Today’s Productivity Tip: Use Voicemail the Right Way

Jumpstart Monday | Get your week off to a great start with the Day-Timer blog. Each Monday we  feature a new tip to help you gain a more productive week at work and at home.
Today’s tip: Use Voicemail the Right Way

Voicemail can easily become a productivity killer that sucks important time from your day. Here’s a great tip for avoiding that scenario.


Try This:

Create a more specific voicemail greeting. Ask the “Big Three” questions and offer clear instructions as to what you want.

Imagine yourself taking notes during a call. First you would write down:

  1. Caller’s name? Surprisingly, people often delay the most important part.
  2. Phone number? Should be the second piece of information out of the caller’s mouth.
  3. When to call back? Helps you determine urgency.

They should be able to get that done in 10 seconds. Now ask them to get to the point, please.

For example:

“Returning your call is important to me, so please start by leaving your name, phone number, and when to call you — and then briefly explain why you’re calling. Thanks.”

Here’s Why:

When details are left unexplained by the caller, it becomes impossible for you to determine the importance and urgency for returning the call. That leaves you with only two options: dismiss the call or interrupt another priority.

Define your needs and you’ll save hours worth of time each month.

Remember too: When you leave a message, Use the Big Three and get to the point. It’ll save you time in the long run because they will be prepared for the conversation when they call you back.

Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at

[photo by CarbonNYC]

2 thoughts on “Today’s Productivity Tip: Use Voicemail the Right Way

  1. When you’re leaving a VM mail, be sure to give your name and telephone number slowly. I generally provide my name and number at the beginning of a message and again at the end. I’m often frustrated by the messages I get in which the caller speeds through or mumbles the phone number. It’s usually from a company with a general number so I can’t use called ID to help identify the number.

  2. My landline voicemail message has been the same for years and it works: “Hello, you have reached xxx-xxx-xxxx. This is [first name] [last name]. I’m sorry I missed your call. Please leave your name, number and the best time for me to reach you after the beep and I’ll return your call as soon as possible. If you need to reach me immediately, try my cell phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx. Thank you.”
    The cell phone voicemail message is identical with the exception of the cell phone number referral.

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