In most people’s lives, there inevitably come telephone conversations which require massive amounts of time, but do not require your full attention. These can come in the form of calls from your mother-in-law, calls from a recently-dumped friend, or conference calls with clients about subjects merely on the periphery of your task.
While one option is to grin and bear it and sit passively through the call, if you mute the speakers on your computer you can effectively multitask during the call without sounding too distracted when you are called upon to speak.
Remember, muting the speakers on your computer is a very, very good idea. There are still far too many sites that blare music upon arrival, and the new pay per play advertising that’s sounding off in various circles would not make a good impression on your mother-in-law or your clients.
So here’s a list of things that will let you educate and entertain yourself without reading so much you’ll lose track of what your phone call is about:
1) Drop Entrecards. This option requires the least amount of brain power, so is ideal if you actually need to participate in the telephone conversation aside from the occasional “uh huh” and “okay”.
2) Check your stats for interesting keyword phrases. It can be of great benefit to find out what people are searching for when they find your site. Much of it can help you target your content… especially if your existing content doesn’t quite answer the question people were searching for answers to. If you’re a blogger, this is a fantastic way to come up with ideas for new posts.
It can also be amusing. You’ll inevitably find some incredibly weird search queries leading to your site like, “how do you get a pencil eraser out of your ear?”
3) Scan Clickbank or Paydotcom for new products related to your niche. It’s easy to think that you’ve seen all the products related to your niche already, but new products appear all the time. Some are great products from not-so-great marketers, so those products with amazing potential might not appear on your radar any other way.
Bookmark anything that looks interesting for further perusal… don’t spend too much time reading, since you’ll completely lose the conversation you’re supposed to be listening to if you do. Just figure out what the product is and make an impulse judgement whether you can sell it or not.
4) Play with some keyword suggestion tools. You can have loads of fun plugging in keywords at the various free keyword suggestion tools. Not only can they give you some new content ideas, but sites like spyfu can let you see what your competition is doing differently than you.
5) Use online tools to analyze your Website. You can learn a lot about how users and search engines see, rank and use your website by playing with tools like Website Grader which will grade your website on SEO, incoming links, social popularity and other factors, and give you suggestions on how to improve; SEO Analyzer which analyzes the actual code of your site and offers some suggestions on how to improve it for optimal SEO; BrowserShots will help you see your site in different browsers and resolutions; and the insanely cool CrazyEgg will let you see a heatmap of your design, finding out parts of your site are drawing your visitor’s attention.
While any tasks that require your full concentration are not at all recommended during a telephone call, having some of the above in your toolbox can keep those calls from being a complete waste of your time while still allowing you to interact when necessary.