Managing time effectively is essential for any lawyer to be successful. Lawyers often find themselves juggling multiple clients, deadlines, and meetings, and it can very easily become overwhelming. Here are three tips and specific strategies that lawyers can use for effective time management for lawyers:
Prioritize and Delegate Tasks
One of the most difficult aspects in day-to-day operations for lawyers is managing multiple time-sensitive, actionable items. Start by identifying the most important tasks that need to be done for that particular day and prioritize these tasks based on their urgency and importance. The obvious thing is to focus on completing the most critical tasks first, however when looking at all tasks on the whole, delegation may be critical in order to weather those tasks. By delegating some of the less critical tasks you are able to free up your time to focus on the more critical tasks. Another crucial note when making delegation decisions is to make sure you are delegating tasks to someone who has the necessary skills and experience; you may find certain team members are more adapt at marketing, communicating with clients, or other areas of use.
Create a Schedule and Set Realistic Goals
With so many tasks to prioritize and delegate, creating a schedule, or maintaining a day-to-day calendar, including specific times for tasks and meetings will be important. This can help you stay on track and avoid wasting time as well as having a backup and reminders set for those more critical tasks. When planning out into the future it is crucial to set realistic timelines and goals. Setting more realistic goals can help you stay focused and motivated and will also make sure that those goals are achievable. Avoid overcommitting and burning yourself out and try to give yourself or delegate enough time to complete each task thoroughly.
Use Technology and Avoid Distractions
As mentioned above, there are many tools available to help lawyers manage their time effectively. Technology can help cut costs as well as provide efficiency when dealing with time management, for example you can use time-tracking and project management software, task or employee management tools for streamlining delegation, and scheduling apps to set reminders, send messages to other parties, and stay organized and on track. This leads to another important overall piece of advice: Avoid distractions! With introducing new technology to your law firm, and delegating tasks to others, Lawyers can be bombarded with interruptions and distractions. Be mindful of what distractions are most prevalent in your life and minimize them to the best of your ability: turn off notifications, close the door if in high traffic office areas, and avoid over-checking your email constantly.
Effective time management can seem daunting, but it is easier than it appears. Using the tips above will be a great start to getting the chaotic daily schedules of lawyers under control and manage time effectively. One last tip I will leave for you is to make sure to breath and take breaks. This will help avoid burnout and can increase focus when you begin to feel overwhelmed.