How Clutter Affects Your Brain…

Which sides looks greener?

Which sides looks greener?

When we have finished decluttering at a clients home, I always get the same response: “I feel so much lighter now!” And it is true – decluttering your physical environment also declutters your thinking and emotions too.  Here is a great article I found on Lifehacker.com that goes into this phenomenon in a bit more detail.

How clutter happens

You collect things for a number of reasons–maybe you think you’ll need to use it later, it has sentimental value, or you spent good money on it so you feel you need to keep the item, even if you haven’t touched or used it in weeks, months, or years. You might be holding on to that book you bought a year ago that you swear you’ll read or those killer pair of shoes that you’ll bring out for just the right occasion. But the reality is, you probably made a mistake in buying those things and it literally hurts your brain to come to terms with that fact.

Researchers at Yale identified that two areas in your brain associated with pain, the anterior cingulate cortex and insula, light up in response to letting go of items you own and feel a connection towards: This is the same area of the brain that lights up when you feel physical pain from a paper cut or drinking coffee that’s too hot. Your brain views the loss of one of your valued possessions as the same as something that causes you physical pain. And the more you’ve committed emotionally or financially to an item, the more you want to keep it around.

When you introduce new items into your life, you immediately associate value with these items, making it harder for you to give them up in the future. This psychological connection to things is what leads to the accumulation of stuff.

Clutter’s Impact on Your Brain

Whether it be your closet or office desk, excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information. That’s exactly what neuroscientists at Princeton University found when they looked at people’s task performance in an organized versus disorganized environment. The results of the study showed that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.

A team of UCLA researchers recently observed 32 Los Angeles families and found that all of the mothers’ stress hormones spiked during the time they spent dealing with their belongings. Similar to what multitasking does to your brain, physical clutter overloads your senses, making you feel stressed, and impairs your ability to think creatively.

Clutter isn’t just physical

Files on your computer, notifications from your Twitter and Facebook accounts, and anything that goes “ping” in the night competes for your attention. This creates a digital form of clutter that erodes your ability to focus and perform creative tasks. Mark Hurst, author of Bit Literacy, a New York Times best seller on controlling the flow of information in the digital age, put it best when he said: When you have to-do items constantly floating around in your head or you hear a ping or vibrate every few minutes from your phone, your brain doesn’t get a chance to fully enter creative flow or process experiences. When your brain has too much on its plate, it splits its power up. The result? You become awful at:

  • filtering information
  • switching quickly between tasks
  • keeping a strong working memory

The overconsumption of digital stuff has the same effect on your brain as physical clutter.

Read the entire article here.

How you can build the life you desire…

Today’s post is by the fabulous Rosina Bond from Women 2 Success. This is so true for me right now and no doubt many of my readers will also be able to relate:

Who knows what lies ahead?

How can you build the life you desire, attract a soul mate, build a business and create the financial freedom you deserve?

The startling reality is that, in spite of their dreams, many people are struggling financially, experiencing the pain of debt or bankruptcy, and living a life alone or in neglected relationships.

Why are so many people falling so far short of living the life they desire? What’s missing in them and why cant they find a solution. There are thousands of books to inspire you to gain a life of fulfillment and success but why does success come easy to some, while others struggle and fail?

The truth is, no one is missing anything and every individual has potential to take charge of their lives, no matter your circumstances, level of education, or business experience. Whatever fulfillment means to you, YOU have the innate ability to make your unique visions a reality. When you read this what do you feel, does your inside jump for joy or shrink with fear.

Being driven by a sense of purpose, making a difference in peoples lives reaching goals and targets that you have created from a small seed brings intense satisfaction.

When an opportunity knocks do you even recognise it and know what to do? Successful people grab opportunities and squeeze every drop out to attain more success, are they simply clever or lucky.

Many people do not take up opportunities due to fear of the unknown or fear of failure but moslty because they fear looking bad.

