Minimize Telephone Interruptions

Have your phone calls go to voicemail during your uninterrupted time. Have your voicemail message articulate clearly the best times to reach you by phone and be sure to include your email address in your message as an alternative way to reach you. Colleagues and customers often express themselves more clearly in email, which in turn allows you to more effectively respond to them – and, to do so in a timely manner. When speaking on the phone, you can politely and professionally establish a time limit when necessary. For example, you can say, “Joe, I’ve only got 5 minutes, but I definitely wanted to get you the information that you called about.” This is probably not for each and every person you talk to but it could certainly be used with some colleagues and professional contacts.

Pick 5 Tasks for the Day

Take action on the tasks that you have determined that you need to do today or this week. I suggest not picking more than 5 items from your task list per day. You need to be your own judge of how many items you can reasonably get accomplished when you are juggling the other daily demands of meetings, e-mails, phone calls and interruptions. Initially, select 5 items from your task list, but you might need to reduce that amount depending on your job and workload.