Most people want and need a time management tip for effectively managing their use of the phone. Don’t be a slave to your phone learn how to master it and use it as the useful tool it can be. Unfortunately far too often the phone is your enemy sucking up tons of time with little benefit to show from all the time invested. The phone can provide a way to: get quick information without leaving your home or office, stay in touch and manage remote events and operations, leave a quick and useful message, and to save time by getting the information and help you need almost immediately. Let’s focus on its usefulness and identify ways to make it more useful to you than it may be now.

Does your phone ring all day long or do you have people talking to you via the intercom feature? Recognize that just because your phone rings doesn’t mean you have to answer it. When you’re focused on your work ignore the phone until you’ve finished and have a break before you start the next thing. Let your voice mail do its job and record the necessary follow-up information, so if it’s a call you need to return you can do so, and if it’s a nuisance call you can just delete the message. Treat the intercom like someone walking into your office unexpectedly. Let them know that although you want to speak with them you are otherwise involved at the moment, and ask when you can call them back.

Make sure your calls are respectful of others time too. Establish the purpose and main points for the call before you ever pick up the phone. That way you won’t be frustrated when you hang up thinking you forgot to communicate something important during your call. As an example; the purpose of your call is to set a date time, and location for an upcoming meeting. The main points you want to cover in the call might be key responsibilities, purpose of the meeting, and the main points for the agenda. A great way to set the stage that this is a business call is to begin the call with a target length for the call. Following the example you might open by saying that you think everything you need to cover can be handled in 10 minutes and confirm the other party has 10 minutes available. Then proceed into your purpose and main points. In essence any time you make a call you are asking for either a planned or unplanned meeting with the other party. Having an agenda for this meeting conducted via the telephone is as effective as it is when holding a face-to-face meeting.

Not everyone has the same understanding of how to make the phone a useful time management tool. Train those calling you to have a clear purpose and objective before calling you. You can help them with this by asking how long they think the call will take, and asking them about the purpose of the call. If you don’t have the time when they call establish another time for the call, and ask them to have their main points ready so you don’t miss anything. Let them know that now that you understand the purpose of the call that you will be prepared with your main points for the call as well.

Proper phone management is a great start to effective time management. The phone can save you oodles of time if you use it to get the information you need without leaving your office or home. The phone only becomes a time management nightmare when you allow yourself and others to use the phone improperly. There is a big difference between a call to chat and a call with a purpose. Avoid allowing calls that should have a purpose to become chat calls.

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