In an earlier post, I was talking about managing interruptions.
The first step was to identify the interruptions (phone calls, email, drop ins, etc.).
Second was to identify the expectations (prompt response, things done on time, etc.).
Finally, identify the communication needed that would allow you to manage the expectations.
Managing the expectations of other people who would want or need to communicate with you throughout the day is a simple matter of communication.
Think back to the last voicemail you reached when you were calling a colleague. Did it say:
“Thanks for calling. I am away from my desk. Leave a message and I’ll get back to you.”
How useful is that message? How much confidence do you have in your call being returned. And when will it be returned anyway?
What if instead the message said something like:
“In order to keep to all my deadlines, I am not answering my phone right now. However, if you leave a complete message (including why you are calling), I will return all phone calls between 11-12 or 3-4.”
And you knew the person would actually do that? I don’t know about you, but I am more inclined to leave a message (and only one message) when I get a voicemail like that.
And it is the same issue for emails. If you have already set up your email protocols (and I hope you have), and you are not checking email all day long, then all that is needed is a simple auto-response letting people know when you will be checking and responding to your email.
Two simple steps to free you up to get more done. Worth a try?