Do you get lots of phone calls?  Does your phone ever stop ringing?   Do you find it difficult not to answer?  How do we handle phone interruptions?  Let’s take a look at some causes and solutions for phone interruptions.

Here are some causes:  No planning for handling unexpected calls.  No plans for un-availability.  Lack of delegation.  Inability to terminate the conversation.  Possible escape activity that supports procrastination.

Here are some solutions for handling phone interruptions.

Develop a plan to screen, delegate and consolidate.  Communicate your schedule to others.  Set aside certain times for making and taking phone calls.  Batching helps you control YOUR schedule rather than being a victim of somebody else’s schedule.

When making phone calls, always prepare a checklist so that nothing is missed.  Then you are prepared to leave a voice mail message, if necessary.

When taking calls ask, “What’s the point questions” to keep the conversation brief and focused.  Ask questions like, “What do you need?” or “How can I help you, exactly?”

You can also listen briefly and delegate.  If you’re not facing an emergency, postpone your involvement, and delegate as much of the detail work to somebody who has the available time and resources.  Refer calls to others and provide them a list of points to discuss.

Create a few different strategies for accepting and ending conversations.  Preset a time limit, “Yes, I can talk for about 5 minutes.”  Or say, “I am just on my way out of my office for a meeting.”  You can also foreshadow the ending.  “Angie, before we hang up…” Be candid, “Sorry, Scott, got to go now.”

Take action.  Don’t use the phone call to procrastinate and avoid unpleasant tasks.  Stay on schedule with short-term goals with time-sensitive targets.

Analyze the problem.  Develop a plan.  Discuss your strategies with your coworkers to avoid surprise or offense.  Ensure understanding.  Implement your plan and modify these strategies to improve your telephone management.

Check back to every Monday for a new video blog.