Time is not our friend. This is the only resource which continues to be depleted and there is no way to replenish it. As of the day I am writing this article, there are approximately one hundred and forty business days left in 2017 and when you take out the last two weeks of the year for the Christmas holidays and the remaining national holidays, there are around one hundred and twenty days left for us to accomplish the financial goals we set out at the beginning of the year. If you are in your own practice, you should feel the sense of urgency and some pressure. How you manage your time for the remaining months will determine whether or not you accomplish your goals. Below are some of the strategies that have worked for me.
1) Manage your time based on priorities
My practice is first and foremost a business. Therefore, high priority is given to new business development and collections. Do you meet clients after hours and collect funds over the weekend? Probably not. Therefore, the activities that will fill the business hours should be tasks that would either generate revenue or can’t be done after the close of business, such as court related matters. Otherwise, the tasks can be delegated or done prior to, or after, the close of business. It is also important to minimize interruptions or meetings during these hours. In my case, I take a 30 minute lunch break and I reserve Fridays for administrative work and catch up. The rest of the week is very structured.
2) Understand when your most productive hours of the day are and schedule appointments accordingly
In my practice, mid-morning and early afternoon time slots are the best times to meet clients and prospective clients. Therefore, that time is blocked in advance to allow the staff to fill in the calendar as needed. Phone calls and emails are returned early morning or later afternoon, or based on other criteria that have been already established. I work on pleadings early mornings and weekends. For me, having quiet time to get the work done is important and allows me to produce better quality work. Find out what works for you and block out time in advance in the schedule.
3) Stay focused
As attorneys, we receive a large volume of communication from many sources (email, texts, calls) at all hours of the day. Develop a plan on how the communication will flow through your office and eventually to you. Also, track your progress on a daily basis. I keep track of my sales and collection activity on a daily basis and this allows me to monitor my progress and areas that I need to improve on. The goal is to achieve daily sales and revenue collected.
4) Plan your week/day
Planning is an essential component for your practice. I spend a few hours a week going over my weekly plan and reviewing all my cases, leads and pending matters. As I develop the list of tasks, the list gets revised a few times until I feel that I’ve covered all the bases in connection with my goals. This process allows me to memorize what needs to get done during the week and stay focused. I do this during the weekend before the beginning of the next week.
Preparing for growth
As you grow your practice, the demands on your time will increase and with that more pressure. By establishing a “time management system,” it will allow you to prioritize the demands and yield higher revenues from the business day. Remember that your results will be directly proportional to your planning, time management and execution. Stay Focused!