As Bill mentioned early this morning, how you leave voicemails for coworkers and partners can be important. What you do with voicemails people leave for you can be just as important.
For the last couple of months, I’ve kept a voicemail log. Start with a standard spiral steno notebook. When checking voicemail or taking messages, make notes in the left-hand column, noting the time and date of the voicemails. When you return a call, make notes in the right-hand column, noting the time and date again.
So far, I’ve found that not only am I returning calls in a more timely fashion, I’m more clear on what action’s been taken in response — and what my next steps are.