Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 30

TAKING THE STAND

"Taking the Stand" appears periodically in Washington Lawyer as a
forum for D.C. Bar members to address issues of importance to them
and that would be of interest to others. The opinions expressed are
the author's own. For submissions, email editorial@dcbar.org.

MINDING YOUR EMAIL

Balance & Boundaries
By Alan Heymann

I once worked for a politician who carried four
Blackberries and got elected for his responsiveness. I have also worked with people who simply
ignored their email on a regular basis, perhaps
offering a shrug or an apology when asked.
Lessons learned from both examples: If you
mind your inbox too much, you're simply
captive to everyone else's priorities and have
no time for your own. If you mind it too little,
you'll come across as unaccountable and disappoint your stakeholders.

Jenifer Morris Photography

Instead, I believe the key is balance. You can
balance the need to be responsive and helpful
against the need to control the flow of your
workday. Here's how.

O

ne thing often stands out
in my work, whether I'm
coaching lawyers, engineers,
or entrepreneurs: Nobody seems
happy in their relationship with
email. I won't suggest turning
your back on your email entirely,
or that your inbox will someday
spark joy like a tidy sock drawer.
But balance is within your reach.
30 WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

MAY 2020

Define and clarify boundaries. When was the
last time you had a conversation about email
boundaries within your organization? This is
especially challenging with a 24/7 news cycle
and organizations that work around the globe
in multiple time zones. But are you always on
and instantly responding because someone has
asked you to be, or because you're assuming an
expectation?
For those of us who lead teams, setting the
right tone is especially important. If you're the
boss and you're emailing people at 9 p.m. in
your own time zone, they're going to respond.
Try declaring certain times off-limits for email,
like 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. or Sunday mornings.
Acquire and deploy technologies. Technology
can help manage the flow in and out. In less
than an hour, you or an assistant can create a
series of filters to divert incoming messages out
of your inbox and into folders. You can use a
service like Unroll.me to unsubscribe easily from
the dozens of messages you receive because
you bought that one pair of pants.

I'm a big fan of systems like Boomerang for
Gmail and the delay-send feature in Outlook.
You can write the message whenever the
thought falls out of your brain, but it doesn't
have to go out until the next business morning.
Then you're not reinforcing the notion that you
work all the time or creating the expectation
that others do so.
Establish and follow systems. Pick a system
and go with it. I'd encourage you not to treat
your inbox like a junk drawer, rummaging
around for what you're trying to find. I like Inbox
Zero and OHIO (Only Handle it Once) to keep
the flow from backing up on me. I also have
a separate folder for emails that are awaiting
response from others. This keeps them out
of my inbox and puts them in a single place
so I can follow up.
Rewire your brain. Following these tips
can also rewire the reward system that keeps
many of us glued to our inboxes more than
we need to be. Knowing things feels good.
Being needed feels good. And the blinking
light on our phones, the notification dings, the
numbers on our app icons provide a little hit
of dopamine. All of this makes us more likely
to have a little peek at our email when we're in
line at the grocery store, or in a cab, or during a
dull moment during our kid's soccer game.
Pauses matter. They're where the moments
of creativity and human connection happen.
Spending your pauses actually pausing (instead
of scrolling) will bring more balance to your
life and make your legal work even more
effective.
Alan Heymann, JD, ACC is a leadership and executive coach based in the Washington, D.C., area. His
practice is called Peaceful Direction.


http://www.Unroll.me

Washington Lawyer - May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - May 2020

LETTER TO MEMBERS ON COVID-19 CRISIS
FROM OUR PRESIDENT
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
ABA DELEGATE’S CORNER
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
REVOLUTIONIZING THE BUSINESS OF LAW
DIGITAL JUSTICE
ADVANCING THE HUMAN RIGHTS C AUSE ACROSS BORDERS
TAKING THE STAND
ON FURTHER REVIEW
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
WORTH READING
ATTORNEY BRIEFS
SPEAKING OF ETHICS
DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
THE PRO BONO EFFECT
SPECIAL SECTION: THE REVOLUTIONARY C RYSTAL EASTMAN
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 4
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - LETTER TO MEMBERS ON COVID-19 CRISIS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - FROM OUR PRESIDENT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 8
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ABA DELEGATE’S CORNER
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - REVOLUTIONIZING THE BUSINESS OF LAW
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - DIGITAL JUSTICE
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ADVANCING THE HUMAN RIGHTS C AUSE ACROSS BORDERS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - TAKING THE STAND
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ON FURTHER REVIEW
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - WORTH READING
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ATTORNEY BRIEFS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - SPEAKING OF ETHICS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 43
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - THE PRO BONO EFFECT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - SPECIAL SECTION: THE REVOLUTIONARY C RYSTAL EASTMAN
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 50
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 51
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 52
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover4
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