Use an Answering Service to Block Out Time

People at all levels of business, in all sizes of businesses, struggle to find time to focus on key projects. Nowhere is this more critical than for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Although leaders make some significant decisions in the midst of chaos and distraction, other vital undertakings demand a block of uninterrupted time in order to determine the optimum course for the ideal plan.

In the midst of this focus effort, a ringing phone can derail a critical thought process and thwart delicately evolving strategies. And even if this key information is not lost, it can take several minutes to re-corral thoughts, regain deep critical thinking, and return to a place of hard-fought inspiration.

While a closed office door warns employees to stay away, there is no equivalent for would be callers. Turning the ringer off is never acceptable and, in most cases, forwarding all calls to voicemail is ill advised. After all, a phone call with an even higher priority could occur, and voicemail is no judge of urgency.

To the rescue comes your answering service. Let them answer your phone when you hunker down to focus on the critical work you must do to move your business forward. And if a true emergency does occur, they can text you with the details so you can take immediate action.

Here are four strategies to use your answering service to help you block out time to make essential business decisions:

Reserve Time Each Day

Some savvy entrepreneurs set aside an hour each day for activities that require focused attention. To find the right time, determine your power peak of the day. For some this is first thing in the morning; for others it’s just before or after lunch. Your best time could be midmorning or midafternoon or before you wrap of your day. Once you find the right time, schedule it every day for no interruptions.

Block Out a Day Each Week

Other smart businesspeople pick an optimum weekday for their concentrated efforts. Select a normally slower day. For many this is Tuesdays or Thursdays. And you may not need the whole day, but perhaps just the morning or afternoon—whichever is your peak time.

Take a Monthly Retreat

A third consideration is planning an out-of-the-office getaway once a month. One day may be enough or perhaps two. This provides a large block of uninterrupted time to focus on vital decision-making.

Schedule as Needed

Finally some leaders prefer a more flexible approach and book their planning time whenever a crucial situation arises.

Whatever approach works for you, remember that when you re-emerge it’s time to re-engage with people, both in person and over the phone. Your business needs you to do this too if it is to succeed and grow. Alternate between availability and concentrated focus to provide the leadership balance your business needs—and don’t let a ringing phone stop you.

Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center industry and who provides a healthcare call center matchmaking service. Contact Janet at or call 800-901-7706.Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.