To create a dream you must first create a new mind set. You must develop a willingness to take risks, to find new ways of putting your dreams and desires in motion. The only way to achieve this is to look and find doorways open to success.

How often have you said about someone you know or a celebrity, they are lucky or were in the right place at the right time? Many people attain success, financial wealth and a great life style and called it luck. I know people create their own luck just as they attract negativity into their lives and this is all from their limiting belief or lack of desire to achieve and gain success.

Every cloud has a silver lining, one door closes another opens. We have all heard sayings like these and most of us have experienced them at least once.  How many people have left unhappy job or been made redundant and find the new job more exciting, more money and increased satisfaction, I know I have. So often these new situations were forced on us even though we complained constantly how unhappy we were but were too afraid to move as fear got the better of us. I believe your inner belief can create a negative opportunity to bring about the change you desire.

I have seen people in business become so negative and only see how hard business is, they no longer see any opportunities  and their belief slowly creates a negative door of opportunity and the business goes under. In these situations the initial feeling can be relief but slowly the feeling of failure can immobilise and restict them from jumping forward.

Opportunities are based on an open view and choice. When you get a chance you make choice. You can turn crisis and defeat into success and frustration into fulfilment. To embrace on opportunity you need courage and be willing to move and make sacrifise. It is easy to feel intimidated and ignore adventure and then you can lose out and remain standing where you are now.

You need a creative and adventurous mindset to turn obstacles into opportunities.

Someone comes to you with a business opportunity, it requires time, effort and resources and there is a cost. What is your first response, probably shock or intimidation by the costs! Next you find people who will confirm your worst fears, eventually you will be turned against the idea and again you stand still.

There is no shortage of opportunities in the world, only a shortage of opportunists. Successful people make the most of every circumstance. Opportunities happen at inopportune moments not convenient ones. Don’t get me wrong it is not easy to embrace change and create new; it takes hard work, perseverance and sheer determination to move forward. Don’t do the same as everyone else as you will only achieve the same or even diluted results.

The ways they think and behave literally set them up to fall short, therefore, leading them over and over again into patterns of frustration, helplessness, overwhelm then, ultimately, failure. They are taking the same actions each time expecting a different results which, as we all know by now, is the definition of insanity.

“Entrepreneurship,” says Sir Richard Branson, “is the golden highway to economic freedom, plus It’s an exciting and fun way to make a living.” More than a road to riches, entrepreneurialism is a path to true fulfillment. The experience of putting a great team together, launching a company from the seed of an idea, hitting every goal you set, and building wealth. To be driven by a sense of purpose, ideally, making a positive difference in your life and others.

One Reason people struggle to see how they can embrace change is…they act as if the very thing they aspire for is something outside themselves when in actual fact it has been thee all the time. What life are you aspiring to live now? And how can you get it.

I would love to hear from you and for you to share with me what you feel is blocking you in your quest. I am offering 5 people from Kerri Rodley’s contacts a change to get a free 1-question reading from me. All I need is for you to tell me your date of birth, first name and what you want to achieve and why you feel blocked. I will email you back with anything I pick up on this and what options you have ahead.

To receive this special offer, please email Rosina: roselore@xtra.co.nz

 

 

 

9 Tips to Tackle Your Emails When Travelling

Why won't they stop???

This recent post from Unclutterer is so relevant for me at the moment and I am sure many of my readers will find it interesting too. Here are 9 tips that may help you to stay on top of the plethora of emails that don’t stop when you are travelling:

