TIME TRACKING advice: Unite and conquer - wrap your phone calls together and get more out of your time

One of the advantages of employing a time tracking system is being able to look back at your past days and having a clear view of how you have managed your tasks in everyday life.
A view more precise than the one you would have just by attempting on a time consuming effort to remember what and how you have dealt with your duties or going through vague notes in a diary.

One of the conclusions one can come to is that, although time in some activities might have been carried out wisely, some activities may not have been allotted in the best place. Considering that, in order to have one´s daily activities relocated to fit in a more productive schedule, it may appear as if others need to be eliminated.  They don´t. Some activities can simply fit in the non-productive time in-between others.

The proposal here is to re-arrange (or simply arrange) one of the most common activities in everyday office and business life: phone calls. The idea here is to offer an overview on how treating calls as an activity itself rather that a task connected with an activity,  can help you save your valuable time and still get to communicate efficiently.

1 – When to make the calls

Once you have identified which calls can be done at any time of the day, which is convenient for you, identify the most idle (or least busy) times of your day. A time during which your schedule is more relaxed or a time during which you need to be engaged in an activity that allows you to multitask (e.g. waiting in line or in a waiting room, walking your dog, in-between series in the gym, in your trip to/from work etc.). In other words, you can either squeeze your phone session between two tasks or make them at the same time as you are engaged in doing something else.  

2 – Handling the calls

Evaluation of time spent in primaERP TIME TRACKING
Left: outgoing calls scattered through the day
Right: outgoing calls grouped in two blocks
If possible, have the calls listed; have at hand the tools you need to handle them (documents, notes, stationery, etc.); make preparing the material and making the calls two separate tasks (that can save you a few trips through your home or office). Establish how long you expect each call to last and try to stick to your plan.
  •          Tip 1: When asked “at what time should I call you?”, suggest that time you usually put aside for your calls.
  •          Tip 2: Refuse non-urgent incoming calls and call back during the time you have devoted to it.
  •          Tip 3: if you plan to call from a mobile, you can just dial the number and hit cancel before it goes through. Do that with each of the numbers you plan to call. This way, the “latest calls” list in your device will become your to-do list. Just open it and hit “call” when the time comes.

Please notice that does not mean you should sacrifice your free time. Actually, it is the other way around: getting things done so you can have more free time to spend on yourself.