People that email then phone.

After reading the comments on my previous post, I’ve spent my lunch hour reading through a few posts in Michael Hyatt’s Working Smart site.

Michael’s latest post titled Taming Your E-mail Inbox, Tip #1 deals with scheduling your email processing to times that suit you, not processing everything that arrives as it does so. This gives you time to complete your tasks for the day and deal with new requirements in a timely manner.

It’s great to be able to schedule your email processing to particular points in the day that fit in with your schedule, I do that already, but also have a quick scan between tasks. But how do you deal with people that insist on phoning you if you don’t respond within ten minutes?

I understand that Michael may not regularly have this problem, seeing as he’s in a position to have someone else field his calls, but how do you politely deal with these people?

Because these people are constantly chasing their own rear-ends, and have no process for dealing with their day to day tasks, they tend to get in the position where everything is a last minute crisis, and this inevitably gets pushed onto those who can help them out, i.e. myself.

How do I deal with that?

No comments.

  1. Here’s how I deal with people who email and then call if you haven’t responded mmediately:

    The same way I deal with people who call without emailing.

    “Can you summarize this in an email so I can review it? You already did? I’ll give it a look-see and get back to you…”

    “Help me understand the urgency here. What shall I tell The President when he asks me why I haven’t finished what I’m working on right now to deal with your issue?”

    …and may favourite way of handling calls…

    “You’ve reached the telephone of Reginald Braithwaite-Lee. I’m not available to take your call at the moment, so please send an email to ****@*****.com. I return all voice mails within 48 hours.”

    Calls are requests to put your celendar on hold in favour of the caller’s calendar. You have to take each call on a case-by-case basis: sometimes something should be dealt with right away.

    But for the vast majority of calls, you need to be firm. When you make a commitment to others to accomplish projects, you’re not just committing that you won’t goof off and avoid the work: you’re also committing that you’ll defend your tiem against low priority interruptions.

  2. Thanks for the comments Reginald, much appreciated.

    I tend to use your option one already, but I do feel a little impolite when doing so, maybe I should just get over it, they are after all being rather demanding, so I guess they should validate the intrusion or just wait.

    I like your second option, I’ll try that one, but your third is most definitely the best, getting voicemail. The best thing about having voicemail is that it won’t disturb my colleagues when I’m away from my desk either, I’ll see if I can get that sorted.

    Thanks again.