  1. Tie yourself to a smartphone. If you want to stay on top of email, you have to keep a smartphone on you. Keep the ringer off and the message alerts set to vibrate.
  2. Enable automatic sorting and color coding in your smartphone’s email program. Have a filter that automatically routes all messages out of your inbox and into separate folders where you are copied instead of listed as the main recipient, all newsletters or read-only emails you subscribe to, and all emails from sources you know are not going to be must-respond-now messages. Have your system color code messages from your boss and/or other very important folks so these messages will catch your attention when they come into your main inbox. (If you’re on a Windows-based phone, there are macros and add-ins for Outlook you can install. If you can legally route your work email through Gmail, you can also do this. I was unable to find an app for the iPhone that enables these features.)
  3. Check messages during lulls in your schedule. As you wait in the line at the airport, switch between sessions at a conference, or grab a snack, process your priority emails then.
  4. Only check work email. If someone needs to contact you about an important personal matter, he/she will text or call you. Check your personal email account on weekends or after you get home from traveling.
  5. Only respond to items that can be handled in less than one minute. Delegate as much as possible, delete or archive anything that doesn’t need a response, and only send short messages of less than a paragraph to the priority emails you respond to.
  6. Manage expectations. Have an automated out-of-office message enabled on your account that says you will have limited access to emails and no one should expect a response until you are back in the office (be sure to list that specific date). Provide detailed contact information for someone in the office who may be able to handle emergencies, and give that person in the office your cell number so he/she can call you if there is a major event. Also, let your office contact know when you expect to be on flights and/or completely out of connection.
  7. Manage more expectations. When you reply to someone from your smartphone, have a “Sent from mobile device, please excuse typos and brevity” signature on the bottom of every message. You might also want to consider posting your return date on your out-of-office message as the day after you return so you have a full day to gather your bearings once you’re back in the office. Under promise, over deliver.
  8. Have access to cloud file storage. Not all smartphones allow you to attach documents, so you’ll need to be able to send links to documents stored online with services like Dropbox. If your employer doesn’t allow file posting online and attaching documents to emails is essential to your job, you’ll want to get the smallest, lightest laptop you can because you’re going to have to carry it with you instead of a smartphone.
  9. Work on email every night when you get to your hotel room. It will add to your workday, but taking 30 minutes or an hour every night to process the entirety of all your email inboxes and folders will guarantee you don’t have an avalanche of messages when you get back to your office.

Read more here: http://unclutterer.com/2012/04/03/how-to-manage-email-when-traveling-for-work/

How to deal with tasks once…and live in the moment!

So many emails...so little time

This is such a common habit that we all have – looking at something, putting it down to deal with later, picking it up again, putting it down… you get the picture!

Zen Habits wrote an article called The Little Productivity Tip of a Zen Master which I thought my clients would really resonate with – and I know my readers will too:

Deal with something once.

Do it now.

Then it’s off your mind, and you can fully focus on the next matter.

Do most of us do this? We might read a bunch of emails, and say, “I’ll reply to those later. I’ll decide later.” We might see a bill or other piece of mail, and put it aside for later.

We put off small decisions and tasks for later, and they pile up, weighing on us at the back of our minds, pulling on us until we collapse under the weight of “later”.

Try dealing with it immediately.

If you open an email, make a decision on it immediately. Schedule the appointment in your calendar, reply, do a small task it requires, or if it takes too long, then you can put it on a to-do list — but avoid this if possible. David Allen suggests a two-minute rule: if the task can be done in less than two minutes, do it now. I suggest five minutes, even up to 10, as that means you have one less thing to worry about.

At any rate, archive the email once you’ve dealt with it, or delete it. You’re done with that. Move to the next, and repeat.

This applies to everything else: mail, paperwork, phone calls, requests from others. Deal with them immediately, or schedule a date to deal with it later if necessary.

When you are finished using something, put it away immediately and avoid a mess later. This is also how I keep clutter at bay. When you’re cooking, wash the items as you go to avoid a huge kitchen mess.

When your child asks for attention, give it to her now.

When your wife starts talking to you, put away the laptop, iPad or mobile device, and talk to her now.

What this means is that you deal with each thing in the moment, and then move to the next. Your mind isn’t pulled in a million directions at once.

To read the entire article go here: http://zenhabits.net/once/

5 Steps to Beating a Bad Habit

Which direction will you choose?

