Essentially all of the keys we will explore in this series involve being proactive to keep chaos at bay. Implement the following ideas to avoid letting the telephone “steal” your time (and of course, it’s not the “telephone” that is stealing your time, now is it?)
- Don’t answer the phone. If you are doing something that has your attention, don’t pick up the phone. Let your machine or voice mail pick it up. We often let ringing phones interrupt us at times that we would never let a person interrupt us.
- If you *do* answer your phone, set a timer that will go off after a designated amount of time. If it’s audible, it lets you and the caller hear it.
- Have an egg timer by your phone. This is just to let you know the amount of time that has passed. There’s nothing audible…it just gives you a sense of the amount of time that is passing as you are on the phone.
- Tell the truth. If someone calls and you are right in the midst of something, say that. If you have been on the phone longer than you can afford, tell the person that. Be honest.
- At the beginning of a phone call, tell your caller that you have about 10 minutes, or whatever is the amount of time that you can devote to the call.
- Use caller ID. If calls are coming through that are “unknown”, then you can feel better about not picking up the phone.
- Put your number on “Do Not Call” registries. This works for home phones, but not for business phones.
- Recognize that the way many companies are getting around “Do Not Call” registries is by saying that they are not selling anything, but are just taking a survey. Recognize these calls for what they are, and tell the person you are not interested and that you are hanging up. Don’t argue or discuss it. Give notice that you are hanging up, then do.
- Be circumspect about giving out your cell phone number.
- Recognize when you are using talking on the telephone to avoid doing something else you really need to! Be honest….we all do that sometimes.
And here’s a bonus: When you do answer the phone, say, “Hello, Meggin McIntosh here (or probably, better to use your own name). How can I help you today?” This lets the other person know you are ready to help and you are ready to get right to it. I had left this out of earlier versions of this email but one of my astute readers knew that this is one I’d recommended in workshops she’d attended and she said it really has helped her. Thanks, Lorrie!
Note: Telephone time thieves can operate regardless of whether you are the caller or the recipient of the call. Remember that.
If that sounds like you, and you’re ready to banish those burglars once and for all, you will love this practical and specific Get a Plan! Guide® to Thwarting the Thieves of Your Time, Energy, & Attention. If you like reading and having a document to refer to, you may purchase and download this 47-page, full-color Get a Plan! Guide®. You’ll be glad you did!