“Deluge of information” flows downhill
ABAJournal.com posts on a Law.com article with suggestions on how attorneys can “streamline the flow” of information deluging them each day, especially information delivered electronically. One of the suggestions is to delegate initial email reading to others. And who in the office can be trusted with the confidentiality issues while exercising sound judgment, knowledge of law and understanding of both office and legal process?
Shifting of initial attorney email reading to paralegals makes sense, but only if it is not going to overload and overwhelm the paralegal. Doing so will only pass the deluge down to the paralegal who, one presumes was fully occupied already. Of course, a deluge rolls down hill, so perhaps the paralegal will shift initial reading of their email down that hill! I prefer the use of email rules and other technological solutions before simple task shifting.
I also prefer some of the other suggestions of the Law.com article better. Suggestions such as eliminating unnecessary information flow at its source. And I certainly agree that a team approach to solving the information overload problem is best (although the article using the team approach in a different context than I intend here.)
In The Empowered Paralegal I focus on eliminating and controlling not only information overflow but other distraction based on my conclusion that multi-taskers, even young multi-taskers, really do not work as well as uni-taskers, and certainly not as well as multi-taskers think they work. So, it is nice to find some confirmation of this in the Law.com article:
A recent study of 100 students concluded that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time. The heavy multi-taskers couldn’t help thinking about the tasks they weren’t doing. These high multi-taskers are always drawing from all the information in front of them. They can’t keep things separate in their minds. One researcher reportedly stated that heavy multi-taskers are “suckers for irrelevancy. Everything distracts them.”
Thus, my goal of having only one file on the desk at a time. If you can stand a bit more information check out the Law.comarticle for more tips on controlling electronic information deluge.