A few years ago I instituted a new rule. This new rule has been a total game changer for me. I know some people think I’m crazy or even a bit obsessive but it works for me. I no longer take unscheduled phone calls. When clients have questions they can either send me an email, leave a message with my assistant, or schedule a call with me. The funny thing is this also applies to my personal life. Most of the people who are close to me know to “text first.” If my BFF needs me, she sends me a text saying “can you talk?” If I can, I call her. If not, I tell her when I can. My husband and daughter do the same. If either of them call me without out texting first, I immediately get nervous.
I know some of you are probably shaking your heads right now, but please know there’s a method to my madness. These are the reasons why I stopped taking unscheduled calls.
- Phone tag SUCKS! – Growing up I can remember playing tag with my friends, and it was a lot of fun. However, now that I’m an adult – a very busy adult – I do not like playing tag. We have all played the proverbial game of phone tag. You call, get voicemail, and leave a message. They call you back, get voicemail, and leave a message. You call them back, get voicemail, and leave yet another message. This “game” could go on and on for days at a time. Let’s not even consider those who do not leave a message or the ones who leave the worst message of all “Hey, this is Jon, call me back.” That message always has me thinking, “for what?” LOL
- Messes with my FLOW – Have you ever been working on something and you were in a groove. Whether you are writing a great blog post – like this one – or a proposal for a new client, the last thing you need is to take a phone call – especially if it’s someone who merely wants to chit chat. When I’m working on a client’s tax return or doing a forensic review of financials, I do not want (or need) to be interrupted. Nothing messes with my “mojo” like an unscheduled phone call. I guarantee, if you take the call thinking it will be quick, fifteen minutes later, you have lost your flow, forgotten the point you were trying to make, or even worst overlooked something really important.
- I prefer to CHUNK – When I’m doing tasks, I like to do similar task at the same time. This method helps me maximize my time and remain more efficient. Phone calls are something I prefer doing in a block of time, or what I like to call a chunk. I like returning all phone calls at the same time, either when I have a break in between projects or at the end of the day. I also have certain days and times that I have set aside for scheduled calls.
To some people, this might sound anal but for me, it’s another tool in The Efficient Entrepreneur Lifestyle Arsenal. These are contributors to how I can get more done in a day than some people do all week. And this is also how I can have a social life even during tax season. I will speak more about that in another blog post.
Bernadette Harris is the Founder of The Efficient Entrepreneur Lifestyle and a Small Business Superhero. She’s a straight shooter who helps small businesses owners start, run, and grow efficient enterprises. Follow her on social media @TrustBernadette