Last weekend I went to a master class where we learnt to breakthrough our fears and leave bad or unproductive habits behind. And lo and behold, Leo from Zen Habits writes a post on the very thing – he must be reading my mind!

Here are the 5 steps that he suggests can overcome beating our bad habits:

1. Figure out what your trigger is. Every habit has a trigger — something in our routine that directly precedes the habit. For smoking, I used to have multiple triggers — drinking coffee, eating a meal, stress, drinking alcohol with friends, meetings, waking up in the morning, etc.

2. Find a replacement habit. A small, positive habit to replace the old habit. Ideally it fills at least some of the needs of the old habit. Start very, very small in the beginning or you’ll be facing an uphill battle. If you want to write morning pages, don’t try to write three long-hand pages — do just five minutes. If it’s small, you beat the obstacle of dreading to do the new habit. When you check email, for example, you don’t say, “I’m going to do an hour of email now!” You say, “I’ll just check it for a second.” It often turns into more, but the point is there is a very low entry barrier.

3. Engineer positive & negative feedback. If positive feedback has built up your old habit, and negative feedback is stopping you from quitting the old habit, you need to make these powerful forces work for you and not against you. You can’t beat them, so use them. Engineer positive feedback for your new habit: make the writing (for example) really enjoyable, with a cup of coffee and a quiet, peaceful setting, and focus on the enjoyability of it, not the hard parts. If you want to meditate, focus on how relaxed it makes you, not how difficult it is.

Do the same for negative feedback for not doing the new habit. If you don’t do the new habit, what’s the consequence? Usually, nothing. You check email, feel a little guilty, but no one knows, nothing bad happens. So engineer a different consequence: tell the world (or a small group of friends) you’re going to change — announce it through Twitter, Facebook, G+, email, blog. And report your success (or failure) every single day. When the world is watching, you want to succeed. Have accountability partners. Don’t let yourself slide secretly.

4. Do the new habit immediately after the trigger, consistently. If you can do it for a month, you’ll probably have a new habit. A new habit is built by doing an action immediately after a trigger, repeatedly, for a certain number of repetitions. There is no set number — it depends on how easy the habit is (which is why I suggest starting as easy as possible) and how consistent you are in repeating it. Report to your accountability group after you do the habit.

5. Beat the urge to do the old habit. The urge will come, I guarantee you. This is where you say, “But I don’t have the willpower!” Yes, you do. Everyone does, but they just don’t know the tricks. I’m going to teach you the tricks so you have no excuses:

Continue reading the full article here: http://zenhabits.net/will/#more-8349

8 Ways To Ignite Your Passion…

No one was more passionate than Steve Irwin!

Ahhh passion – this topic has been at the forefront of my life for the past couple of weeks.  I have even met the US author of  The Passion Test Janet Attwood who came out to Australia recently to ignite all our passions.

So when this blog post from Zen Habits arrived in my inbox, I just had to share it with you all. Do as I did – print it out and put it somewhere to remind you how to follow your passions! I especially relate to points 5 and 6:

1. Surround yourself with passionate people.

This is the foundation. Most people don’t believe you can do work you love because they’re constantly around people who hate their jobs and don’t know what excites them. This has to change. Those around you have everything to do with your success and your belief of what’s possible. You’ll either rise up or sink down depending on who’s next to you.

Passion is contagious. You must have an environment that embodies it. You need a support crew who believes what you believe. People who dream as big as you or bigger. Not only will they give you ideas but they’ll condition the belief that doing what you love is the norm. They fuel our passion and make the unthinkable possible, even normal. You’ll begin to expect the same of yourself.

Look around you. Do the people you see inspire and motivate you? Are they doing epic things? Do they love their work? Learn how to make genuine connections with new people doing interesting things. MeetUp, coffee shop bulletin boards, Chamber of Commerce, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Find people in your own town and online. Befriend them. Make them a part of your life. Get out on adventures together. Schedule a weekly dinner or drinks just to talk about what’s exciting. Environment is everything.

