All or most of these activities come with the job of being a lawyer. But we also need time to think and get work done. If you’re looking for answers, consider the following strategies.
Six Steps to Becoming a More Productive Lawyer
Set aside specific time during the day to respond to communications. Don’t allow the rings, dings, and beeps of technology to constantly interrupt your concentration. Check emails, calls, and texts when you arrive and before the end of the day. If a lunch-time check is feasible (or necessary in your opinion), add it in.
On days when your schedule won’t allow for check-ins, set up appropriate auto-replies to manage client expectations. If you have staff, let them screen and manage incoming requests. If you’re going to be gone for an extended period, inform clients beforehand.
Identify your most productive time of day and use it to do legal work. Schedule meetings during “down” time and inform staff of your preference (and when they can break the rules).
Set boundaries for using the Internet if you find that you spend too much time browsing, shopping, or looking at social media. Consider deleting cookies, logins, and bookmarks for pages that eat away at productive time.
Once a quarter, block out one week with no meetings so you can catch up. Don’t wait. Choose for weeks now. Use the time to clean up your desk and workspace, go through your to do list, attend to filing, scanning, or closing files – whatever you’ve been putting off. If you’re caught up, enjoy the uninterrupted time.
Delegate or outsource as much as you can, when you can, so you can focus on the tasks that only you can do. Billable time is precious and should be maximized doing billable work.
There’s free help for that.
If you, or someone you care about, is feeling overwhelmed by stress, contact the Oregon Attorney Assistance Program (OAAP).
OAAP attorney counselors can help you explore ways to reduce your stress, manage your time, and achieve a healthier work-life balance. If needed, they can also refer you to other health professionals to make sure you get the help you need. All contact with the OAAP is confidential.
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