These days many in the legal profession have become all too addicted to checking their email inboxes throughout the work day. This obsession has made it very difficult for attorneys to stay on track and complete billable tasks in a timely fashion.
In a recent episode of our “Everything Except The Law” podcast, we welcomed personal injury attorney and time management expert Christopher Earley. He offered some thoughts on why constantly checking email is not a good use of an attorney’s time, and encouraged lawyers to only do so a couple of times a day.
Check out the clip below to see Christopher’s argument.
You can also check out a transcript of the conversation below:
Host Nick Werker:
I am very, very much so addicted to my email. And you have described yourself as a recovering email addict.
I might identify as an email addict, not necessarily recovering yet. Can you tell us a little bit about the struggles that you’ve had with checking emails, and what happened? How have you recovered?
This whole discussion is around mindset, right? And my mindset around email was a rather compulsive one. It’s like gotta check it, gotta check. I’m gonna look at email. But that’s classic busy work.
You go back to the 80-20 thing, right? There’s nothing productive about reading emails, sending emails, monitoring email. You’re wasting your time and it’s adding up a lot each day. So this again requires… there’s pain here. There’s pain and change.
And this doesn’t come for me. This is from brilliant people who study this stuff, and say check it twice a day. There’s nothing pressing. At least in my line of work as a personal injury lawyer. Things can wait. There’s nothing catastrophic that’s gonna happen.
Just a quick aside here Nick, I went on vacation to Disney with my family about a year ago last summer, and I didn’t check my email for about four days. And that seems like four weeks. Nothing happened. Everything was fine. And I said to my wife, I need to check my email, I’m nervous, I’m freaking out. And my wife said, it’s fine. And lo and behold no catastrophes. Everything was fine.
This is the same thing as the phone. It’s no different. It’s sucking up your time. So just check it twice a day. For some it may seem kind of minimal or extreme. Just whittle it down. I think it can be very addictive behavior checking that and we want that dopamine hit, right? The dopamine hit of getting that email we’re waiting for.
I think we can all relate and if you can wean yourself off of that and really get off of the inbox and focus on the 80-20 stuff, focus on productive stuff, and have a mindset of you know I’m an investor of my time. That’s my mindset. I’m investing my time today, is that a good use of my time on email. Probably not.
No, I’m not saying abandon email, right? I mean clients eventually are like where the heck are you, you disappeared. I mean just whittle it down, taper it down. I think a small twist on the dial, a small turn of that dial in the other direction of less email tracking can have a major impact, and make you feel good because you’re going to be locked into some more productive work that email takes you away from frequently I find.
Full episodes of the Everything Except The Law podcast can be found on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Anchor.
Leave a Comment