Hiding behind the veil of “busyness” is a transparent excuse when it comes to returning phone calls. I find that waiting for callbacks or responses to requests is one of the most frustrating aspects of work. This is especially true if you need the response before you can proceed with the next component of your work. Are we so busy that basic respect for others is forgotten? I don’t think so.
Now I can see the temptation to claim “busyness” when someone is trying to sell you something and you’re not interested, yet he or she continues to call back. But why not bite the bullet and just say outright, “I’m not interested at this time, but thank you for calling.” You might even add, “Call me back in about three months as the situation might have changed by then,” if there’s a chance you might be interested at another time. This requires a tiny amount of effort and yet the payoff is high. It takes less time to make this call than it does to listen or read multiple unwanted messages. If time were really a factor, then the most effective use of one’s time would obviously be to “take care of business.” When I return unwanted calls I feel good because I have taken back control of my workload and have shown respect for another working person.