This is a time-management tip that sounded rude when I first encountered it: write emails when you’re on the phone. I soon realized how brilliant it was, and am starting to adopt it as habit.
To clarify, I’m not talking about social multitasking or killing time on conference calls. I’m talking about a more intimate kind of conversation that one has with co-workers, where email comes up as the answer to certain work-related questions. “Has so-and-so seen this document? Oh, can you forward it to her?” “I think Mr. X has that info; let’s email him to see if he’ll share it with us.”
Usually, calls like that leave you with 5 extra odds and ends on your to-do list. If you start doing them while you’re on the phone, however, you can knock them off in a fraction of the time, because you’ll focus simply on getting them done and can collaborate verbally as you compose. It does slow down the conversation, but it makes absolutely sure that both parties agree on next steps, and then, after the inevitable I-just-finished-a-call-and-need-to-lean-back-and-catch-my-breath, it means you can come back to your computer and dive back in where you left off.