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Time Management

It is sometimes difficult to find time to get everything done in a law firm when you're wearing a lot of different hats and taking on many different roles. It is not only frustrating but it can feel very stressful, especially when you feel like you are going from wearing one hat to another and nothing ever gets crossed off your list.

The key is to manage your time by setting goals, planning activities and . . . trusting others to complete tasks. Remember, just because you CAN do something, does not mean that you should. Keep in mind that tasks are often best left to the most competent but least expensive person.

1. When it comes to time management, work to accomplish the small, short-term goals first. By breaking down your goals for each day you can set a target. SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) will help you accomplish your goals.

2. Create a plan that will help you, your employees and virtual assistant complete smaller goals, leading to a path of completing larger goals. Communicate your plans and goals with your employees. You cannot operate in a vacuum. They need to know what the goals are and the path where you are heading. 3. It seems like there is an app for EVERYTHING – and there are time management and productivity systems, including specific software, online apps, and even overall philosophies. It really does not matter what system or approach you use, only that it's something that you buy into, understand fully and keep up with.

4. Accomplish the most important tasks first thing in the morning.

5. High priority tasks sometimes require concentration. Turn off your phone while concentrating on these tasks. It will allow you to focus with the least amount of interruption and it will be accomplished quicker with less interruptions.

6. Multi-tasking is a phrase that is over-used and over-appreciated. If you avoid multi-tasking, you will get high-priority tasks done quicker.

7. When you are in the throes of something that is urgent, it does not seem like taking a break and walking away for a few minutes is a good idea. After all that is just wasted time that could be devoted to your project, right? Actually – no. Sometimes a few minutes break to clear your mind is just what you need to return to the task at hand.

8. Make sure you track your time as you go along, and not once a week or once a month. It will be much more efficient and you will more accurately track your time. This ensures that your firm is compensated (or in the case of a flat fee keep track of the time because you never know).

9. Make sure you delegate tasks to the least expensive, most competent person.

10. Plan ahead for your time and start each day with the tasks that you want to complete. You will get a sense of order without feeling like everything is just waiting to get done with no sense of direction.

The hardest part of time management is sticking with the plan. Make yourself do the tasks that you planned to do. Some days you won’t accomplish anything. If your time management plan is not working for you, change it.

Some people find that they are most productive first thing in the morning. Some people prefer doing their important work mid-day when their momentum is full-throttle, and still, others are night owls who leave the most important work for the end of the day when ideas and concepts have had time to settle.

You can cut down on the time it takes you to complete your work by identifying when you work best, are most productive, and plan your most important work for that time. Time tracking with a dedicated time tracking tool can be an excellent way to manage time, even when you don't need to track your time spent on the client or billable work.

Again, delegation is a good thing!! Remember too that there is nothing wrong with assigning tasks to someone else. Like most attorneys, there is more on your plate than you can handle. Determine what tasks do not require your personal touch and pass those on to others. An hour spent on any administrative task is an hour that is not spent billing a client. Identify the person who can perform the tasks and get those things off of your plate.

We all know that it is not easy to delegate tasks to someone else, especially when you are used to doing everything yourself.

But remember, delegation enables you to grow and expand, and, spend time either working client files or spending more time with your family. Find the right person(s) to delegate tasks to and you will find that you suddenly have more time – and less worry.

Need more time? I can help with that!

Call me at 813-340-9569 for a free consultation.

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