The legal services industry has always been famous for its intense workload and strict time management. The existence of such thing as billable hours in law is already quite substantive evidence supporting this view. But in 2020, where everybody is multitasking and hailing productivity, lawyers might have trouble managing both the internal work ethics of law and external pressure of the modern pace of life. Here are some of the common time management mistakes so you can recognize and fix them.
1. Being a perfectionist at everything
Being a legal professional means you were trained to search for tiniest imperfections and make sure everything is risk-free. This is a great lagal skill, but it makes for a poor overall working (and living) strategy. Some imperfections are unavoidable, and others are just not worth your time, especially if you have more important things to do. You are going to have to accept these simple truths and manage your time according to priorities, size of the tasks, and urgency — because that’s how you can get more results.
2. Failing to delegate
Another common time management mistake for lawyers is fear of delegating tasks. Legal professionals usually take everything on themselves and them burn along with the deadlines. If you are working on a case that you know from start to end, it’s hard to imagine someone else could be a match for this job. However, they don’t have to be as good as you. They just need to be good enough, so that you can go on to something more urgent or in need of your expertise. Finely tuned tasks that you can overview sound much better that you pulling off dozens of clients all at the same time and wondering whether you are going to make it.
3. Not using technology to boost efficiency
Legal services industry is known for its conservatism — both in life and at work. It’s mostly just a stereotype, but one part of it is quite true — legal firms don’t trust modern technology. Many lawyers and paralegals out there are stuck with old-fashioned software that brings more pain than benefit. We’re not saying you should risk everything and re-think your working routine, but there are many small tools that can be easily adopted into your work routine and boost your productivity. For instance, we made Loio, our contract review add-in for Microsoft Word, just for that.
4. Always getting interrupted
Lawyers are born people-pleasers. They want to help and make sure every party is satisfied and good to go. This is a great professional bias, but it might run amock if you let everybody distract you from work. How long has it been since you could sit for hours just doing your research or paperwork without gettin any calls, emails or questions/requests from colleagues? Probably quite a long time ago. If you want to make sure your working time is used efficiently, try to dedicate at least some time to working on your tasks with zero interruptions. Regularly dedicate yourself to monotasking — and you’ll see how relaxed and focused you can be.
Not everybody can afford to follow the advice, especially in these times of uncertainty. However, at least you can recognize whether you have these issues or not. Knowing is half the battle, even if it’s a battle for your own time.