All the time take the chance to be taught
Yesterday I was encouraged by a representative from Nancy Pelosi to reorganize my local email folders. As everyone probably remembers, the context is that some people broke into Spokesman Pelosi’s office and took lots of photos of their activities – The Sun reports it as Pelosi’s own computer, but given the reliability here, who knows. In any case, it shows a really solid email organization scheme that has clearly been followed very carefully with only six unread emails in the inbox, even after evacuating so quickly that there wasn’t time to lock the computer . There’s a very well thought-out layout that makes up for the frustrating flaw of email clients (I think they’re rooted in IMAP so not their fault) to allow for proper ordering of email folders, with the void is closed by literacy.
The setup starts with “000 DCCC” – as the viewers of the west wing know, the Committee on Democratic Congress Campaigns – and uses the well-known trick of the previous digits to put the literacy in the desired order. After a few more seemingly smaller folders (what looks like “Drafts” and “Chain of Events”), then under “Scheduling” a serious subordination is shown. Before I get to that, though, what I like best about this setup is that it’s clearly a living organizational structure with room for quick changes.
Like most busy lawyers dealing with a large number of emails, I mainly need some kind of supported memory out of my email folders. I rarely want or need to work locally with email for more than a few days – by then things have generally evolved and addressed, and the email may be archived. However, in those few days it is very helpful to have the emails easily accessible to keep track of tasks and responses so that they match the required workflow. Some people like to rely on finding it and only work from a single inbox or folder and I respect that, but I find it too messy and distracting.
At the same time, a system that is too rigid also fails. You can create twenty email folders carefully thought out by subject and a tickler system for the time of day or what you want. However, if you over-plan, as you do when tagging document reviews, you can quickly become too divided. You forget whether the email you want to find is in your Hot or Urgent folder, or something shows up, and your use of email as a planning tool becomes a death spiral as you don’t go to your Tuesday at “came at noon” until 2:30. Instead, you need a system that is both flexible and ready and willing to use it flexibly. In doing so, it exposes your folders to the Darwinian pressure required to rebuild and destroy your local emails as needed to keep them in maximum fighting shape.
Back to the speaker’s office system. One of the things I love about the top-level organization is that, as we can see, it goes from the “000 DCCC” folder to the main alphabetical folders with no further forced literacy until we get to the next Level. This is great because it leaves a lot of room for improvement. One of the things you’ll realize is that if you’ve allowed your current system to be cluttered with various obviously added folders that should be temporary at one point in time, with names like “000aaaa-IMPORTANT”, your current system needs to be updated. and “-000aaaa-VERY IMPORTANT” and so on – like the traditional document review tagging trap where you get finer and finer amounts of hot documents until you have a “hot hot hot hot HOT” tag and need to find out How this is different from “VERY hot hot hot.” However, the speaker system leaves a lot of new space between “000 DCCC” and “Scheduling” to be added as needed.
From “Scheduling” onwards, the structure breaks out into serious subfolders, whereby the forced literacy is used more intelligently and there is more room for expansion. It goes straight to “01 – Inquiries”, “02 – Meeting Notes” and “03 – Travel”, with the first folder (everything we can see in the photo) sorting further down, first to “0001 Memos” “Or “0001 members” (these sub-folders are hidden, the latter presumably listing the congress members individually according to an identifier, possibly according to district or seniority), a few more folders with preceding digits, then in a long-term planning with folders for each month (from “01)” January “to” 12) December “, followed by” 13) 2019 “, presumably for older articles). Then the subfolder” Scheduling “is created at the highest level with” 02 – meeting notifications “,” 03 – trips “and” 04 – schedules “, all of which have their own subfolders before continuing off-screen.
In any case, I found it all very interesting and I hope you are fine. And it encouraged me not only to reorganize myself a little, but also to see that lessons can be learned and wisdom gained in all circumstances.
Matthew W. Schmidt has represented and advised clients in all stages of litigation and numerous matters, including insider trading, fiduciary duty, antitrust law and civil law RICO. He is a partner in the litigation and investigation law firm Crossbowman Fariello in New York, where he and his colleagues represent national and international clients in litigation, arbitration, appeals and investigations. You can reach him by email at email@example.com.