Several months ago, I was persuaded by this post by Andrew Gelman to try a new productivity method: “I will never again read an email without immediately handling it.” (There’s a whole blog on this topic. And nifty video.) The idea is to prevent bloat in your inbox by keeping it empty.
Here’s the short report on how it’s going. Not terribly well. I’m getting better at dealing with the easy emails, but the scholarship-related long term projects are just sitting there like lead balloons. (e.g., “how would this revision look,” or “here’s are some R-scripts. check them out when you’ve time”.) Moreover, I now have created tons of subfolders to shunt incoming mail to (e.g., “friends,” “enemies,” “colleagues who are neither friends nor enemies,” “students who need to learn courtesy”, “SSRN abstracts I wish I’d written”). This reminds me of how I cleaned my room as a little boy: move everything on the floor to under the bed.
I nominate this thread as an open one to discuss ways lawyers and legal academics handle the daily deluge.