Saturday, February 9, 2019

Some tips for managing the morning email crush

Like me, do you find that dealing with the daily deluge of email is consuming an ever increasing amount of valuable time in the morning? Especially if you're a morning person, dealing with all that email encroaches on some especially valuable real estate when it comes to your overall productivity each day. As for myself, I can easily spend an hour (and often more) each morning when I first get to work reading, sorting, deleting and responding to scores upon scores of messages. Fortunately, Grover Cleveland, author of Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks  (The Essential Guide for Thriving as a New Lawyer) and author of a regular column over at Above The Law covering the same, has come up with some great tips for helping to manage your morning email crush. To wit:

  • Be selective in the emails you respond to each morning. Don't start with the earliest one in your inbox and work your way up the queue from there since not everyone requires an immediate response. Instead, do a bit of triage by prioritizing. 
  • Acknowledge promptly but you can respond later.
  • Prioritize based on high value work (i.e., among the many competing demands on your time awaiting in your inbox, which ones will help you serve your interests best when it comes to professional growth vis a vis the firm, clients, etc.)
  • Delegate what you can to a junior colleague, secretary, paralegal, etc.
  • Managing the expectations of those waiting for a reply by not always responding immediately which can unintentionally steer you into the skid by setting unrealistic expectations about your response time in the minds of others. 

Read Grover's rationale underlying each of these tips here in his column at ATL.


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