2. Create space.

If you don’t give big ideas room, they’ll never show up. Purpose and passion are no different. Lack of space creates pressure – the ultimate killer of creativity. And nothing requires more creative juices than passion. Start small with five minutes each morning. Schedule downtime. Start walking to work instead of taking the bus. Don’t multitask. Get out in nature. Just be, let things flow and see what comes up. Give yourself permission to dream. Passion thrives in emptiness.

3. Help someone in a way only you can.

We all have natural strengths and talents that can dramatically help those around us. What comes easy for you is no doubt challenging for others. We tend to take these for granted, often hardly noticing our own gifts, and rarely share them with others. Passion comes from using those on a routine basis. Ask yourself, What do people thank you for? What do people routinely ask for your help with? Most people’s passions help others in one way or another. Perhaps for you it’s knitting, teaching children math, cooking a good meal or leading a yoga class. Devote time each day to sharing your talents.

4. Keep a journal of what inspires and excites you.

Let your thoughts run wild. Most importantly, keep a running list of what inspires you. Books, magazines, movies, people, products, music, stories, careers, everything. Most people have a brush with passion almost daily, unfortunately we’re often too busy thinking of our 97-item todo list to take in the education. Anytime something catches your eye or excites you, open up your journal and get it onto paper. Over the years you will have a running story of how you might enjoy spending your time.

5. Challenge the norm.

Ask questions. Don’t take things as gospel just because that’s how they’ve always been done. Don’t aimlessly listen to those around you. Question everything you’ve been doing and are about to do, especially if you don’t enjoy it. Is it really what you want? Is it in line with who you are? Perhaps there’s a better way. There often is.

6. Scare yourself – Live outside your comfort zone.

Passionate people thrive off uncertainty. If you aren’t doing things that give you a few goose bumps you’re either not learning, dying or bored out of your mind. None of which are good. Do something at least mildly uncomfortable daily. This could be as small as making a phone call or sharing your art with someone. Be vulnerable. There’s a pretty direct correlation between pushing limits and epic living.

7. Find the right reasons.

If a passionate person gets fired, they brush it off and get excited about the opportunity the lost job must be presenting. You can’t control what happens but you can control your reaction to it. What challenges have come up today? How could you reframe them? The juiciest possibilities often have the best disguises. Notice them.

8. Learn something new.

Become obsessed with learning everything you can find – new skills, approaches, ideas, you name it. If it interests you then it’s important enough to get in your brain. We have to fuel what excites us. Grab a magazine or book that interests you and read a few pages on the way to work or before bed. Passionate people almost always have a book within reach. Ideas can be found anywhere. Start looking. Be a sponge.

To read more of this article: http://zenhabits.net/ignite/

Getting Organised the Harry Potter Way!

Wave your wand for an organised life!

With the last installment of the fabulous Harry Potter series of books now in cinemas, I thought it was quite timely to show you how author J.K. Rowling organises her book layouts – it is quite extraordinary!

By just using a simple chart in a notebook, she has plotted out the direction of her stories. Pictured below is the chart for chapters 13-24 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  For a close up view of the chart visit: http://www.slashfilm.com/wp/wp-content/images/jkrowlingpage.jpg

The chart outlines each chapter, the month, the title, a synopsis of how that chapter relates to the over-arching plot of the book and then separate columns for each of the book’s six subplots.

No doubt Rowling likely used more organising tools in her story preparation, but isn’t it great to see how an author planned out her story before writing it.

So when you are next putting together your book, or even just your next important memo to the boss, follow JK’s example to map out where you are going. I know I will be!

 

8 tips to break down those tough tasks

Yahoo, I finally finished!

