Is your inbox on e-mail overload? It turns out attorneys and their staff are not alone! It seems that many individuals find themselves in the same boat. So much so, that several sessions were dedicated to it at ABA TECHSHOW 2016!
Nonetheless, take heart, friend, there is hope!
Here are a few favorite takeaways from three sessions I attended: "Time Task Email & Distraction Management - Tame the Digital Chaos" with Paul Unger; "Supercharge Microsoft Office with Add-Ins and Apps" with Catherine Sanders Reach and Bob Ambrogi; and "Outlook Tips" with Debbie Foster. Some of these takeaways include great strategies as well!
Strategies to Help Control E-mail Inbox Overload
- Limit multi-tasking activities
- Stop operating from your e-mail
- Don't leave your e-mail up all day
- Turn off notifications
- Have an exception for a particular person? Create a rule
- Go to your inbox settings and fix annoyances
- Set a schedule as to when you will check e-mail
- Establish a policy with your office to call you for emergencies rather than use e-mail
- Limit "Do not disturb" hours
- Do rounds with your staff at a particular time every day so a schedule helps to cut down interruptions
- Avoid micromanaging
- Operate from a task list or calendar
- Every task should be an appointment on your calendar. Block off the amount of time it will take approximately to complete that task
- Want your task list to show up separate from e-mail? Tech Tip: In Microsoft Outlook, right click on the word Calendar or Tasks and click on Open New Window for these modules to show up separately when you want to avoid seeing your inbox
- Operate from a clean desk
- Work on a single task at a time
- Go buy a tomato timer to help you work on one single task at a time for 25 minutes (based on a book called "The Pomodoro Technique")
- Listen to music for white background noise to help you focus
- Put cell phone away
- Batch Process E-mail
- READING E-MAIL --Ask yourself: "What do I have to do to touch this e-mail once?"
- Follow the 4 D's to touch once
- REPLYING TO E-MAIL: Use autotext or "Quick Parts" for repeat responses
- If you are unable to respond immediately or your response requires some thought, schedule the e-mail as a task on your task list or appointment on your calendar and file or flag the e-mail to follow up on
Software Tools to Help with E-mail Inbox Overload
- Tools to help clean up your inbox and manage your e-mail
- Task Tools
- Need a seperate task tool? Check these out!
- Plug-Ins (Note: Before you use these add-ins - note that some add-ins may make your Microsoft Office software unstable and ALWAYS check with your IT person if you have one)
- Contact Plug-Ins
- Encryption Plug-Ins
- Calendar Plug-Ins/Software
- Attachment Plug-Ins
- Folder/E-mail Plug-Ins
- E-mail Editors/Proofreading
Looking for more tips, tricks, and tutorials to manage your e-mail overflow? Here are the top 50 most popular tips, tricks and tutorials for Outlook and Gmail from About Tech. Check out these other great tips from Mind Tools to help save your e-mail sanity and if you are looking to brush up on your e-mail management skills or more, check out GCF Learn Free's website.
DISCLAIMER: Product information is passed along without any warranties by the South Carolina Bar. Products have not been tested by the Bar or the author and are offered for your information only.