“Most people haven’t realized how out of control their head is when they get 300 e-mails a day.” David Allen
Is that you? Maybe it’s more like 400, 500, 1,000? An out-of-control inbox is a problem for almost every attorney I know. It’s impossible to function with that kind mess in your inbox. So, what can you do to stop the madness?!?! There are a couple of simple strategies you can start with.
First, make it a habit to deal with your email when it comes in. Either delete it, delegate it, defer it to a later date, file it, or do it if it takes less than two minutes. David Allen’s Two Minute Rule applies not only to email but to every task you are faced with throughout the day. If it takes less than two minutes, do it. Period.
Second, create folders for all of your clients, and move your client related emails to those folders. Attachments to emails should be saved to a client file on your server. Simply leaving them as an attachment to email in your inbox is dangerous because no one else has access to your inbox.
Third, create an Archive Folder where you can place old emails that you don’t necessarily want to delete. Use the Archive Folder – you can create sub-folders, too – to get those emails out of your inbox.
To really crank up your productivity, download the Getting Things Done Add-In for Outlook from David Allen and Netcentrics. The GTD Add-In toolbar will be added to your Outlook toolbar. One of the coolest features of this add-in is that it allows you to automatically save the emails you send to the appropriate Outlook folder. No more looking through your sent items for the email you sent to a client two months ago. No more filling your inbox with cc’s to yourself. With GTD you can send a copy of the email directly to the client folder when you send the email. This one feature alone makes the GTD Add-In a “must have” for most attorneys.