Posts tagged Priorities
Want a productive and satisfying work day?

Starting the business day with a plan is part of successful time management.

But how do you know if your plan for the day is focused on what your business needs right now?

Is the work you enjoy first on your list?  Is the work that will generate client satisfaction on the top of your list?  What about generating revenue? 

Setting out on your workday adventure is about prioritizing - but how you prioritize is also important.  And the flexibility to adjust your priorities is a skill that is often avoided.

At the end of my work day yesterday, I put my priorities in place for today.  This morning, they got reorganized.  

This is a result of taking my business vitals every morning.  If I do it everyday, it only takes 10 minutes.

Here are the vitals I take before I start my journey for a productive and satisfying work day.

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When did we start giving e-mail so much power

I was in college when e-mail first started to become a method of communication available to any person who could get on the internet super highway.

Four years later, "in the year 2000",  I started work as a graduate assistant when I began my graduate school education.  As a manger of several groups of people, I used e-mail as my primary method of communication.  Looking back, I don't remember e-mail being used to voice gripes and grievances, probably because I would see them in person that week and it would be awkward for them.  

In 2004, ten years ago, I worked for a non-profit membership corporation.  I was the liaison to several committees which met in person once a year, otherwise, we did all the work by conference calls, e-mail or individual phone calls.  

I remember losing sleep about not responding to a customer or committee member's e-mail to me the same day I received it.  There was, however, no way for me to get through 100 e-mails a day and also get work done.  I tried to prioritize who I responded to, and in what order, by using a colored flag system - red meaning a reply is urgent.

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Why it's a bad idea to always have your e-mail open

It's the end of the day.  You look at your to-do list.  It looks the same as the beginning of the day. How can that be the case when you worked your tail off all day?  And you recorded billable time so its apparent you were doing focused work.  

A common cause to the untamed to-do list is being in response mode.  An easy way to fall prey to that is to be ready, willing, and able to respond to e-mail at any given time of your office hours.  There is certainly a reason for doing this; it shows people (clients, other attorneys, the managing partner) that you provide good service, you respond quickly and are available when they need you.

The biggest trade-off I see with this is that you can rarely advance your cases by using e-mail as your vehicle for accomplishing the goals for your client.  Even if you are providing answers, updates, or counseling it will mean little in the long run if you aren't moving closer to the closing the case.

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Hope WoodE-mail, Priorities