Ah, spring! It feels like a whole new world, and that means it’s time to open your law firm office windows, breathe in the fresh air, and then dig into some serious spring cleaning, starting with your digital world.
Clean out your own email lists. Estate planning law firms have to be particularly aware of the people on their email lists because of the nature of our practices. Does this sound familiar? One member of a couple dies and you are still sending him emails, even though she was in your office to go through the estate last year. Go through your email lists, with a particular eye to clients who have passed, or who are no longer able to receive emails.
Ancient messages from the past slowing your system down? Ask your IT department to make sure that the decades of emails and attachments aren’t clogging your system’s speed or performance. They should check the size of your Outlook PST files. Auto-archiving your emails will help too. Set up rules and create folders so that emails are automatically moved into folders.
If you aren’t reading them now, are you going to read them later? We can hear the groans already. Yes, you swore you would take five minutes to read through something that caught your attention a few years back. It’s time to let it go and unsubscribe.
How many old emails do you need? You need emails from clients and concerning client matters. But sort by senders and look at how many emails you are still hanging on to from your brother-in-law about the boating trip you took two years ago. Do you really need them? Sorting by sender gives you a clear visual of what’s clogging up your email inbox and makes it easier to chuck the ones you don’t’ need. Careful: this can be habit-forming if you are a neat freak. Limit this to once a year or once a quarter!
Make changes to minimize digital distractions. Our digital world is relentless. Chances are you have a constant stream of notifications popping up on your computer and phone. Here’s a novel idea: turn off the notifications. Check your email at set times during the day, or only after completing a task or a meeting. Every time you stop doing one thing to respond to an email, you lose time and focus.