Guest Post – Learn to Save Time by Managing Your Time
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. You’re up at five o’clock sharp and at the office by six. You set your bag down, sit at your desk and hammer out a quick list of the half dozen tasks you need to complete before you go home for the day. With the day planned, you buckle down and get working.
Fast forward to five in the afternoon. The day is all but gone, and you’ve only completed about two and a half of the tasks you had originally intended to accomplish. Sound familiar?
If you’ve been practicing law for more than a week, chances are that the fleeting nature of time is something you’re well acquainted with. I know I am; it seems like the more I have to get done, the less time there is in the day. It’s a battle that I’ve fought since my first year of law school, and to some extent I’m still fighting it to this day. Without an organized method for tracking and rationing your time and effort, you will almost certainly continue to see your productivity drop and your frustrations rise.
Here’s an experiment. Track every minute for a week. Carry a little notepad in your pocket, use the “Notes” app on your phone or download a productivity-booster like Evernote. Beginning when you get to work on Monday morning, update your time log every 10 or 15 minutes with what you’re doing right at that moment. At the end of the week, look at your time log and inventory (i) every activity you engaged in, (ii) the purpose for which you engaged in it, and (iii) how much total time you spent on that activity. Write everything out where you can see your time for the entire week; it might even be helpful to make a chart or a graph. Pinpoint the areas that need improvement, and commit to getting better at time management.
It’s easy to think of our time as something we have an infinite supply of. There’s always tomorrow, right? But think about it this way: You’ve got 120 hours in a normal Monday-to-Friday working week. You ought to be spending about 40 hours sleeping, you’ll probably spend anywhere between 10 and 15 hours in the car, and you need to set aside another 10 to 15 hours for meals and downtime with family and friends. That doesn’t even factor in the mundane tasks that you have to complete just to remain a contributing member of society, and it still leaves you with only 50 to 60 hours to grow your business. That’s really not that much time, and once you’ve used it, it’s gone.
Ultimately, with such a limited inventory, you simply have to know where your time is going. Track it for a week and see. You’ll be surprised at what you’re spending your time on, and knowing will keep you cognizant moving forward.
David has been around civil litigation, in some capacity, for his entire life. While he always knew that he wanted to practice law, he didn't discover his passion for business until he got his first