Thursday, September 20, 2012

Forget what you did today? 3 habits every lawyer should have.

“I was really busy last week and I got a lot done, but I have no idea what it was.”

Clock with wings

Happens all the time.
Put a few habits into place over the next couple of weeks so you start the new month feeling more “in control”. Own your choices of how you spend your time and you’ll start making better ones.

Here are three habits that give you a good place to start. I cheated a little, you’ll see a couple of things rolled into one habit, but hey- it’s hard to choose just three habits for such an important topic.
  1. Plan ahead. Schedule a weekly planning session to review the work you need to calendar forward as well as work you have already scheduled for the upcoming week. Before you leave your office for the weekend, have a plan in place. Know what next week looks like and you’ll stress less about work over the weekend. 

  2. Don’t just calendar deadlines and appointments. Calendar blocks of time to do work. If your schedule is mostly white space, you may think you have more time than you actually do. Your calendar needs to reflect the chunks of time that are already implicitly committed to the work you have to do to meet deadlines and obligations. Start by blocking out the amount of time you need for client work, so you can see what you have left over for firm management and marketing. 

  3. Use your calendar. Look at it throughout the day. Keep your time. Note what you work on during the day. Whether you update your calendar application or make notes on a yellow pad, keep a running list of where your time is actually going.  Use that list to see where you can make better choices. At the end of every day, have a plan for the next one. Set yourself up to walk in the office and start your morning work routine efficiently.
As a whole, what you’re doing is something I call “connecting with your calendar”. The point with time management is to have a good idea at any time, of how much time is already booked on your calendar.

You want to match the work you have to do- whether it’s for clients or your firm- to the actual time you have available. It isn’t easy. Start doing these three things now. I guarantee you won’t be perfect, but you get to start over every day!

Pay attention to what you choose to do. Connect to your calendar. I promise you’ll find more time.