Guest blog by Leslie Shreve

I work with a few clients many who greatly respect the time of their office visitors and callers, but not theIs your phone ordering you around? ir own.

Let’s take my client Bob. When a visitor is in his office, Bob doesn’t pick up the phone out of respect for the visitor and the discussion they’re having. That’s great. But when Bob’s alone and the phone rings, he’s sure not to miss the call. And without caller ID, he risks getting stuck with a caller he wasn’t really interested in talking with.

Do you experience the same situation?

Well, if you’re wondering what the problem is, it’s that professionals are missing out on the best use of their time to finish what they start. They’re not honoring their own priorities, but instead are caving to the priorities of others.

When the phone rings, it’s saying, “Answer me!” and then you pick it up. It’s just like e-mail. These interruptions are usually (but not always) someone else’s agenda and not yours. And you may think you’re being efficient by answering the phone now so you don’t have to return a call later, but at what cost?

I know you’re busy. I know there’s a lot going on. And I know you’re waiting for updates from other people. But unless the calls you’re waiting for are critical in some way, the call can probably wait the short span of time for you to get the voice mail and return the call later.

And I’m not saying to do this all day, every day. I’m saying when you choose to work on a special project or a priority that needs your undivided attention for just a half hour or an hour, ask yourself if it’s really necessary to pick up the phone and interrupt your train of thought. Decide ahead of time if you’re going to allow the phone to command you to pick it up. You don’t pick it up when you have visitors. Aren’t you just as important as they are?

Think of it this way…not picking up the phone by choice is no different than when you’re in a meeting, out that day, went to the dentist or you stepped out for lunch. Your attention to your priority at hand is important. I encourage everyone to finish what they start when possible. And it is possible.

“Leslie Shreve was a Productivity Coach to Mike Mack of X5 Management in 2011 and really is a highly regarded expert in this subject matter. If you want to take your productivity to the next level, contact Leslie.”
Mack, Business Strategist, X5 Management Inc.

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