Avoiding telephone interruptions

Posted on | December 13, 2012 | 2 Comments

Notes from Alec Mackenzie (1990) The Time Trap: The New Version of the Classic Book on Time Management. Published by The Business Library – an imprint of Information Australia [anyone with further info on this imprint and its history, please get in touch]

The number-one underlying cause of telephone interruptions is your presumption of legitimacy. And so the number-one solution is to ditch the idea that the caller’s need is necessarily more important than your need to concentrate on your work (66)

The screening hierarchy: Handle, refer, postpone, expedite (66)

The Quiet Hour: everyone has the luxury of uninterrupted concentration (67)

If you don’t have an assistant (68):
• Plan with colleagues – cover each other’s phones.
• Install a message system like voice mail.
• Mechanical aids: a cut-off switch or a blinking light to replace the ringer. You can train yourself to ignore the light (or move the phone out of your line of sight).
• Unplug the phone.
• Take your work and go somewhere in the building where there are no phones.

Good phone techniques: Batch your calls. Return them all in a block. Work on something else at the same time. (70)

Three minute egg timer on desk. (71)


2 Responses to “Avoiding telephone interruptions”

  1. michelle
    December 13th, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

    “Information Australia was known for being the publisher of Margaret Gees Media Guide, the Who’s Who range and government and business directories. In the mid-2000s the business was sold to Crown Content” according to a LinkedIn CV I just read. The same CV states: “At the time of my employment [10996-1998] with Information Australia a news room of more than 20 journalists and editors operated producing a wide-range of corporate newsletters.”

    My very simple trick for researching this kind of thing (and I have to do this fairly often) is to Google “X publishing organisation is” in quotes, or “X publishing organisation was”. It yields pretty good basic results, and gives you something to go from. You should get much more from people who were involved, but it’s a good trick nonetheless.

  2. melgregg
    December 17th, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    That’s great advice – thanks Michelle 🙂

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