Business Monday- Control Your Phone

I've never been one of those people who jumps up and has to run to answer the phone on the first ring. 

I once saw an interview with Chris Isaak where he was talking about his father, who would also let the phone ring. The phone rang during dinner once, and he asked his dad why he wasn't answering it. His father told him "the phone is there for MY convenience." Personally, I love that, especially since it always seems to ring when I'm in the middle of boiling sugar or when I have crisco all over my hands when I'm working on gumpaste.

The hardest thing when you work from home is not answering the phone after a certain time of the day. I know that some people think that since I work from home I'm here to talk to them all hours of the day...There are also people who don't know that you work from home, so they call late at night expecting to leave a message on a business answering machine.

The best policy is to set a time of day when you don't answer the phone anymore. I don't pick up for numbers I don't recognize after 5pm, unless I've told someone that they can call me for some reason. I also tend not to answer before 9am, unless I happen to be doing something that can be easily interrupted.

I also don't have a fit if I'm in the middle of doing something during the day and the phone rings. The answering machine is there for a reason. I'm good about calling people back promptly, so that isn't an issue.

When you set limits for yourself you can control the amount of time that you spend being interrupted.

Another tip is to not give your personal cell phone number out to anyone other than your family and your kids' schools. (But it might be too late for some of you on that one.) The only time I have my cell phone turned on is when I'm out of the house during school hours in case I get a cell from the school about one of my kids having a medical emergency. Other than that, nobody has that number unless I've given it to them. My business cell is generally turned off because the reception stinks, and I turn it on to check messages every other day or so.

So control your phone, don't let it control you. you'll be more relaxed that way.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA