Efficient E-mail Practices for Online Law School Students

Online Law Degree Success Tips

E-mail can be both the light of our life and the bane of our existence.  It is a fast and easy way to send information and to communicate with each other.  Yet, it can also be a source of too much information (spam or junk).  At St. Francis School of Law, e-mail is one of the primary means of communicating with students,  so we thought it would be helpful to provide some tips on how to use your e-mail more efficiently to ensure that you receive and read the messages you need, get rid of the messages you don’t want, and don’t waste time in the process.

1.  First Thing First

This tip may seem a bit counter0intuitive, but do NOT check your e-mail first thing in the morning (especially on Mondays!).  If you do, you will get stuck in your e-mail for an extended period of time.  Instead of checking your e-mail, check off the most important things on your to-do list.  Get those things out of the way, and then tackle the new stuff that has come up.

2.  Avoid Constant Checking

In addition to getting sucked into your e-mail early, if you check your e-mail first, you will probably be logged into it all day long.  Although this seems natural, it can be quite counter-productive.  If you have your e-mail open all day or set to alert you when new e-mails arrive, you will be constantly distracted and unable to direct your full attention to whatever you are working on.  The constant disruption will surely affect your work process, and possibly your work product as well.  So instead, check your e-mail at regular intervals (once an hour, or once every couple of hours) and other than that, log out of it.

3.  Just Decide

When you do check your e-mail (not first thing and not every five minutes) decide what to do with e-mails instead of just letting them sit in your inbox.  If it is junk or a forward, trash it.  If it is a long e-mail that requires reading for information purposes, do one of 2 things (1) file it in a “To Read” folder (which you should clear out at the end of every day) or (2) print it to read after checking all of your other e-mail.  If the e-mail requires some sort of action, add the task to your calendar, include the subject of the email in your notes of your calendar task, and then archive the e-mail; it will be easy enough to search for later if needed.  If the response require will take just a minute or two, respond immediately and then either archive the e-mail or trash it.

4.  Trash or Archive

When you finish reading or responding to an e-mail, do one of 2 things with it (1) trash it if you will never need it again or (2) archive it.  Running a search through your inbox can be more efficient than creating millions of folders and trying to categorize everything, and looking for it folder by folder.  So you really only need an Archive folder, although you could have a few more if necessary.

If you follow the easy steps above, you will have a clean and tidy inbox, you will find your e-mail use more efficient, and you will never miss an important communication from St. Francis School of Law (or anyone else for that matter!)


About onlinelawdegree

St. Francis was founded in the heart of Silicon Valley, where new start-up companies, young entrepreneurs, and the world’s leading venture capital firms have created some of the world’s most innovative companies. St. Francis began when a group of entrepreneurs began lamenting the state of legal education and the fact that: * When most law students graduate, they are not armed with the skills they actually need to practice law and instead learn how to practice law during the first three years on the job, at the expense of clients. * Clients are beginning to refuse to pay for junior associates to get trained on the job; * Legal jobs and services are quickly being shifted overseas; * There are fewer “big law” jobs available; and * Law students are taking on huge amounts of debt in the hopes of obtaining “big law” jobs. We quickly realized that there is a growing demand for a different type of legal education and our mission is to provide it. At St. Francis, we emphasize the things students need to know to practice law, thereby supplying the legal market with graduates who have already gained exposure to a wide range of skills that most law graduates do not obtain until several years on the job.
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