Our profession seems to be reaching a crisis point. More and more attorneys have become slaves to their practices. They’re constantly putting out fires, and the way they use their time is dictated by the circumstances that surround them. They’re on a treadmill, working endless hours while they sacrifice time with their families, time for their interests outside the law, and often their own health. A lot of lawyers are wondering why they practice law, and many are choosing to leave the profession altogether.
If you recognize yourself in this description, the question you need to ask yourself is whether you’re actively managing your time, or whether time is managing you. To get a definitive answer to this question, you can log your time for a week. The best way to get a clear picture of where your time is going is to grab a stopwatch and write down when you start and when you stop each individual task that you become engaged in every day. If you’re really concerned about work-life balance, you’ll want to keep this time log all day long, and not just while you’re at work. You’ll also want to be as detailed as possible.
Once you’ve logged your time for a week, you can go back through your log and categorize each task. You’ll likely have spent time in client meetings, taking care of administrative tasks around the office, making phone calls, playing with your kids… you get the idea. Once you have all of your tasks categorized, you can figure out what percentage of your time was spent in each category.
Think about your strengths and figure out what tasks make up the best use of your time. Does your log reflect that you’re spending most of your time doing these things? If not, what can you do to move toward spending your time on these most important tasks? One quick tip: Decide on a daily basis what your most important tasks are. When you get to the office, do these things before you do anything else? You’ll be amazed at how much your efficiency and productivity will increase.
Taking control of your time is one of the things we focus on in The E-Myth Attorney and it’s something we’ll be talking about on our August 10th teleseminar. If you’re interested in joining us on this call, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you the registration information.
Sanford M. Fisch
CEO & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Road, Suite 240
San Diego, CA 92124