How do you effectively manage your time? Is there a perfect method? Your job is demanding with long hours being regularly the norm, linked to demands from clients, partners and associates alike. In order to keep up with a seeming never ending demand – time management is imperative.
- Prioritise your time
In an ever changing market like Legal, many factors can disrupt the norm and you need to be adaptable to change in their schedule. Is your list of tasks to do today realistic? Is there room if a new case takes priority? Give more attention to billable work and allocate certain hours for administrative work. Whilst both are very important, Tips for Lawyers recommends setting times or blocks of time to do both will assist with your time management and ensure you don’t fall behind or get distracted and have time if something more urgent pops up.
- Keep a portion of your day flexible
Having a set list of tasks to get through is a great way to start the day, however what happens when other tasks (previously unseen) pop up and you are not able to finish all those tasks. If your other tasks are on timers (billable or non-billable work), there will be spots in your day and schedule in which you can slot other personal or business tasks within. Life happens and you cannot plan for all of it, you can just be prepared.
- Keep energy levels optimal
You cannot give 100% to every person and case if you are exhausted. It’s important to be on top of how you spend your day, what you tend to prioritise, when you start to procrastinate by looking at your day plan or looking over the past week. “Resilience is not innate, but a learnt competence” How to prevent burnout in the Legal Profession. What time works best for you to be the best version of yourself? You can’t burn the candle at both ends and expect the best results.
- Turn off social media
A lot of us use social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook… etc.) for business related purposes as well as personal. However, it can become a huge distraction in your everyday life. Do you have set tasks that you need to get through? How to stay focused on your creative tasks – and off social media suggests that putting a timer on your browser when you do decide to allocate time to social media such as twitter and facebook so you do not exceed this and engage in time wasting techniques. Try not to task switch and stick to what you have to do first.
- Take breaks
You are not a machine. Even though you are sitting down for 8 hours with no breaks does not mean you will get more qualitative work done than someone who has 3 small breaks within those 8 hours. It is very important for our health and mindset to ensure that your head is at its peak performance. One of the best breaks would be a coffee amongst peers finds The Well Being Thesis as it allows you to relate your experience and shows a positive association afterwards.
- Are you engaging in time wasting activities?
Set a task and stick to it. Very few people enjoy being micromanaged and therefore if you say you are going to be available at a certain time or call someone on a particular day, hold yourself accountable! Try not to procrastinate or task switch. Psychology today found that even if you spend 1/10th of a second switching tasks that amounts to a loss of up to 40% productivity, especially if you are trying to tackle a large amount of tasks simultaneously.
- Be open to new ideas and change
Some people can be really productive when they work from home. Others cannot. Whilst staying home does make it easier to take breaks away from what may be perceived as prying eyes, what percentage of your time are you spending productive? Conversely Marylène Gagné Ph.D. from Psychology Today states that over two thirds of the employees they surveyed maintained that they had retained the same sense of productivity if not more by not having to commute to and from work.
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