Personal productivity rule book


You probably have a long list of things you do to manage your time and increase your productivity. No doubt you also collect articles and ideas you’d like to try.

But, do you have a centralized place to record these things? A book of rules you follow or would like to follow?

Having a “rule book” will make it more likely that you’ll follow those rules.

You might have a set of rules for how you start your day, how you do a weekly review, and how and where you record and back up client information.

You might have a set of rules for doing research: where you begin, how you record citations, how you organize (tag, label, file) the information.

Your rules don’t have to be complex or overly detailed. One sentence for each rule will often be enough.

It also helps to record the rationale behind each rule.

Here’s an example of some rules you might adopt regarding email:

  • Turn off notifications and keep Outlook/browser tab closed (so you’ll check email less often)
  • Schedule (times) on calendar for checking email (so you’re not tempted to check it constantly)
  • No email before (time). So you can get important things done first.
  • Use templates to respond to FAQs, provide links, share bio, deliver work product, etc.
  • Reply with statements: Don’t answer a question with a question [Not easy for lawyers, is it?] Example: When someone asks, “When do you want to talk?” you tell them, eg., “10:15 Tuesday. I’ll call you.”
  • Short answers. Five lines max. (Don’t write ten lines when two will do.)
  • Delay response. Many “urgent” issues often solve themselves.

And so on.

Over time, add new rules to your book, refine existing rules, and remove rules you no longer follow.

Keep your rule book close by and check it often. In fact, make that a rule.

Speaking of email, here’s how to use email to get more clients

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