Email has played a central role in the development of my business as a solicitor. But it has now become a real problem, a problem I must deal with on a daily basis; and I mean all 7 days in the week.
Maybe you are experiencing the same stress and demands being placed on you through your email inbox?
The problem, I believe, arises from two factors:
- The increasing use of email by people generally, and
- The heightened expectations of immediate responses.
I deal with a huge quantity of emails every day which fall into two broad categories: emails from other solicitors and emails from the general public. A great deal of my time is spent simply responding to emails and I have a policy of responding to every email, even if I cannot help the sender. As a courtesy I feel it is professional to reply and advise the sender that I cannot assist them on this occasion and wish them well.
But the quantity seems to have inexorably risen over the last 12 months and now it is becoming a serious problem because it too threatens, like the phone, to present such a repeated distraction during the working (and non working) day that it is difficult to do focused, quality work-the type of work that requires concentration and a clutter free mind.
The increase in the volume of my emails is a tribute to the success of my online marketing efforts as many of the emails I receive are queries arising from my various websites. This is good, this is the purpose of the website: to generate leads and clients.
But it is getting to the point now that I have a problem that needs management.
I am toying in my mind with potential solutions but something will have to be done. One solution I am seriously considering is to set up an automated message which will advise the sender something along the lines that I deal with emails once or twice a day and in the meantime I am busy working hard to provide a good service for my clients.
I could, therefore, set 12 noon and 4 pm as the two times each day when I deal with emails and outside of these times I am determined to be focused on doing the important work that requires my undivided attention.