As an attorney, often the most difficult opponent you face is not the opposing counsel, but time itself. At one point or another, it is almost guaranteed that you will wish you had more time in the day. Being an attorney is demanding, and while most professions enjoy their eight-hour workdays, those are the exception for you. Thankfully, there are ways to make the time you do have more effective without extending the day. This includes time management, task management, and personal management.
Everybody is different, so there is no generic go-to method for effective time management. However, there are building blocks that will help you find the best way to manage your time. The first building block is to analyze how you spend your day. Take note of what you spend the most time on and what you need to spend more time on. Use that as a place to start. Then, organization is key. Make task lists, and then even a to-do list for each task can help. Bite the bullet and get the most important task done first, or whatever work you need done on it first, and then move on from there.
It is easy to let administrative tasks like phone calls, emails, and social media get in the way of the completion of your bigger, more daunting (and important) tasks. One way to combat this is to set aside a certain amount of time to get one assignment or project done. During that time, only do work that relates to that task and do not let other tasks or interruptions distract from it. Another task management tip is to delegate work. If you have an assistant or clerk that you are able to give work to, do not hesitate to give them tasks that they can do and you trust them with. It is important to separate what you have to do yourself and what others can do for you. Finally, set aside a time block for emails, phone calls, and social media. Instead of tackling them as they come in, unless urgent or of high importance, group the three together as a task of its own and get the majority of that type of work done in that period.
Sometimes, work can get to a point where there is so much, you put it before your own personal needs. One of the most important things you can do to improve your day is to take a break. Make sure that you eat. Refuel your mind and body so that they both have enough energy and endurance to give your tasks the attention they need. If you do not get up from your desk or workspace all day, your mind will burn out and your work will see the negative effects of that.
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