Beating the Clock: Time Management Tips for Attorneys
Time is of the essence. According to ABC News, Americans spend too much time burning the candle at both ends. We spend more time at the office in sharp contrast to our counterparts: the UK; France; Germany; Norway and quite surprisingly Japan. American workers top the list of least vacation days taken, longer hours, and and a rocky road to the promise land of retirement. American attorneys are not exempt.
In a recent article by Paul H. Burton, posted to the American Bar Association, there are five simple steps that can not only increase productivity but add a few extra ticks to the mindful eye of the clock. Burton suggests that implementing these tips can improve time management, break unhealthy work habits and just may get you home by dinnertime.
Scheduling a Meeting to Discuss Next Week’s Meeting
Before scheduling a meeting of the minds take a moment to determine if it is necessary. Will it increase or further derail productivity? Are other projects behind schedule? Burton proposes this time saver tip. If your firm is accustomed to weekly meetings perhaps a bi-weekly meeting would prove more effective. If not possible, perhaps decreasing the length of the meeting would suffice.
Avoiding Back to Back Meetings
Attorneys and clients will always require meetings. To save time and energy, Burton suggests avoiding stacking meetings. Running from conference room to conference room looking at your watch is not an effective means of time management. Leave at least a 15 minute window open between meetings. This permits you time to switch gears. Use these minutes wisely to jot down notes from the first meeting and then focus on the next. This can also decrease your mental exhaustion and improve overall effectiveness.
Coach Your Team
If you are the lead on a project, become the team’s coach and avoid becoming an instructor. Delegate responsibilities, your team can handle it. Rely on their abilities to reach your desired goal. Burton suggests that by doing so you will be able to decrease micro-managing tendencies and provides more time to deal with the projects on your own desk.
Clear Your Desk
Take a few minutes to prioritize your desk. By becoming a bit more organized you will be surprised as to how much time you will gain. Burton believes, contrary to popular opinion, that single-tasking is much more efficient than multi-tasking. Maintaining a clear work area allows you to focus and resolve tasks at hand. Prioritize and clear one item at a time.
Take a Personal Inventory
Burton strongly suggests taking a personal inventory of your current workload at least two times per day. Take a few minutes each morning to assess your workload and before leaving in the evening spend at least five minutes prioritizing the next day’s workload. Burton states that this step will save you time by prioritizing your daily work schedule. To further prioritize your workload avoid the temptation to immediately review and respond to your emails. It is more productive to allot a certain amount of time to tackle any issue found in your electronic mail.
By implementing these five simple steps you may just notice a new and improved version of yourself. Keep at it, old habits are hard to break. As an experienced attorney you have been accustomed to endless meetings, imposed deadlines and rushing to beat the clock
You incorporated these five simple steps into your daily schedule and appreciate your ability to adjust by working smarter and not harder. You just completed reviewing your agenda for the next morning and at 5:05 pm you are heading out the door to join the family for dinner but you just broke a cardinal tip, you checked your email before closing up shop for the evening. Congratulations, the managing partners are impressed with your work ethic and time management skills, so impressed that you are now the team leader for the firm’s social media marketing campaign. You glance at your clean desk, manage a small smile as you click to accept your new challenge and then added it to your “to-do” list. Tomorrow is another day and dinner is waiting.
Tackling a well-rounded social media marketing campaign can be time consuming. To keep your schedule under control, consider contacting an online marketing firm experienced with coaching the legal industry on the benefits of social media marketing.
Greg Wildman is the President of OVC, INC. Since 1999, Greg has developed hundreds of websites for attorneys from his company’s inception as Online Video Concepts, LLC to the modern era’s OVC, INC. Greg’s knowledge of law firm marketing has helped many law firms establish online presences through custom website development, Search Engine Optimization, legal directory partnerships, social media marketing, content writing and more.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.