Email is by far one of the biggest time sucks for the modern professional. Hours can swiftly pass by while trying to catch up on an ever growing inbox. As an attorney, you are often sifting through emails from clients in conjunction with correspondence from other audiences aiding you in your case related pursuits. It can take hours just trying to decide what requires your immediate attention and what can wait. The common nature of this time suck has inspired the creation of the following list of tips to help you avoid giving half your work day to checking and responding to emails!
Prioritize before you log in:
What are the most pressing responsibilities on your list of to-dos? Organize them in order of priority and focus on the top 3 subjects. When you first jump into your email, be sure to read and respond to emails only related to them. This can be difficult to do when you’re scrolling through and scanning for the topic so make it easier on yourself by searching within your inbox. Searching and pulling up emails solely related to the topics on your list will keep your efforts laser focused and optimize the use of your time. Searching the topic in your inbox also removes all potential sidetracking emails related to “exclusive deals” and/or any other form of content completely unrelated to your professional line of work.
Put a time block in your schedule to check your email:
Constantly checking your email while on the go maintains constant professional pressure. While this may be motivation in many cases, it can also significantly contribute to burn out. So instead put time on your calendar daily to check your email, take control of your response time and interactions of this nature. The amount of time you block off is completely up to you, some people do one hour while others commit to two and a half hours. The point of this tip is to build the act of checking your email into a workflow that makes things less overwhelming.
Use an email scheduling plug-in:
Okay, scheduling emails has changed the game for everyone that does it. There is a large possibility that you’re never going to go back once you begin to use this practice. Now bear with me when I make this next suggestion: what if you didn’t check your email at all during the day? I know, it sounds insane but get this, we all know there are some emails that don’t require immediate response and attention, things that require thoughtful responses and pondering. Save these emails for later, respond to them at a later time. Now I am not saying you should be responding to emails at 7:00pm, but I am saying you could draft your responses to emails at 7:00pm and schedule them to be automatically sent at 8:00am. The most famous tool for scheduling emails is the Boomerang plug-in for Gmail. Let’s not also confuse this with the idea of extending your work day, it’s more so rearranging your work hours in a sense.
All of these tips were written with the theme of increasing the efficiency seen in an average work day. Of course these aren’t the only options, but they are definitely among the best!
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