Managing time is challenging but it follows a very simple process, especially time management for attorneys. Time management is a concept understood by most attorneys, but mastered by few.
Attorneys can sometimes feel like they’re constantly working overtime. Even if they work more hours in a day, they don’t seem to be as productive as they planned to.
They are the first ones up in the morning and the last ones to go to bed at night, and yet they still might feel unproductive.
The question is – is time management for attorneys as difficult as it seems to be?
I would have to say – not at all! It just takes dedication.
With better time management skills, you can accomplish more in a shorter amount of time and have more time for your personal activities. It is a somewhat common knowledge that attorneys work very long hours, and can sometimes reach the point of exhaustion.
This article will provide great tips on time management for attorneys who want to know how to be more productive in a shorter amount of time.
Time Management for Attorneys Begins With Proper Planning
Right before you sleep, you should write down what you want to get done the following day. Not only will you sleep better with the peace of mind that you won’t forget anything, but you’ll be able to structure your hours according to the difficulty of each task on your list.
I would advise that you stay away from electrical-modern organizers. I think that this is something that technology cannot replace. When you write your daily agenda down on a piece of paper, you will get the great satisfaction of crossing each item off the list after completing each task!
When you keep handwritten to-do lists, you’ll notice that you’re not only becoming a great time tracker, but you’ll be in a competition with yourself to get to the next task on your list as quickly as you can.
Another benefit of writing your agenda the night before is you can visualize exactly how your day is going to be. Planning is key! When the following day arrives, every task on the list will be familiar to you and far less overwhelming.
“One hour of planning will save 10 hours of doing.”
Become A Better Time Tracker
Always keep your eye on the clock and set reminders. If you must, wear a watch and set an alarm. This will allow you to always meet deadlines that you’ve given to yourself. If you don’t keep your eyes on the clock, some tasks can potentially steal time that is dedicated to other tasks.
By always being reminded of your next task, you can make sure that you finish every task on your to-do list by the end of the day.
When you are preparing your to-do lists, be realistic with how much time each item on your list will take. To become a better tracker of your time, you must keep in mind that our minds do not work at full-throttle 100% every second of the day.
We are not machines. Consider taking moments to relax and recover your mind so that you can function throughout the day.
Benjamin Franklin Method – Effective Strategy of Time Management for Attorneys
Use the Ben Franklin method and split your day into 4 days. If you are awake for 18 hours in a day, then split those hours into segments of 4.5 hours. You can then focus each segment on one task or group of tasks.
Like most ambitious people, legal professionals have a habit of cramming a week’s worth of work in one day. This approach can help you cut your day into smaller segments, which will help you measure exactly how much you can get done.
Most importantly, by living by this schedule, you are subconsciously forcing yourself to not waste any time.
Group similar tasks together to Improve Time Management
Multitasking is effective only when the tasks are similar to each other. For example, you can respond to people’s emails (assuming that it is not urgent) while you are on your lunch break.
This tip on time management for attorneys is to remind you to group certain activities together and do them simultaneously. This will help you save a ton of valuable time that could be used on more important activities.
Wake up earlier than you need to
If you usually have to wake up at 7 to make it the office at 8, then learn to wake up even earlier – between 5 AM – 6 AM.
The reason for this is that you will get a head start on the day. While everyone else is still asleep and the city’s quiet, you can dedicate this part of the day to work on the most important tasks on your list.
Especially for lawyers, who barely have time during the day to spend time with family, time management becomes much easier when you can knock a few things off your agenda early in the morning.
Strategize Timing of Tasks to Improve Time Management for Attorneys
I am sure you understand your own energy cycles and your work ethic. You know exactly when your energy spikes and when it crashes. Use this data to your advantage!
If you have important tasks that require a lot of brain power and creativity, then don’t schedule those tasks after lunch when you’re in a full-blown food coma.
I would advise that you do the most important tasks that involve brain power first. And depending on your morning routine, you can complete those important tasks during the extra hours you get early in the morning.
It’s safe to say that this step is one of the most crucial tips for proper time management for attorneys.
Create a Mid-Day Routine to Revamp Your Energy
If you’ve ever experienced midday fatigue, then you owe it to yourself to develop your own personal method to revamp your energy.
Here is a list of great ways to beat midday fatigue, which will significantly improve time management for attorneys.
Maybe you can do 10 minutes of deep breathing exercises outside, followed by 3-minute exercise to get your heart rate up, then wash your face with cold water. Don’t forget to drink some cold water to rehydrate.
1-Hour Mental Sprinting, followed by 10-Minute Relaxation
Work with 1 hour of intense focus and speed, followed with 10 minutes of relaxation. The 1 hour of focus will result in a spike in your energy and concentration, which will allow you to be more productive.
After an hour of mental sprinting, you can relax and empty your mind for 10 minutes by meditating or doing mindless work, and then repeat the cycle.
This will lower your brain activity so that you can recover a little bit and not burn out. Most attorneys are familiar with mental exhaustion and how frustrating it can be.
Work without exhaustion by giving your brain some time to recharge.
Distractions Are Silent Killers Of Time Management For Attorneys
Our generation has given us magnificent tools and resources to increase our productivity. Unfortunately, it has also crippled us with an overload of distractions with social media apps, texting, and unlimited internet surfing.
If you want to be completely focused on your tasks, stay away from your cellphone! Checking Facebook, Instagram, can text messages can take away a massive chunk of your time and your focus.
One of the most important prerequisites for improving time management is know how to eliminate distractions. Dedicate certain hours for checking your emails, texts, and social media accounts.
Say “No” To Favors On Your Busiest Days
There is no need to elaborate more on this piece of advice. In the legal profession, time is a precious little snowflake that disappears with a blink of an eye.
Sometimes, even doing only one favor can throw you out of your schedule. Time management is already a challenge for lawyers as it is. So avoid doing favors for others when you already have plenty of important urgent tasks on your agenda.
Even the smallest favor can make you lose your productive streak. If you’re going to do any favors for others, do them after you have done the important tasks on your daily agenda.
In Conclusion – Better Time Management for Attorneys
Turn these tips into habits. Make sure you take brief notes about what we discussed here today. Keep a list of these tips on time management for attorneys and review it several times a week. The more you practice these tips, the sooner they will become habits. By turning even one of these tips into a habit, you will see a tremendous change in your productivity.