Today I have had one of those days. A “To Do” list of various marketing projects that needed to get started and no motivation to do so. Now as a professional organiser who helps others with time management you would think I would have this down pat. But no, I too am only human and sometimes I can think of a 1,000 other things I could be doing such as popping a load in the washing machine, making a cup of tea, the dog needs walking…

Then magically into my inbox pops another gem from Zen Habits. It’s like he is reading my mind. It go me up and raring to go so I thought it may also help my loyal readers – so I thought I would share:

Before you can achieve something in life, you need to decide precisely what it is you want. It could be you intend to stop smoking; improve your fitness; give up gambling; get a new job, or whatever.

Once you have a clearly defined idea of the what, why and how long of your end result, you can break down the entire process. Here are a few tips to do this:

1. Pinpoint the steps involved. Let’s say, for example, that your end result is to get a job as a teacher in 5 years time. Ask yourself what individual steps are needed to get there. Are specific qualifications and experience required? How can you gain these skills? What can you do to study or re-train? Come up with all the steps you can think of. The purpose of this exercise is to flesh out what is still a large aim into smaller, detailed steps. Each one represents a stepping stone towards achieving your end result.

2. Create a pint-sized action plan. Think of the steps as actions. Once you understand what actions are needed to achieve your end result, you can pull these together into a plan.

3. Set mini targets and daily/ weekly tasks. When you create your action plan, work out a series of targets you believe it’s possible to reach on the way to your end result. Decide what you need to have done in six, three and one months’ time to achieve your end result. Then break it down into monthly and weekly chunks, and from here you can set yourself simple daily and weekly tasks that are easily reached.

4. Keep on track. If the mini target for a given week isn’t achieved, don’t despair. The small-scale approach is so flexible that it allows you to make instant changes. On a weekly basis, ask yourself what happened and whether you could do anything differently? Carry over the shortfall to the following week and tweak your daily and weekly tasks accordingly. Keep on completing these small-scale tasks and meeting the mini targets, and the end result will be well within your grasp.

5. Forget the long-term. Get into the habit of ignoring the end date, and try to stop dwelling on what’s to come in the future. Don’t worry – you already considered the overall task and how long it would take when you set the mini targets and the daily/ weekly tasks. Now you can put the long-term view to one side, and really pay attention to achieving these smaller, shorter-term targets and tasks.

6. Adjust your steps. Along the way, you might find that what you’re trying isn’t as effective as you hoped. Or, other factors – such as job and family commitments – could affect your focus. Be ready to tweak your targets and tasks, when necessary. It’s perfectly ok to revisit and revise them to ease the load. Better to pace yourself than be stressed out.

7. Celebrate the little wins. One success leads to another, so use all your wins to spur you on. As each milestone is passed triumphantly, it’ll boost your motivation and you’ll gain a renewed confidence in your abilities. Reward yourself with something which makes you feel amazing – a new pair of jeans, a trip to the park with your kids, a relaxing homemade spa day. Treat yourself to anything which reinforces your resolve to reach the end. It needn’t cost a penny.

8. Resist the urge to supersize. It’s human nature to want results fast. At times, you might be tempted to rush at things and bite off more than you can chew, ending up back at square one. If you’re tempted to give up, refer to your ‘motivation bank’ of reasons why you want the end result. Be determined and concentrate on only the current stage of your journey, and not on what’s next. Reflect on how far you’ve come and what a waste it would be to throw in the towel.

Read more of the article here: http://zenhabits.net/small-scale/

17 time wasting habits you need to stop

Let's Go - time's a wastin!

Here are some good ideas from another great time management blog: Productivity 501.  This is a list of 17 things you should not be doing any more because they waste time. Old habits die hard and it can be difficult to shift yourself from an old familiar way of doing something to a new, better way.

