That pesky phone is stealing your time!

Are you always jumpinng for the phone when you hear it ringing?  Consider where you keep your stationery phones at work and home.  If you are planning to answer the phone each time it rings, have it close.  Place your phone on the opposite side of your preferred writing hand.  In other words - if you are right handed, put it on the left side of your work area.  This way when the phone rings, the non-preferred hand picks-up the phone while leaving the preferred hand free to take messages or notes or even do something else.  Be sure to have paper and pencil near the phone so you do not have to waste time looking for these.  If you prefer to avoid the temptation to pick the phone up when it rings or whenever an ideas pops into your head, have the phone a little further away so you are forced to actually move each time you want to make or answer a call. 

Phones and Headset
Where should you keep your phone book?  It can be very helpful to keep telephone and address books close to phone, which allows for quick lookups.  However, if you do not use it often, then consider putting books away in a drawer or on a shelf until it is necessary in order to not take-up work space from work or add to a cluttered look to your office.  Instead of a paper phone book, you may want to develop the habit of using the internet to look-up phone numbers and addresses.  This is usually quicker and much more up-to-date.  If your personal address book contains your client list or colleague numbers, then you may want to keep it locked up when not in use.  Where possible, you may want to eliminate the need for a stationary phone and address book by using as cell phone instead.

How can a cell phone possibly be better than a land-line?  You can make the cell phone help you be more productive by storing the phone numbers called most often within the phone.  Something to consider though is how to keep these numbers more secure in case you lose your phone.  Think about using initials instead of names so people in your directory are still unknown to others.   Another great reason to use a cell phone that is “smart” is it typically will have internet access so you can get phone numbers on-line or look-up driving directions when lost.   

Can having a cell phone really make it easier to keep from missing your calls?  With all the options that are now available, the cell phone has virtually eliminated the need for any other type of phones.  At the same time, it has made it more difficult to prevent distractions during concentration time.  How can you change this?  Be sure to turn off the phone when you need to concentrate or are in a meeting with others, whether social or business.

Do you lose your cell often and have trouble following the sound when you hear it ringing? Think about cell phone accessories that may help you when talking on the phone or to keep up with your phone better.  This may include: hands-free microphone/earphone accessories and Bluetooth - or options for hanging it on a pocket, belt, purse, wall, or car dashboard.

What are other ways you can save time using phones?  Take advantage of answering machines or voicemail in order to return phone calls at a more convenient time for you.  Then be prepared with answers to questions or expected conversations before returning the call.  If your phone has speed-dial features, take a few minutes to set that up for your most frequently used number, since the advantage of it is to save time when making calls.  So you do not forget important details after the call – be sure to repeat and confirm transactions, information, or future actions agreed to in the phone conversation. 

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