If you have ever worked with me you will realise one thing very quickly, I don’t do phone calls. Apart from having sketchy reception in the office and often having a screaming toddler in the background, I personally have no regard for the humble convo.
Have you ever been on a roll with a task then ‘ring ring’ and BAM! There you fall ever so ungraciously out of your zone to be forced into another head space answering Jerry’s meaningless question. 20 mins later you have reread back over the last sentence 322 times trying to get back into the zone.
Phone calls are very ineffective use of your time and can be a big part of the reason why it takes you all day to complete that 1 hour task and you leaving the office questioning what you actually got done?.
If you value your time and want to get the most out of your day, you need to be selective about these little distractions. Firstly, either switch your phone off completely or put it on ‘do not disturb’ for the time you need to complete a task you need to focus on. If this is an all-day event, take a break ever 2-3 hours and check your messages for anything urgent but I can pretty much guarantee you that very few calls are ever truly urgent and in most cases, that person will move the earth to reach you in another form.
Second tip, schedule time to take/make phone calls each day. This could look like a 2 – 3 hour window in the middle of the day where you only have simple tasks to tackle and can easily recover from the interruption.
Thirdly, if you work in an office and tend to have a lot of questions throughout the day. Try setting up an app like Voxer which sends voice messages and these can be banked up while you get your task done.
Successfully pulling this off is about setting upfront expectations. Be clear as to why you aren’t available 24/7 and what alternatives are in place for people to reach you. Just to be clear, I think phone calls have their place and are great to establish relationships but to work effectively, you need to be more selective about how you spend your time.