Take a look at the list and see if there is anything you can change to help make you more productive. If you have any suggestions please add them in the comments:

  1. Manually Depositing a Paycheck — That is what direct deposit is for.  If you spend 15 minutes every two weeks dealing with depositing your paycheck that is 65 hours over the next 10 years. Put this time to better use.
  2. Writing Cheques for Bills – That is what online banking is for. Use this time for something worthwhile.
  3. Partially Filling Up with Petrol — Yes it might go down 3 cents next week, but how much is your time really worth.
  4. Looking for your Keys or Mobile phone — Always put them in the same place (hook by the door, etc).
  5. Unpacking your Laptop or Mobile phone Power Adaptor — If you go from work to home with your laptop, get an extra adaptor for each work area so you don’t have to unpack and crawl under the desk each time.
  6. Check Multiple Email Boxes — Get a program that will show you all your email in one place or filter by individual accounts. iphones have this cabability.
  7. Watching Commercials — Tape shows on your planner if you have one or just skip television all together.  Buy the shows you want to watch off iTunes.
  8. Losing Telephone Numbers — Your mobile phone should sync with your computer.  We are past the days where a phone only held 25 numbers.  If someone calls, take the few seconds to record their name in your phone, so it will be transferred next time you sync your computer.
  9. Commuting to seminars — Take your classes online or via webinars.  Spend your commute time studying instead of driving.
  10. Commuting Through Heavy Traffic — Talk to your boss about working from home–even for just a few days a week.  Shift your schedule to miss rush hour.

6 organising time savers for phone calls

Hello chief?

We are all guilty of it – spending too long on the phone and then when we hang up, we realise we don’t have the information that we called for in the first place!

The following are suggestions for how to use the phone in an organised way during those times when you need to rely on it from Unclutter.com:

  1. Create talking points.
  2. Before you make a call, jot down notes about what you need to cover in your discussion. This is especially important before conference calls. Like with meetings, you should never make a call without knowing how you want the conversation to end. If you can’t construct a purpose statement before dialing, don’t dial.

  3. Set a timer. Whenever you call someone, you’re interrupting whatever it was the person was doing before you called. Be respectful of this and make the call as brief as possible. When someone calls you, be up front about how much time you have to be on the phone. Most phone calls should begin as follows: You: “Hello, this is NAME.” Caller: “Hello, this is NAME. How are you?” You: “I’m great. I’ve got X minutes to talk, what can I help you with?” If the person on the other end of the line needs to talk to you for more than the number of minutes you said, then he or she can schedule a block of time to talk with you in the future. You: “Hey, can we talk this afternoon at three? I don’t have any afternoon appointments scheduled.”
  4. Use a headset if you’re on the phone for more than half an hour a day. From an ergonomic perspective, your neck shouldn’t be cramped for extended periods of time. Plus, your hands will be free to do mindless tasks while you’re on your call — filing papers, putting paper clips away in your drawer, etc. If you’re going to be making a lot of noise, though, be sure to hit the mute button so that you don’t disrupt the other people on the call.
  5. Don’t call people and ask whether they received your e-mail. If you are worried someone didn’t receive your initial e-mail, just resend it with a note and the whole content of your previous message. Ask for a confirmation of receipt if you’re afraid the e-mails aren’t arriving. Not everyone checks their e-mail on your schedule, so don’t disrupt them further by calling.
  6. Use the do-not-disturb button. Just because you’re sitting at your desk doesn’t mean that you have to answer the phone. If you need to concentrate intently on work, hit the do-not-disturb button and let all calls go to voicemail for that period of time. You shouldn’t leave the button on all the time, because this practice will reflect poorly on you in the workplace. However, doing it from time to time can significantly improve your productivity.
  7. Designate a time to return calls. I like to return phone calls from twelve thirty to one in the afternoon, after lunch, when my energy level is low. I get a boost from the people I’m talking to, and it’s a time when most everyone across the U.S. is at work (twelve thirty PM East Coast time is nine thirty AM on the West Coast).

To read more go to: http://unclutterer.com/2010/07/21/excerpt-six-tips-for-organizing-your-time-spent-on-the-telephone/