In running your law firm, do you feel like you’re burning the candle at both ends? Do you feel like the harder you work, the less you get done? You’re not alone—a lot of overworked attorneys share your plight. But the fact that this problem is common doesn’t mean it’s right. Much of your stress and fatigue is likely self-imposed because of bad time management. Learning a few important skills could revolutionize your schedule and revitalize your energy levels in a New York minute.
Why Time Management Is Critical for Lawyers
Consider this: Of all the assets you have to work with, the one thing you can’t get more of is…time. If you’re workload is overwhelming, you can get more employees. If you need more revenue, you can get more clients. If you’re disorganized, you can get more storage and organization tools. But we all get the same amount of time. 24 hours in every day, 7 days in every week—and we have to sleep for some of those hours. You can’t get more time, so the best you can do is find creative ways to manage the time you’ve got more effectively. If you don’t, you’ll eventually fall so far behind that you’ll start making mistakes with your law firm clients—and lawyers can’t afford those kinds of mistakes.
Tips for More Effective Time Management
If time keeps getting away from you, take the following tips to heart and put them into practice:
- Learn to prioritize. No matter how far behind you are, you’ll make better use of the time by always doing the most important tasks first. Lifehack shares a powerful technique by which you take 10 minutes to prioritize at the start of the day and be up to 10 times more productive the rest of the day.
- Learn to delegate. Remember the old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself”? Forget it. That mentality is precisely why you’re so far behind. Instead, replace that mantra with “If you want something done, delegate it.” Train your staff to do it right, then trust them to do it right. Take everything off your own plate that stops you from the priority tasks.
- Implement an organization system that works. One of the most popular and effective time management methods is the Getting Things Done (GTD) technique taught by David Allen in the book by the same name. In a nutshell, this method encourages you to write all your tasks down so your brain doesn’t have to store them, then clarify, organize and prioritize those tasks. You don’t have to use the GTD method per se—there are other great tools out there. Find a method that works for, then put it to work.
- Get the staff on a scheduling/project management platform. You aren’t the only one in the office who needs time management; your entire staff does. Help everyone who collaborates in your office get on the same page with a project management platform like Teamwork, Asana, Microsoft Project or some other app that suits your needs.
Improving your time management will take a little frontloading effort—in other words, you have to use some of your precious time to make a plan. But that time spent will pay huge dividends in greater productivity and reduced stress—and indeed, you will feel like you have more time. Need more help? Call us at (888) 375-2573.