Mobile phones are great, aren’t they? You have a tiny but powerful computer in your pocket which lets you access any information you want (as well as watching Netflix, of course).
But the incredible usefulness of the mobile smartphone means that they are also incredibly addictive so it can become difficult to get any work done when you have it on you at all times.
In the end, if you’re self-employed, having your mobile phone on you at all times can actually be a hindrance, distracting you from all your important freelancing work.
Keep your smartphone away from you
As somebody who is self-employed, there is a good chance you use your smartphone for everything from personal calls to business calls while your landline never gets a look in, so you might think keeping your smartphone away from where you work will harm your business since you will miss calls from clients, but there are alternatives.
If using a landline isn’t an option, think about buying a cheap Pay As You Go mobile (by cheap, we mean around £10, the old-fashioned sort that are only good for calls and text messages).
Having a separate mobile phone has the added benefit of giving you a separate business number so you will always know if a call you receive is personal or for business reasons before you answer it.
Make your calls as short as possible
You only have a limited amount of time each day, and you don’t want to waste what little you have on phone calls.
We’re not saying you should be rude and just hang up on a call as soon as you have reached your time-limit – you should always be polite on a business-related call – but neither do you want your phone calls to go on and on unnecessarily, wasting both your time and the time of the person on the other end of the call.
So try to get to the point of each conversation without waffling or going too much into your personal life – aim to keep most phone calls less than around fifteen minutes long.
Make your voice mail message prompt work for you
We’ve all received those voice mail messages where the person who left the message is rambling on so much that you miss the important information and have to replay it five times before you get the point.
To stop this from happening and wasting your time, leave a custom voice mail message that asks the caller which information to give, such as when it’s best to call them back, their name, number, and reason for calling. Or better yet, ask them to send a text message or email instead, which lets you get all the important information in a more useful format.
Make and receive phone calls in your own time
If you have a phone on your desk, aside from looking on Twitter and Facebook every few minutes, making and receiving phone calls is probably going to be your biggest distraction from doing proper work.
So set out a time each day for pausing work to make and receive phone calls. Let people know when this time is so they know the best time to call you.
You can also do the same thing for sending and replying to emails, rather than rushing to respond to each and every email as soon as you receive them.
Shoaib Aslam is the co-founder of Pearl Chartered Accountants, a UK-based chartered accountancy firm that has multiple locations across London. They are experts in helping startups and established businesses with all aspects of growth, strategy, scaling up, accounting and tax planning.