Issue link: http://ailahub.aila.org/i/192765
Outlook Tips for Immigration Attorneys
by Karol Brown
icrosoft Outlook is one of the most widely
used applications by immigration attorneys.
Many AILA attorneys use Outlook for their
email, calendar, tasks, and other critical activities.
Here are some tips for using Outlook more efficiently.
Email Management with Outlook
The most common use of Outlook is to manage email.
The vast quantity of emails we receive can have a major
impact on our productivity and workflow. It is the most
common form of communication, but may not always
be the most effective. Email interruptions can break our
focus, increase stress, and interfere with our off-time.
There are several strategies to take charge of your email
with Outlook. Use Rules to automatically move lowpriority emails out of your inbox, and into separate
folders to be read or handled in bulk. Mark items as
junk (right click on the email, select "Junk", and block
the sender or the sender's domain) to avoid getting
spam from the same sender in the future.
You may also want to try different views of your
inbox, such as seeing only unread messages or using
"conversation" view. You can even automatically colorcode messages, such as making all internal emails show
FOR MORE OUTLOOK TRICKS:
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in blue, and those from a major client in red. If you find
yourself distracted by incoming emails while working,
you can customize Outlook to turn off the sounds or
previews of emails.
One of the most powerful tools for managing emails
is the drag and drop feature. You can easily convert an
email into another type of Outlook item by clicking
and holding the email message, and dragging it to the
Calendar, Contact, Task, or Note section. If you receive
a message about a proposed meeting, you can drag and
drop that email onto your calendar. Now the entire
background is available to you when the meeting is
scheduled days and weeks from now. If you promise a
client to perform an action by a certain date, you can
drag and drop that email into your task list, and set a
reminder for a few days prior to your deadline.
Use Journal to Track Time Spent on Documents
The Journal feature of Outlook is one of the most
underused but powerful features of Outlook.
Especially if you bill hourly for your time, you may
want to turn on this "Journal" feature by selecting
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Top 10 Email Time Wasters
Low priority messages and spam
Taking on work that belongs to others
Keeping the conversation going
Failing to stay "on topic"
Responses based on poor scanning of
8. Writing too many and too long
9. Overwhelmed by volume
10. Not using the technology tools
Tools and Options, and then selecting Journal Options
in the Preference Tab. You can select to track several
different types of Microsoft Office documents, such as
Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Journal will then track
what documents you open each day, and how long
that document was open on your computer.
The Journal feature is very useful to help you
determine how long you've spent on certain tasks or
documents. In the Journal section of Outlook, you
can open an item and add the client in the "Company"
field or associate that document with an Outlook
contact. You can also use the "Categories" field to
distinguish work done on a particular project.
Karol Brown is an immigration attorney practicing
in Bellevue, WA. She serves on the national AILA
committees for Practice Management, Media, and CLE.
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