This question was recently posed in the AR Q&A: how many calls do you make or take in a day and how long do you spend on the phone?
Here's my formula:
10 outgoing calls during CEO power hour (5-10 min each). These are calls to my database of "sold" clients I'm keeping in touch with and referral partners I'm checking in with.
10 outgoing calls COO proactive hour (5-10 min each). These are calls to my database of active and or fence sitters, to check in and give updates, service inquiries, etc. I find if I stay ahead of their questions, they contact me less and trust me more.
3-5 per day of random incoming calls. (depends on the nature of the call, if it's intake, it could be 15-30 minutes vs. a referral partner or team member with quick questions or updates). It used to be more, but because of my Hours of Power, I've reduced my incoming calls virtually by contacting them first!
Key Point: When you are making calls instead of taking calls predominately, you reduce your incoming calls because you are staying ahead of the questions most of your clients are phoning you with. You also control the time spent on the phone when you are the caller.
I never accept calls when I'm making calls or in a time blocked "project hour" (these are time bandits). The focus and the avoidance of the interrupt, helps me complete the tasks or that segment of the project in the allotted time and my clients leaving messages here a greeting that assures them I'll be back to them in less than 2 hours. They never have an issue with this, because they assume I'm with a client. I never answer the phone when I'm with them, so they know I won't when with other clients.
II time block dedicated return call hours throughout the day and I also have time blocked "accept call hours" but that's mostly in my car, not at my desk." (E-mails are handled the same way). Time blocking keeps the productivity up and the stress levels down.
Image courtesy of [Kamnuan] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net