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How To Schedule Your Day | Time Management for Lawyers

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Founding Member of Moshes Law, P.C.
During his years of practice, Yuriy has concentrated in litigation and real estate transactions as his areas of expertise.

Being a lawyer can be tough, especially when you feel like there is never enough time in the day to get everything done. We are here to help with simple, easy time management tips that can help. 

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    Week Scheduling Starts With Each Day

    Good time management can help even the most stressed lawyer in the world feel more cool, calm, and collected and be more efficient. Every attorney at some point, regardless of the size of the firm in which they work, has felt stressed about their schedule and all the tasks and due dates that quickly pile up on the calendar. As a lawyer, your schedule can fill up quickly. With the right time-management techniques though, even the busiest attorneys can make more effective use of their time and be a better practitioner. Don’t want to spend hours just thinking about how to better manage your time? Thankfully, good time management for lawyers can be very simple, and it begins with making small changes each day. As fellow attorneys, here are some tips that our attorneys at the Law Offices of Yuriy Moshes have found to be extremely helpful.

    How to Schedule Your Day

    Better time management begins with taking a look at how you spend your time each day. Often, attorneys feel that they waste many hours each week working on projects and tasks that are not profitable and are not a good use of their time. Scheduling simple blocks of time for specific types of tasks can help you make sure your time is spent wisely. 

    Legal time management

    Most attorneys find that they are much more productive when they can focus on important tasks and devote uninterrupted time focusing on the things that are most important in their work. To have more time for important matters, try scheduling your time each day so that each hour, or thirty-minute interval is focused on only one task. For example:

    • 8:00–9:00 AM: Email and Phone Call Follow Up 
    • 9:00–10:30 AM: Client Consultations
    • 10:30 AM–12:30 PM: Drafting & Research
    • 12:30–1:00 PM: Lunch
    • 1:00–2:00 PM: Meetings and Phone Calls with Business Associates
    • 2:00–3:30 PM:  Reviewing Documents Before Filing/Sending
    • 3:30–4:00 PM: Sending/Filing Documents
    • 4:00–5:00 PM: Delegating Tasks 

    By organizing your day in advance and only setting aside time for specific tasks, you will quickly see an improvement in your ability to complete projects efficiently and effectively. Often, the practice of law involves juggling a lot of different things all at one. 

    However, we as humans are much better at focusing on a single task at a time, rather than trying to constantly devote our attention to numerous things at once. Does it seem impossible to set aside just a small amount of time for responding to emails and phone calls? How many of your emails and calls require your immediate attention, and how many could really be handled by a paralegal, intern, or another person? Better yet, how many of those messages could you simply respond to later? 

    The same goes for your other tasks and projects, too. We often want to take care of everything as soon as it comes to our attention, but our attention is typically better focused on one task at a time.  Scheduling your time carefully also can be very helpful for young lawyers fresh out of law school, since law school typically provides a more regimented schedule than the typical work day where you decide how you will be spending your time. 

    How to Fight Legal Time Management Hardships

    In addition to scheduling your time wisely and focusing on one task at a time, there are many other techniques you can implement that will automatically have an impact on your stress levels. The best part is that effective time management really does not have to be complicated, as seen through the tips below. Start implementing these simple techniques now and your work-life balance will thank you. 

    Start With The Hardest Task

    When we have a difficult or undesirable task to complete, it is easy to put that task off or to procrastinate and avoid doing that task so that we can avoid difficulty until later. If we instead start off the day by completing the difficult task first, our entire day changes. By starting with the more difficult task, you relieve the pressure and the looming sense of dread that comes with saving the undesirable task for later

    Set Priorities for Your To-Do List

    Organizing your time and scheduling uninterrupted time for specific tasks also helps you prioritize what is important on your to-do list. When we allow phone calls, emails, and other random things to interrupt our focus, we sacrifice the quality of our work. Prioritize your tasks and be sure to truly keep the uninterrupted time for the things that matter most. 

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      Consider the Pareto Principle

      We only have so much that our brain can handle in a given day. Each time you devote your entire focus to something, you lose the time and ability to devote your full attention to other important tasks. And, not everything we do requires 100% of your focus. Some tasks hardly require or deserve your attention at all. For example, a brief may require your complete attention, whereas an email to a colleague on the status of a case does not require you to draft the language to perfection. Think about where you are spending your time and energy and make sure you are devoting the bulk of your focus on the most important tasks. In the long run, implementing this technique will help you accomplish both your short term and long term goals with less effort. 

      Delegate Your Tasks

      Delegate, delegate, delegate. Your time is money, and some things just are not worth your time. Some people find it very difficult to let go of control and trust others to complete tasks. Ultimately, doing everything yourself just is not feasible, though. Try tracking your time for an entire week, including your non-billable hours. Then, go back and look at what you spent your time doing and really think about how many of those tasks you can delegate to other people. 

      Avoid the Phone

      The phone is not necessarily your friend. When do you do your best work? When you have no interruptions. The phone (especially your cell phone with its various social media platforms) is not going to help you write that brief or review that contract. When you are blocking out time on your daily schedule, be sure to also block time during which you can eliminate the distraction of your office phone or cell phone.

      Often, the phone is a time waster. While you may not be able to completely set aside your office phone, you can at least make it clear to others that you do not take calls during certain periods of time.

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