“Hi, I’m from the Warranty Center, I’m calling about your auto warranty”

If you’re like me, I used to get several of these phone calls per week. It’s annoying and it interrupts your work, your train of thought or your time with family or friends.

Someone advised me a while back to quit answering calls from any number that isn’t in my phone already. Just let it go to voicemail. The thought never really occurred to me before. It’s just kind of human nature to answer a ringing phone. And, if the number is unknown, our curiosity can take over.

But, the reasons to leave the call unanswered are pretty straightforward. If you aren’t already expecting a call, and you get a call from a number that you don’t recognize, then one of the following is probably true:

  1. The call is from someone you don’t want to talk to at all or
  2. The call is from someone you do want to talk to, but, you weren’t expecting the call. You’re now talking to someone important at a time when you didn’t expect to be talking to them.

Neither of these scenarios are good. #1, at best, wastes your time and interrupts what you are doing. We’ve covered previously the “death by a thousand cuts” problem of allowing too many tiny distractions into your day in this blog post.

It’s also worth noting that not answering seems to get you off telemarketing lists faster. Another bit of food for thought – as far as people that you don’t to talk with go, a telemarketer might be the best case scenario.

In the case of the person you want to talk to, they will leave a message and you can return the call fully prepared. This will enable you to make the best possible impression and will help to reduce those “why did I say that” moments.

I hope you find this quick tip as useful as I have. Following this rule has lessened my annoyances and increased my productivity by reducing unnecessary interruptions. It’s one of those tiny changes that, added together with other tiny changes, can add up to a big difference in focus and enjoyment of life over time.

Bonus Tip

We also want to reduce the number of times your phone rings unnecessarily in the first place. Many of you already have, but, if you haven’t already, register your phone number with the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry at donotcall.gov. Telemarketers can be fined if they continue to call you after the 31 day registration window and you can easily file a complaint online.

Little known bonus fact: Even if you are not on the call registry, you may still file a complaint if you receive a telemarketing call that is a recording.