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Start-Ups

8 Reasons Unplanned Phone Calls Are a Disaster For Productivity

By Brian Farris   |    April 7, 2021   |    7:33 PM

Why Business Owners Shouldn’t Answer Incoming Calls (And What to Do Instead)

Answering the phone is important, but getting interrupted by unexpected calls is a surefire way to make your productivity plummet — and here’s why.

1. Phone calls take make it impossible to focus deeply

If you’re like many modern professionals, your work requires focus… perhaps even deep focus. It’s not something that can be accomplished in between taking phone calls.

When the phone rings unexpectedly, it tears you away from the task at hand. 

2. To be productive, you need to protect your time

Interruptions and time-wasters are plentiful. Successful people understand this, and make sure to protect their time.

There’s no shortage of ways to safeguard your time, either. You could choose to respond to emails once per day or block out time on your calendar to complete important projects, for example. 

Not answering phone calls is another way to protect your time. And even if you're not the one picking up the phone, there are still ways to ensure every call gets answered by a real human who’s ready to help.

3. Successful and productive communication requires your full attention

When an unplanned call pulls you away from your work, it’s very difficult to give the caller your full attention. You probably want to get the call over with so you can get back to what you were doing before the interruption.

This isn’t fair to you or the person who’s calling, which is why it’s best to schedule phone calls in advance whenever possible.

4. Unexpected phone calls can be time-consuming

We’ve all been stuck on the phone with a chatter-box. 

Sometimes, there’s simply no way to end a call politely. In these cases, you may have little choice but to listen patiently while the minutes add up.

5. Calls are always more effective when there’s an agenda

By their very nature, unplanned phone calls make it impossible to prepare a thoughtful and targeted agenda. The person making the call may be prepared, but the recipient doesn’t have the same advantage.

So, the next time someone calls unexpectedly and you aren’t prepared, don’t hesitate to ask about scheduling a meeting instead. It’ll be a much more efficient and productive use of time.

6. It’s difficult to make good decisions when you’re surprised

When your caller asks about a deadline, decision, or something else that requires thought and consideration, it’s easy to feel caught off guard.

You may even feel obligated to provide a quick answer, which could backfire in the long run.

7. Oftentimes, other methods of communication are more effective than a phone call

If you’ve never endured a meeting or call that should have been an email, count yourself lucky. It’s all-too-common for these events to be redundant and pointless.

In the case of unexpected phone calls, there’s a strong likelihood that an email or direct message would have been a better channel of communication.

8. Even if you stop answering the phone, it doesn’t necessarily mean the phone isn’t getting answered

Many small business owners and other professionals are reluctant to put their phone on silent — what if it’s a call from a big client, or an emergency that requires immediate attention?

These are valid concerns. Fortunately, there’s an affordable and flexible way to make sure important calls aren’t ignored: Hire a virtual receptionist to answer and screen all incoming calls.

This way, you can focus on work without worrying about the phone, because you know every call will be answered.