Immigration Practice News

October 2013 (Vol. 5, No. 1)

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Outlook Tips for Immigration Attorneys by Karol Brown M 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: Maximizing Your Outlook (Podcast) FREE! > 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 MISS AN ISSUE? No Sweat. Check out AILA's archive. Top 10 Email Time Wasters 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Low priority messages and spam Distractibility Cluttered inbox Taking on work that belongs to others Keeping the conversation going Failing to stay "on topic" Responses based on poor scanning of information 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. FOLLOW AILA FOR THE LATEST ON IMMIGRATION! YOUTUBE, TWITTER, FACEBOOK, and LINKEDIN COPYRIGHT © 2013 AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO PART OF THIS PUBLICATION MAY BE REPRINTED OR OTHERWISE REPRODUCED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE PUBLISHER. SEND REPRINT REQUESTS TO PUBS@AILA.ORG www.aila.org 5

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