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Task Codes for E-Mail Overload

E-mail can overwhelm a lawyer. For those of you with overstuffed inboxes, TechnoLawyer Blog highlights one lawyer's "clever method for quickly delegating items in his e-mail inbox." The reference is to a recent article published in ALI-ABA's The Practical Lawyer, Delegating the Deluge: Action Codes for Forwarding Email." The author, Joshua Stein, a real estate and finance partner at Latham & Watkins in New York, describes the system he devised of "e-mail action codes" to use when forwarding e-mails to his assistant.

At some point after e-mail began to overwhelm him, Stein writes, he realized he could delegate to his assistant messages that required straightforward and definable tasks. This created its own problem, because each task needed his explanation, and providing it sometimes took longer than the task itself. So Stein came up with his series of task codes:

"Now, whenever I receive an email message that requires one of these actions, I click on 'forward,' move the cursor to the end of the subject matter line of the email message, type the abbreviated action code right there, and send the message to my assistant for further processing. My assistant then handles that particular piece of my email deluge, so I can spend more time doing legal work and less time doing data entry, file manipulation, and processing."

Stein's article sets out his series of codes and invites others to use them. Of course, there is one drawback to Stein's system -- it requires that you have an assistant.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on June 28, 2006 at 03:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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