Let’s discuss the second way to improve productivity in the industrious legal environment as we continue this blog article series. To view our first post, click here.
Introduce structure – and eat the frog first.
You’ve probably heard the expression, “work smarter, not harder.” Why? Because many of us fall into the trap of doing things the way we’ve always done them. Yes, our habits become our routine; good or bad, efficient or inefficient. We’ve often found that without a plan or a schedule, firefighting becomes the norm, things get dropped, procrastination sets in, productivity plummets and stress encroaches.
Introducing structure to your day such as creating a schedule – a to-do list doesn’t count – will help you stay organized and on task. For instance, if you’re a paralegal, your workday schedule might look something like this: answer emails and make phone calls, block out time for planning and legal work such as conducting research or drafting correspondence and pleadings, block out one hour for unexpected requests, check email again, phone calls again, then done for the day. Your calendar is a great place to do this.
Indeed, scheduling your day by putting tasks into your calendar enables you to get more done and set expectations about what can be accomplished with the amount of production time you have available. As Matthew Toren of Entreprenuer.com says, “when you focus too heavily on the act of doing over the brilliance of planning, you can be spinning your wheels with a lot of extra activities that are highly inefficient or aren’t driving any real results.”
And what about those frogs? There’s an old saying, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Brian Tracy, in his book, Eat That Frog!, shares that you should eat frogs – the most important tasks or things you don’t want to do, but actually need to – first thing in the morning to fuel your energy and momentum for the rest of the day. Yes, frogs are often the ugly, unpleasant tasks.
Have more than one frog? Conquer the ugliest one first lest it become victim to procrastination. Plus, eating your frogs first leaves you free to do the things that you enjoy doing.
Interested in reading more tips on productivity? Download our eBook: 5 Ways for Legal Professionals to Boost Productivity.