This is a second post in a serious of posts on how to make more time. Be sure to take a look at the others. I’d love to hear ideas and suggestions from your experience.
Lately I’ve noticed a very interesting thing. Many people call me at various hours of the day, always accompanied by the noise of traffic. They are always very keen to hear about my weekend or what I did last night. It didn’t take long for me to understand I’ve become a means to pass time in traffic.
Needless to say this is very costly in terms of time and even money. An inefficient allocation of resources such as traffic jams creates more inefficiency. One example is spending other people’s time on meaningless calls (which are not always unwanted, but this is beside the point).
Cellular phones present many potential benefits. Unfortunately, cell phones have become a pandemic of waste of both time and money. By making proper and efficient use of the possible benefits of cell phones you’re bound to save both money and time.
This is my list of tips to efficient use of cellular phones:
1. Be aware of potential time wasters – I admit. I often avoid answering the phone during rush hour. I usually wait a couple of hours and return the calls. Surprisingly people are much more efficient when my return call finds them at home.
2. Don’t answer every incoming call, don’t let others manage your time – Say you’re talking to a person at work. Suddenly another arrives and starts chatting away. Rude at the very least. Somehow this behavior is considered appropriate when a cell phone rings.To answer an incoming phone call is to stop everything and talk to that certain someone. Sometimes it’s justified. Other times it is distracting, annoying and messes up your priorities. This is up to you. I’ve made it a habit to accustom friends and colleagues to me not answering sometimes.
3. Use dead time to make calls (plan these calls in advance) – Most people take advantage of time spent in traffic or other forms of waiting to make calls. The problem is these are hardly ever planned in advance. Are you trapped in traffic mornings and evenings? Save a few work related calls for your car. You’ll save the time spent in the office and earn time that would otherwise be spent in your car. Don’t just call friends and annoy them with meaningless chatter to pass your time.
4. Use text messages when appropriate – Often times I find myself texting to avoid a long chat. Sometimes I just text to avoid. These SMS dialogs are very lengthy and time consuming. Even if you type fast. Use text messages only when you think you’ll save that precious time.
5. Cancel your voice mail if possible – Returning calls is usually both time and money consuming. You need to take the time to access your voice mail, listen to lengthy messages, take notes and return calls. If possible ask for text messages.
6. Invest in good hardware – Buy a phone that has already proved its resistance and resilience. Avoid wasting time constantly having it repaired and mended.
7. Beware of 3rd and 3.5 generation features – Watching TV or surfing online with a mobile phone is still more time consuming then it would have been on a desktop computer. Those tiny keys and letters are a handful and reception problems don’t help. This should be taken with a grain of salt as proper use of these features can help you become very efficient in “dead time” situations.
8. Get a hands-free Bluetooth speaker – For those calls you can’t avoid which seem to last forever (usually from your boss) get a hands-free speaker. It will help keep you free for work while the other side chats away meaninglessly.
I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions on how to save time on cell phones.