Time Management For Solicitors
- Datalaw Admin
- Jun 6, 2019
- 0 comment(s)
The legal profession is a very busy vocation; this will demand that you develop time management skills that will enable you to face challenges in your business and handle different tasks. There are tips or strategies as a solicitor that you can inculcate into your daily operations to organise your time while in and out of your chamber. In this article, you will learn some of these strategies.
Never open your inbox or check emails first thing in the morning!
Take at least a half hour to get grounded and organize your day before you read your emails.
If you check emails before you set up the goals for your day, you might wander off into cyberspace, glance up at your clock and discover that it is time for lunch!
Get Organized at the beginning of each week before you see clients or take calls
Schedule time every (or all day) Monday to set up your week before you begin taking client calls or attending meetings. If you have a regularly scheduled Monday morning meeting, come in early before the meeting time to plan your goals and get organized. Remember, Abe Lincoln's philosophy "one hour of preparation saves me three hours of perspiration!"
Take time to organize at the beginning of each day before you begin reacting
Set aside time every morning to look over schedule and intentions before you start with meetings, emails, calls etc. Doing this will provide you with a clear vision of what you wish to accomplish throughout the day.
Create an email signature that announces your new email availability
For instance, "In order to better serve my clients, I check emails only twice a day. If this matter is urgent please call xxx.xxx.xxxx otherwise I will get back with you within 24 hours."
Stop reacting, without thinking, to other people's fires
Do not react quickly to problems that are not yours. Slow down before you jump into a mess to see what priorities you will have to set aside to help the person in distress. If you have organized your week in advance, you will know what you will have to bump on your agenda to help out.
Decide what scheduling device you will use and use only one
Do not keep multiple calendars, use one for both business and personal appointments. Commit to either online or offline scheduling, recording your schedule on computer and paper will lead to chaos.
Set up a proper action file system so your papers will flow in and out of your office
Store vertically according to the type of action required.
Action items usually include: calls to make, bills to pay, current projects, pending, data entry, upcoming events, etc.
Use hanging files on rails for your paper archives
Piles will not serve you long term.
Manila folders in a drawer have no support and tumble together, use hanging rails.
Make sure to use the file tabs that attach to your folders, don't spend minutes trying to search through unmarked files.
Subdivide large files with manila folders. If you have more than 50 sheets in your folder, consider subdividing to make it easier to locate the paper you need.
Keep only one project at a time open on your desk
When a client calls, take a moment to put away your other client folder. This will help avoid confusion and distraction so you can better focus fully on that client.
Clear off your desk surface at the end of each day and wipe off the dust
Spend time at the end of each workday to organize all unfinished projects. In the morning, you will be better able to attack and complete your goals for the day with less distraction.
Protect the million pounds real estate in your office, otherwise known as your circle of influence
Keep only the essential items you use every day on your desktop.
Organize your workspace so all tools are within arms reach including file drawers, printer, etc.
Do not waste time getting up to retrieve what you use on a daily basis.
Don't Procrastinate At Work
Procrastination is where you put off or delay a task by distracting yourself with something else. There is usually another reason why you're not doing the task that should be done. In many cases, the hardest part about getting a task done is actually starting it. If you can work out the first step of doing a task, that goes a long way to getting it done. There's no reason to keep delaying it - it will most likely have to get done anyway.
Delaying the task because it's not a priority is something else - you are working but have higher priority work to do. This is perfectly valid. Procrastination is actually avoiding a task that needs to be done. It can be a real killer to the time in your day!
Delegate Some Of Your Work To Others
Another suggestion on how to improve your time management is to delegate some of your work to others. This depends on your current position and what kind of work you do, but essentially you don't need to do everything yourself. You may have others under you or partners who can help you do some of the work that you need to do. Some things to consider when delegating work to others are:
- If they actually have the skills or knowledge to do the work
- If it takes less time to explain the task than for you to do it yourself
- If the other person can get it done before it needs to be done
Delegating work to others is a good way to spread the workload and to improve your time management as a solicitor.