Nearly every law firm owner I speak to has trouble with time.
They don’t have enough time. They’re too busy. They can’t keep on top of it all and they just get stressed out.
Something people have often said to me over the years is that it’s amazing how much work I can get through and that I must be so, so busy.
Truth is, I’m not that busy.
I lead a very full life, but I wouldn’t class myself as busy.
What I am is very strategic with how I spend my time, so I can get more done in less time.
That’s how I’ve come up with the four things that I’m going to share with you today.
#1: Align with your body clock
This is all about figuring out when you do your best work.
Are you a morning person? Are you an evening person? Are you a person who likes to work in 45 minutes sprints with big breaks in between?
You’ll have some sort of an idea of how your body clock works, or what your natural rhythm is.
If you don’t, a good way to figure it out is to do a time study for a week and write down everything that you do.
At the end of each day, really look at what you did that day and ask yourself questions:
- When did you feel most energised?
- When did you feel the most sluggish?
- When were you the most excited?
- When were you most productive?
Really look at the things you were doing in the times that you were doing them, and look at that every day over a week.
If you can do it for longer, that’s even better. It’ll help you to start figuring out what your natural body clock is.
I know I do my best work early in the morning.
I love to get up about 4:30 when it’s still dark. I love to open up all the curtains and see that darkness outside.
Then as the sun comes up, just that energy and that light really helps me do my best work and make my best decisions. And I do it quickly as well.
When it comes to body clock, something I find with law firm owners is that often they’ll say something like, “Well, I’m a morning person, but I can’t get up early in the morning and work because of X, Y, or Z.”
So if you’re falling into that category, don’t feel bad, plenty of law firm owners do.
What I would encourage you to do is instead of thinking “I can’t do that,” think about, “How could I do that? How could I get up early?”
Do a brainstorm with yourself. What are some things that could allow you to work with your natural rhythm?
If you can’t really come up with much, think about a person who you really respect around their time management. Someone who’s really organised and gets shit done. Have a chat with them and see how they do it.
Quite often when people do this exercise, they’ll come to the conclusion that they need help in some area of their life.
Whether you need some help at home or at work, it may be an opportunity for you to hire someone so that you can start working better to your body’s natural rhythm, which will help you get so much more done in so much less time.
#2: Write a plan
This is all about designing our time to get stuff done instead of letting our time get away on us.
I recently did a video called The Perfect Week, and five ways to create the perfect week so you’re really productive and energised.
This is the kind of plan you need.
It’s about designing a week where you do all the things you love to do, and you need to do, to move closer to achieving your goals.
At the end of a week like that you just feel so excited about life, and you’re full of energy.
So go and check out the video if you haven’t already seen it.
#3: Control your environment
There are all sorts of distractions that can distract us from getting things done. Distractions are a real productivity killer.
- Social media notifications (that’s a big one)
- Email notifications
- Text messages
- Distractions with children, friends, family, team members etc.
If any of these things are ringing true for you then it’s time to set some boundaries, either with yourself or with other people.
If you’ve got a problem with notifications for social media or email, you really need to start setting some boundaries with yourself and turning off those notifications.
Perhaps put your phone in another room for a few hours each day.
Being distracted by other people, particularly team members, is quite common, especially for law firm owners.
Think about putting some boundaries around your time with your team members with your body clock in mind.
Like, when are you most in your element to help mentor people and help and answer questions?
Based on that, set some time aside and make it clear to your team that that’s when you’re available to help them with these things.
It might be every day, it might be every second day, whatever works for you.
#4: Avoid being 100% booked
I get so shitty when I look at my calendar for the next day and it’s just booked back to back with meetings and appointments.
Having to do all the things is just a real productivity killer for me.
You probably know the feeling.
I know some of you like to have lots of meetings because you’re extremely extroverted, but even so, I still think that will be a productivity killer for you too.
I myself, people think I’m an extrovert but I’m an introvert. So a day full of meetings is just pure hell for me.
But this is about making sure you’re protecting your time.
If you’ve got an assistant, make it really clear to your assistant what you want your calendar to look like and what you don’t want it to look like.
For this point, back to back meetings is not it.
If you don’t have an assistant, then you need to set some rules for yourself around putting time in between meetings.
So if you’ve got an online calendar software that people use to book meetings with you, make sure you’ve got buffers so people can’t just keep booking meeting after meeting with you.
You really need to get those sorts of systems into place to protect your time so that you can improve your productivity and get more done in less time.
If you’re interested in scaling a law firm, or building, designing and selling online legal solutions and learning about how to do the marketing around that, then there’s plenty more for you to discover over in my Savvy Lawyers Facebook group.