- Doing reports on time (managed on a white board in my office; as soon as I started using the whiteboard to manage the 10 or so rolling 3 month deadlines, I locked this down)
- Listening promptly to voicemails (I've posted before about how much I hate doing this)
- Keeping my inbox at under 40 unread/need attention messages (usually this means it's an email containing records and it's going to take me some time to review)
- Promptly reviewing defense counsel invoices (90% of the invoices are easy and painless, the other 10% usually require sending a nasty-gram email about excessive time spent on a motion or some other reason I am going to reduce the amount I approve).
- Managing new cases as they come in (an average of maybe 1.5 per week, but it never works out that way, instead I get 4 one day and then none for 2 weeks or something).
- Monthly reviewing all my active cases (I have a good handle on this, setting about 1/4 of my cases for review on each Friday, and rolling each one forward one month when I check it).
And in general, the part that causes me the most stress about getting backed up is the email inbox. So pretty much every day, I can look back at the day as being one of three things:
Getting sucked down deeper.
Making forward progress.
Back in mid-April, I jinxed myself. I was totally on top of everything and it was crazy and made me a little nervous. I actually told the VP to whom I report that I was worried about running out of work. He never did anything about that comment because the gods of litigation heard me and sent out a curse.
My inbox flowed over, my voicemail light was constantly on, I felt totally buried.
I've generally been treading water since that happened. Getting things done without getting much further behind, but also not making a real dent in my workload.
Usually, a work trip will help me to dig out a little. I never use internet on the plane, but I am able to load up my last synched email, and I start plowing through messages. Writing out lengthy notes to put in the file, reviewing voluminous records, preparing detailed responses, etc.
But last week's trip ended up so delayed on the flight home that we took off past my usual bedtime and landed in the early morning hours, so instead of working, I slept (since the 70 kids were doing the same).
So I was thrilled yesterday to actually be in the office and feel like I made net progress. Actual forward motion! Woo-hoo!
My unread emails needing attention went from somewhere in the mid-60s to the low 50s. Ahh. No contended sigh, but progress is progress, and at this point, I'll take it!