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Law Practice Management and Technology

The Bottom Line Volume 35, No. 2, April 2014

E-Mail Efficiency, Time Management and Mobile Communication Courtesy in 2014

By Derick Roselli with HP Software
Enterprise Account Executive and Electronic Discovery Consultant, Hewlett-Packard Company

More and more, we have come to rely on our e-mail boxes to run our business days and tasks. How many times have you opened, reviewed, and closed the same email message or conversation thread? So you are crafting a thoughtful and insightful e-mail communication, but you have not finished your thought. Perhaps you need a reference of some kind, an attachment from another e-mail, something from your file system, or perhaps you get pulled onto a more immediate task or fire drill. Maybe you have saved a draft of a message, only to come back later and forget your train of thought? Or even worse… you leave the draft open and unsaved and your e-mail program crashes on you. So you have nearly completed a cohesive note that could save the company millions of dollars, create an early retirement opportunity, fix a client’s technical problem, possibly even cure cancer, and all of that brilliant work-product is gone forever. Poof!! Has this happened to you? Be honest…

Don’t be a slave to your e-mail. Don’t over-keep e-mail, or use your e-mail box as a task management tool. This kind of daily behavior is creating and promoting a work environment in delayed responses, out of the office bounce-backs, missed deadlines, doubled workloads, and ultimate inefficiency.

All ten thousand e-mail messages in your queue are getting attention but very little action, taking up unnecessary space on the Exchange Server, and also slowing down search, creating confusion and massive duplication. Keeping those bits and bytes of information is really not helping anyone with a business or legal issue. Many companies have established retention guidelines, which employees should absolutely follow as a rule of thumb. If employees don’t follow company guidelines, then they put the company at risk. There are plenty of noteworthy cases where spoliation of data, specifically e-mail data, are at the heart of Electronic Discovery disputes among parties. Although very relevant, and an area I have plenty of experience with, this brief article is not meant to go in that direction… Rather, it is meant to provide a simple way to manage your e-mail box, and manage your time more efficiently, instead of letting it manage you.

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