The famous President Abe Lincoln once said: “Give me five hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”
Here are three vital steps that will help you accomplish more work by doing less.
1. Make Space For Quiet Time
You need to create segments in your workday for some quiet time and real peace. Many lawyers lead busy lives that are now even further accelerated with the use of text, email, and chats. The number of daily interruptions and expectations of immediate response have increased.
But engaging in legal work still needs serious concentration and a lot of heavy-duty thinking. You would be amazed at your work results if you reduce the interruptions and cut your online duties by at least one-third or more.
It will require tremendous discipline to accomplish this. Your staff and clients will also need some training because you have trained them to think that it is alright to interrupt you during all hours of the day.
You can start by leaving the office for an hour each day and turning off your cell phone. Make sure you change your voicemail to indicate the time when you will be next available and the person to contact in case of an emergency.
2. Create a Priority Work List
Don’t fall into the familiar trap where you allow other people, phone calls, and emails to determine your priorities of the day. This will eventually lead to you getting stressed and taking work home.
Start your day by creating task lists where you prioritize three critical tasks. Sure, you may have 60 different tasks on the list, but you know there is no way you can get all of them done in one day. Instead, prioritize three essential jobs for the day and when you are done, come back to the list.
Even if you only manage to accomplish the three priorities, you will be satisfied and happy that you achieved the essential tasks.
This will give you immense peace of mind and in turn, make you more efficient with your other tasks during the day.
3. Avoid Multi-tasking
This is probably the hardest thing to accomplish as a lawyer. It can be challenging to limit yourself to just one task at a time. But the fact is: you stay more focused on what you are doing at the moment by not multi-tasking. You allow your brain to focus intently on the job at hand, which helps increase productivity. You can end up accomplishing a hundred things during the day because you chose and were committed to focusing on just one task at a time. You would find yourself deliberately choosing the next task and enjoying it entirely because of the sense of fulfillment the previous finished job left you with. This is referred to as mindfulness and it can significantly help to manage your demanding work schedule.