electronic registration system provides each registrant with a unique confirmation number. On or after May 1, 2013, registrants can return to the department’s website to check if their confirmation number has been selected. If selected, the department will then send instructions to the successful registrant on how to apply for an immigrant visa.

Every year, through the wonders of internet technology, more fraudulent websites are created as scams charging unnecessary fees to unwary lottery registrants. The websites often appear as official government websites. Scammers may also send emails or letters “posing as the U.S. government.” Please remember that the department does NOT collect a fee from registrants to enter the Diversity Visa Program. In addition, the department will NOT send registrants status updates or selection notices via email or regular mail. Registrants must check the department’s website using their confirmation number for updates on their entry.

Amber Blasingame is an associate attorney at the Joseph Law Firm and has focused her practice on immigration law since 1995. Amber contributes to the Immigration Issues blog, where this post originally appeared on September 29, 2011.

Short Interruptions Lead to Long Delays—Avoid Them with Time Management Tricks

Do you have a second?  Can I steal you for a moment?  Ring!  It doesn’t take much to break someone’s concentration, and restoring it can take longer than the interruption itself.

Some interruptions are important and welcome.  Everyone needs an occasional mental break, and avoiding all office small talk is bad for morale and cohesiveness. A fire alarm, or metaphorical one, also needs to be heard.

Most interruptions however, could be more efficiently addressed with better management and clearer expectations.  Here are three time management tips for side-stepping distractions and minimizing their effect while being available for true emergencies:

Better communication

Doesn’t he know I’m too busy for this?

Maybe not.  Maybe your coworker doesn’t realize that your deadlines are looming, your clients are on your back, and your stressball has burst.

Clearly and accurately communicating your tight schedule to the rest of the office may head off distractions before they become a problem.  Carefully, tactfully, respectfully mention in the weekly meeting that you’ll only be available for small talk after hours for the next week (and that you might be sleeping at your desk during that time).

Don’t let your computer distract you

Turn off your desktop email alert.  That’s the notification in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen with the sender’s name and the subject line.  Five minutes reading an email, five minutes responding, and five minutes getting back to the same level of deep concentration add up to 15 minutes of inefficient time.  This can multiply quickly.

Don’t let text messages or personal email distract you either.  Completely avoiding personal tasks during the day isn’t realistic, especially as the hours get longer, but by setting aside a chunk of time for personal calls, it won’t interrupt your train of thought at an inopportune time.

Recognize an interruption and handle it with ease

When your coworker walks in with a useful question (or a less than useful anecdote), take these three time management steps:

  1. Mark your place. Before you forget, write a quick note to yourself about what you were doing.  Finding your way back to your peak of concentration is easier with a map;
  2. Decide if the interruption is an emergency, an opportunity for rapport-building, a good topic for some other time, or a waste of time;
  3. Decide to allow the distraction, ask if you can put it off, or tactfully end the conversation.

A gentle way to end the conversation is to stand up.  A less gentle way is to stare at your computer screen. The least gentle way is to pretend you have a cell phone call from the President.

If the pressure is especially intense or the work especially complex, close your door, put your phone on “Do Not Disturb,” and ask your coworkers to give you some space.  You may even want to arrange for flex time on a weekend.  Saturday morning can be the most productive time of the week.

Steven Nichols works with Mission Critical Systems, a Denver Training Company, offering classes in Time Management and Microsoft Office. He can be reached with questions at (303) 383-1627 x 1104. He contributes to the CBA’s SOLO in COLO blogwhere this post originally appeared on October 10, 2011.