Managing your interruptions

Interruptions can be a real problem as, in addition to the time they take, they also disturb your train of thought. Here are a few tips for managing some of your interruptions.

Consider whether you need to answer your phone straight away. It may be possible to use your voicemail or even better, an answering service, for a few hours per day. This will allow you to focus on work for a while and then to block all your calls together to get back to people later in the day. As long as you return the calls and don’t forget about them!

If you work alone then you may not wish everybody to have your mobile number. Consider getting a virtual landline that is answered by an answering service. I have used Answer It for this purpose but also for answering calls when all our business lines were in use.

Emails can all be batched together and answered once or twice a day. Batching similar tasks is much more efficient. Many accountants have a shared inbox linked to a practice management system which allows them to delegate emails/tasks. Technology can be your friend.

Remember that people usually send emails when it is convenient for them, they may be working flexibly or they may be in a different timezone. Big corporations often use an autoresponder to say that your query will be answered in say, 5 or even 15 days.