One of the keys to working more efficiently is to create a personal action plan. Set an agenda, and stick to it. And don’t let email rule your day. Microsoft Outlook is a powerful application and an indispensable tool for communicating with clients and colleagues throughout the workday, but some of its default settings may be interfering with your ability to perform at your best.
The blue “toaster” alerts that pop up in the lower corner of your screen and sometimes chime to demand your immediate attention are just one example. Notifications are helpful, but they can also break your focus, interrupting your concentration, and disturbing your workflow. Responding to the needs of others before addressing your own priorities allows external influences to determine your agenda. This deviation from your personal action plan is usually counterproductive. Of course you want to be available for your clients and to address pressing issues as they arise, but giving your attention to matters that don’t warrant an immediate response can add time and money to your balance sheet, making you less productive and your services less cost-effective.
Fortunately, the same system which tries to make your life easier by notifying you of every incoming message you receive can be customized to limit your alerts. Slaw, Canada’s online legal magazine, provides detailed instructions for turning off your email alerts or limiting the volume of incoming messages. You receive notifications for only the most important or immediately actionable items, reducing the intrusive and distracting demands on your time and giving you peace of mind.