Time Management for Attorneys – How To Get it All Done
As you probably know, I have nine kids, run a full-time practice, and sit at the helm of Great Legal Marketing, teaching lawyers across the United States and Canada how to build good businesses. How do you I get it all done?
Number one: value and protect your own time fervently. We put locks on our doors, locks on our windows, alarms on our cars – we don’t want people to steal our stuff. So why do we allow someone to walk in our door, call us on the phone, or say, “Ben, I want to pick your brain for a few minutes” and give away the only irreplaceable asset—our time? You’ve got to build barriers around yourself to provide better service to your clients and spend more quality time with your family.
Number two: Many of us were taught to make a to-do list. We prioritize (sort of) and give them red or yellow flags. What you should learn is how to block your time. Once you know what the highest income-producing items on your list are, you want to set an appointment with yourself and say, “In that 45 minutes, I’m going to finish that brief. I’m going to write that ad. I’m going to review those medical records.” And then you want to have something scheduled immediately behind that 45 minutes. This trains your mind to focus on the task at hand, keep everything else out of your mind, and get things done.
What’s neat is when you start this, you will fail. But as you fail, you will be learning how to block your time, how to shield yourself, and how to get more stuff done in a very concentrated way.
Number three: It was magic when I learned this – no unplanned inbound phone calls. Do you work in your office and all of a sudden the little light comes on, and your assistant says, “So and so is on the line,” and you might be right in the middle of writing a brief and really in a good thought process?
And now you’ve been interrupted just so you can say, “Don’t interrupt me.” That shouldn’t be happening. Nobody can get to me at our office without making a firm appointment to call me, where I’m setting aside time and thinking about the call. It also makes the caller set aside time and think about the call, and we both can have a productive meeting.
I guarantee that if you would only implement these three things into your life, you will see an enormous increase in your productivity. Clients will love you for this, not hate you, because it is good for you to work uninterruptedly. I’ve been doing this now for about seven years, with no complaints and a marvelous increase in productivity.
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
by Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.