4 Great Time Saving Tips for Lawyers
As legal professionals in a world that moves exceptionally quick at times, our time is invaluable. When legal clients and task lists stack up, that’s great for business, but knowing how to make time for everything can feel overwhelming. When we feel overwhelmed, it’s harder to focus on what needs to be done and when. This can lead to one, big productivity mess. That’s no good.
How do you avoid that mess? You employ smart productivity habits that also happen to be time saving habits. “Easier said than done,” you may think. Want to know how? Here are 4 great time saving tips for lawyers:
- Make Priorities
To-do lists are great, but to-do lists that are ordered by priority are even better. Figure out what needs to be done now and what can wait a bit. Take turnaround time into consideration, too. If you need to wait for a return phone call or email, don’t fret about the downtime. Don’t sit idle by the computer. Work on something else instead. When we multitask with a loose priority to-do list in the back of our heads, it becomes easier to know when to multitask and when to focus on just one project at a time.
Also, don’t neglect the pleasurable things in life like meeting friends or spending time with your family. Those are definitely priorities, too, and deserve a spot on your list. We all need to take breaks from work now and then.
- Use the Right Tools
When you use the right tools for the task at hand, you can complete that task in record time. In regards to legal tools that save time, nothing comes close to the time saving potential of mobile case management software for law firms and practice management software. Want to ditch those heavy case and client binders? This is how.
Case management tools like Case Pacer allow your legal practice to manage every aspect of a case within one browser-based interface, letting you do everything from look up client info to automatically fill in court documentation, organize discovery information, contact defendants, keep track of case expenses, manage firm-wide appointments, and even export invoices. The best part? It can all be accessed on any type of device.
Other great tools and mobile applications that can save a lawyer time include email tracking extensions for Gmail and Outlook which reduce the need for follow-up emails, mobile contact syncing apps, and legal research tools like Google Scholar.
- Balance Your Tasks
One of the best things about forming priority-based task lists and gradually learning how to multitask with those priorities in mind is the fact that multitasking leads to us becoming better task balancers. Balancing tasks shouldn’t feel like juggling stacks of breakable plates. It should feel entirely natural. When you’re in power, nothing can be shattered.
Hold power over your task lists and feel like you’re in control. When you feel like you’re in control, you gain control. Before taking a new task on, ask yourself if you have time for it. How important is that task? When can you fit it in? How can you balance it with your current task list? Are there other tasks you can shift downward in priority or delegate to someone else while you take on the new task?
Remember to keep your overall career and practice-related goals in mind when accepting new tasks. Will volunteering at that new shelter help you earn a recognition you’ve always wanted? Could engaging on social media more or writing personalized blog content lead to new clients? Individual cases and legal tasks are important, but so are your personal and firm-wide goals. Don’t neglect either, and don’t neglect the learning process. Always be researching online and learning new things.
- Delegate Whenever Possible
Take advantage of paralegals, other office staff members, and interns as often as possible. Ask yourself if a particular task needs to be handled by you, personally, or if you can safely delegate it to someone else. Ask yourself what type and level of expertise is required for each task you take on. Don’t make it a necessity to personally answer the office phone every time it rings, for example. Ask a staff member to screen new calls and clients before referring them to you.
Relatedly, know under what conditions you’re the most productive and make sure you make time for taking advantage of those conditions as often as possible. Do you find you write your best litigation material at a local favorite coffee shop? Make time to head there when you need to by delegating tasks to other staff members.
Now, after you start employing the above tips, developing more of your own will come naturally. Keep asking yourself, “How can I make this easier on myself?” “How can I improve?” Don’t be afraid to try new tech or make investments if they’ll save you time (or money!) in the long run. Time and money are both essential life forces that run the world of business and are connected in many, many ways. A wise goblin might even say, “Time is money, friend,” and they’d be absolutely right.