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Managing Information Overload February 20, 2008

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Presentation on theme: "Managing Information Overload February 20, 2008"— Presentation transcript:

1 Managing Information Overload February 20, 2008

2 Legal Services NTAP Is this your inbox? 2 Email = Communication. Period.

3 Legal Services NTAP Overview of Session Take Control of Your Inbox Adopt Strong Email Practices Demote Email from Emperor to Messenger (Change its function in your life) Organize Your Online Experience 3

4 Legal Services NTAP Take Control of Your Inbox 50% of email can be deleted or filed 30% can be delegated or completed in less than 2 minutes 20% can be calendared to complete later 4

5 Legal Services NTAP Take Control of Your Inbox Schedule uninterrupted time Decide your email protocol Process one item at a time and Reduce to Zero. (4 Ds) –Delete –Do –Delegate –Defer for action 5

6 Legal Services NTAP 6 Overview of Session Step 1: Take Control of Your Inbox Create a filing system Create labels (Gmail) or tags (Outlook 2007) Create filters?

7 Legal Services NTAP Tools to Help You A Filing System (or Labels, if Gmail) –Group emails by category of your workflow Rules (aka Filters) –i.e., Color code your boss. Filter by subject, recipient, or sender. Flag or Star –Create an easy To-Do or deprioritize emails 7

8 Legal Services NTAP Gabes Former Life General file headers. No emails filed within them. Sub-labels catch most of my work. Tip: Naming matters. Periods show up before letters a- or aa- to help organize by your priority not naming Daily practice: Read and file from inbox 8

9 Legal Services NTAP About Files Files help you refine a search Files help you organize visually a lot of information Files are useful for easy retrieval 9

10 Legal Services NTAP How To Create File Folders Right-Click in most applications. For Gmail, create Labels: locate Settings in upper R. Click Labels Tab. 10

11 Legal Services NTAP Color Code Your Email: Use Rules Visually organize incoming messages by sender 11

12 Legal Services NTAP Create Rules or Filters Outlook: Tools | Organize (or Rules & Alerts) – See Outlook audio tutorial:See Outlook audio tutorial 6091033&ofcresset=1 –Read how for Outlook:Read how for Outlook Gmail: Settings | Filters 12

13 Legal Services NTAP About Filters & Rules Rules can change the color of an email in your inbox for easy visual reference. Rules can label or file email from certain senders – i.e., put all the email from your housing listserv into a folder automatically (or label it, in Gmail). 13

14 Legal Services NTAP Flag It! Prioritize email Create the new inbox – your To Do list Right-click to flag, or star in Gmail Sort by Flags for To Do list and by Stars in Gmail 14

15 Legal Services NTAP Archiving Email Manual, automatic, or unnecessary depending on your email client Function allows you to search email but retain it Outlook Tutorial: ng.aspx?AssetID=RP102386761033&pi d=CR100654581033 Outlook Tutorial ng.aspx?AssetID=RP102386761033&pi d=CR100654581033 15

16 Legal Services NTAP Step 2: Adopt Strong Email Practices Timely response Take action: –Delete, Do, Delegate, Defer Dos & Donts 16

17 Legal Services NTAP Timely Response What is your email protocol? –Respond within a day? –Respond within a half day? –Respond within 2 hours? –Respond within an hour? Respond even on the Defers –Thanks for your email. I wont be able to get to this until XX, and will email you then. 17

18 Legal Services NTAP Dos Use a strong subject line Use email to reward, emote or acknowledge positive things. Communicate information, request action, facilitate unsophisticated problem-solving Follow up on heavy problem-solving 18

19 Legal Services NTAP Donts Do not use email to track attachments and documents as a filing system Do not use email to manage projects, timelines, or histories Do not use email to schedule meetings Do not use email to do heavy problem solving or brainstorming Do not use email to ask quick questions 19

20 Legal Services NTAP Step 3: Reduce what you rely on your email to do for you Using new tools! 20

21 Legal Services NTAP 21 Overview of Session Step 3: Reduce what you use email to do IM for quick check in Project Management tools for deadlines and files Wikis for institutional knowledge Online schedulers & calendars

22 Legal Services NTAP Instant Messaging Im running 5 minutes late on another call. Call you when off. What time is our meeting at again? Here is the login number I forgot to send I am about to send out an email to the Advisory Board, do you have anything to add… (then cut and paste text for them to edit). Here is the training description I was going to post? Thoughts? 22

23 Legal Services NTAP 23 Instant Messaging for Quick Communication or Check In

24 Legal Services NTAP Jabber: Instant Messaging Jabber ( -- a customizable open source IM (instant messaging) protocol with many clients: –Hugh uses Exodus ( –Gabe uses PSI (

25 Legal Services NTAP Meetings and Phones Meet-o-Matic ( MeetingWizard ( Free Conference.Com ( GotVoice ( –Voicemail transferred to your email

26 Legal Services NTAP Web Conferencing Use for coordination and heavy problem solving or one-on-one in-depth meetings 26

27 Legal Services NTAP 27 We all use Case Management Systems for cases, so… While we have technology systems that help us receive and track cases, few programs use systems that help staff manage and coordinate on projects or collaborative efforts. Instead, most of us rely on ad hoc management systems and email.

28 Legal Services NTAP 28 Project Management in Action: PTLA Pine Tree Legal Assistance wanted Gwen Daniels help in developing an online intake form for their Volunteer Lawyers Project. They used PM tools to organize their goals, milestones, and drafts. They assigned tasks to all persons and tracked them online.

29 Legal Services NTAP 29 Project Management in Action: NTAP Problem: 7 staff and contractors, 6 LSC funded grants with specific milestones, 157 emails a day in my inbox, 1 aging brain. Solution: Project Management (PM) software helped us: assign tasks and deadlines, brainstorm ideas across timezones, reduce email clutter, and have one central repository for all files and thoughts about a project.

30 Legal Services NTAP 30 Project Management in Action: NTAP Example: Cyber Piracy project Becky is responsible for creating training materials. Gabe is responsible for finalizing Cyber Piracy research -- the raw data of which is in various versions. Pro bono lawyers are responsible for creating drafts of trademark material. Eva needs to review them. PM tools help us organize this effort. Whats better? We receive notice via email of all uploads, revisions, drafts, or messages.

31 Legal Services NTAP 31 Example in Action: ILAOs Project Server The Problem: We needed a way to manage internal software development projects that use staff and outside developers The Solution: Set up a project server instance that allows us to create tasks for each phase of development and link those tasks together, assign and allocate resources, manage costs

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36 Legal Services NTAP 36 Resources Training Material on Wikis & Proj Mgmt Wikis: Project Management:

37 Legal Services NTAP Other Tips Manage your bookmarks Manage your news Open what you need every day 37

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