Lawyers Email Overload
Are you deluged with email? Is your Inbox full of emails you never get time to read? The volume of email is becoming a big problem these days.
2 million emails are sent every second.
62% of us check work emails when we’re at home or on holiday!
A third of office workers suffer from “email stress”.
So, is email a problem for you? Do you waste time on your emails rather than actually getting on with more important work? Are you checking your email constantly throughout the day?
Take control of your Inbox so that you don’t waste time and can get on with the more important tasks.
Switch off all email alerts so that they’re not pinging, flashing or popping up little envelopes at you every time an email arrives.This is a major source of distraction.
Only check your emails two or three times a day. Unless you need to respond instantly to clients as soon as an email hits your inbox (unlikely), you really only need to check your inbox a couple of times a day, morning and afternoon.
Check email AFTER you’ve achieved your first important task of the day. You’re less likely to get side-tracked early on in the day.
Set aside a specific time to respond to emails – 15-20 minutes at a time. Don’t jump straight in and start responding to the first one. Take a few minutes to sort them into urgent/action, non-urgent and reading. If you can’t deal with an email straight away, schedule time to deal with it later.
Do it, delegate it, dump it. Don’t keep coming back to an email or putting it to one side ‘for later’. Flag it if you don’t need to deal with it there and then and deal with the next one.
Set a time limit to read and deal with your email – this is critical if you don’t want to get totally side-tracked and waste more time than necessary.
Many of us spend far longer composing an email response than we really need to. If all it requires is a quick one-liner or a couple of minutes, don’t spend hours on it. Get through the quick responses in one go.
Don’t get emotionally attached to your emails – you don’t need to read and respond to every single one and you don’t need to keep every single copy for ever and a day ‘just in case’. Archive the ones you do need to keep.
Keep your Inbox clear.
It doesn’t have to be empty but you need to know that your emails have been dealt with appropriately and in a timely manner.
Create folders and filters to organise your incoming mail – automatically sort mail into the appropriate folder by subject or sender as it comes in, this helps weed out the less important and clears out some of the ‘clutter’.
Reduce what comes in – only subscribe to mailing lists and newsletters that you will read or use on a regular basis. Go through every few months and clear out and unsubscribe from those you no longer read. You can always catch up online.
N.B. Never ‘unsubscribe’ from spam emails – you’re likely to end up with even more. Make it easy for people to subscribe and unsubscribe from your own newsletters and mailings by using an autoresponder like Aweber.
Use a different email address for different types of email – business, personal, newsletters etc. It’s also useful to have one for ‘junk mail’ for registering on websites that may result in spam. Check the important ones regularly and the less important ones, less often.
Once an email’s been dealt with – delete it or file/archive it.
Email is not a 100% safe, guaranteed means of communication. It can and does go wrong. If it’s important or urgent – pick up the phone.
If you plan your time for emails in the same way you plan the rest of your time it doesn’t have to take over your life!