We get lots of firmly held opinions from our users on the RIGHT way to sort calls. No one seems to agree but we think you are all absolutely right.
[subtle off-camera eye roll]
Everyone Gets Their Own
Every user has the ability to set their own sorting preferences. This means that an Executive can be religiously fervent about one sorting strategy and their assistant can have a strong emotional connection to their own approach and both can have what they want – as long as it can be achieved with the handful of options we give you.
The order of the preferences on the Call Sorting display is meant to convey the precedence of the sorting mechanism. This means that the first one is performed last. (That will make more sense to non-programmers when we put it in context below.)
The Sorting Preferences
Show unread calls first?
With the Show unread calls first switch set to Yes, the calls that were last added or changed by someone else – the ones that also appear in BOLD text – will be sorted to the top of the list. This is the first setting and is performed last, meaning that if you have a lot of unread calls, they will be at the top of your list, but sorted by the rules of the other two controls.
We have seen this to be a fan favorite amongst anyone with a very long list of calls that can be impacted by multiple people. If you are the kind of human that likes to have their unread emails sorted to the top of the list, you will like to have this one set to Yes.
Group calls by state?
Setting the Group calls by state? switch to Yes will group calls by those colors we assign to the active call states; Newly Received (Red), Need to Call (Purple), In Progress (Blue). The Call States are sorted in that order (Red, Purple, Blue).
Because this is the 2nd sorting, if you have both Show unread calls first AND Group calls by state set to Yes, you will see all the unread calls at the top, grouped by their call state, then all the other calls below that, also grouped by their call state.
Users tell us they like to group by state to help time box – setting special time to return calls or deal with new issues. You can also use the many filtering mechanisms in CallPlease to help time box, including clicking on the call state tabs which filters by that call state.
Show calls by:
There are 4 options for the lowest level sort. This sort determines the order of all the calls if the two previously described switches are set to No. If either or both of those switches is set to Yes, then this sort determines the order within those groupings.
- Date, Ascending: Selecting Date, Ascending puts the oldest call first and the newest call last. By oldest call, we mean the call that has not been updated in the longest time. Conversely, the newest call is the one that as been updated most recently. With this selected, if you were to make a change or apply an update to the first call on the list, it would move to the bottom.
- Date, Descending: Selecting Date, Descending puts the newest call, the one most recently added or updated, at the top of the list and the oldest call, the one that hasn’t been changed or updated in the longest time, at the bottom. With this selected, if you were to make a change or apply an update to the first call on the list, it would not move. If you made a change to the last call in the list, it would move to the top.
- Name, Ascending: Selecting Name, Ascending alphabetizes the calls by the Name field of the call. In CallPlease, we don’t differentiate between first and last name fields but most people enter names as First Last instead of Last, First. With this selected, a call involving Bob Smith would be listed higher than a call with Caitlin Smith.
- Name, Descending: Selecting Name, Descending reverse alphabetizes the calls by the Name field. With this selected, a call involving Bob Smith would be listed lower than a call with Caitlin Smith.
The sorting options are typically used to help understand the amount and types of work that have to be done but, more importantly perhaps, prioritizing. Our most effect users also employ our multiple Filtering tools and a timeboxing or time blocking strategy to make certain they are getting to the most important things are the best possible moments. Especially if you are managing an extensive list of interactions, you will want to consider making use of the Shared Call Logs and Tags.
Tags are used to subdivide the calls and tasks on any given list.
Shared logs can be used as a project-oriented list or a grouping of calls and tasks of a different level of priority. Some have taken to adopting the strategies of other efficiency disciplines like Getting Things Done by David Allen. The simplest of these strategies is one where there is a Parking Lot shared log where anything that doesn’t have to happen this week can be stored. Then, once a week, review that list and transfer items that need to happen this week to your primary “Do Now” log.