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Jan Copley
Certified Practice Advisor
Atticus, Inc.

530 South Lake Avenue, Suite 250
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 696-3145
(626) 421-6747 (fax)
jan@copleycoaching.com

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Managing Your Email

May 11, 2012

Filed under: Email,Focus/Time Management — @ 8:00 am

My very first blog article was about managing email. Since then, I’ve read D. Rock, Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long (HarperCollins 2009), which says, among other things, that if the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning is check your email, you’ll be stupid for the rest of the day.

So, what do you do about this form of communication that’s too easy, too burdensome, and too time-consuming? Nora Bergman, my friend and fellow Atticus practice advisor, recently alerted me to a wonderful post on Videojug about Business E-Mail Efficiency. In the video, Tim Burress, co-author of M. Song, V. Halsey and T. Burress, The Hamster Revolution: How to Manage Your Email Before It Manages You (Berrett-Koehler Publishers 2008), gives the following tips:

  • Make sure your email message is clear, concise and complete so the recipient understands what you’re talking about and doesn’t have to email you back to ask for clarification
  • Try to limit the number of emails you send to any one person to three a day or less
  • Sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone
  • Set parameters for when you need a reply (i.e., “I’d appreciate it if you would get back to me by tomorrow afternoon”)

Please let me know how this helps you!

Is Email Ruining Your Life?

February 29, 2012

Filed under: Email,Focus/Time Management — @ 6:23 pm

Ranting about email. I have previously written about the dangers of email controlling your life and made some suggestions about how to control email. But I thought it was interesting when, this week, not one but two articles popped up about how email can ruin our lives. I think both articles have something valuable to say, so I pass along the observations here.

Control email expectations. The first article, “Tune Out Technology” from the Lawyerist blog, makes a good point about the importance of setting boundaries with email. I really like the observation that if your practice doesn’t require you to be constantly in touch with your clients, “don’t be available all the time.”

Think about it: how damaged will somebody really be if you don’t respond to that person’s email until tomorrow morning (or, if on the weekend, until Monday)? If your answer is that you don’t have to answer now, set expectations: tell clients you’ll respond to an email within twenty-four hours, but not necessarily immediately.

Email management tips. The second article, Amy Gallo’s “Stop Email Overload” from the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, contains some tips about controlling email. I like the following ones:

  • If you have too much email in your inbox, it’s really a sign that you don’t have effective protocols for making decisions — for you and for your firm.
  • Tell people to limit the “fyi” emails and don’t send out the one-word “thanks.” Both types of correspondence are burdensome for the receiver and don’t add to the conversation.
  • Keep your inbox clean. Just because something shows up, that doesn’t mean you have to open it. If the title reveals the email is something that probably doesn’t concern you, delete it.
  • Take a break from email. Don’t check it on weekends. If you work on a Smartphone, change your settings so that you only receive email when you ask for it, rather than having it pushed to you automatically.

Please let me know how this helps you!