How to Get Time Back In Your Day as a Law Firm Owner
9–12 minutes to read
As a committed law firm owner, what does your day-to-day look like? Are you still babysitting your team when they should be leading themselves? When faced with problems, are you being reactive instead of being proactive? Does your to-do list seem to grow longer with each passing minute? Are you not seeing the results you’d hoped to see?
If any of that sounds like what life is like at your law firm, you don’t need to panic just yet.
What if we told you we had something that really could change your life and the trajectory of your firm? Would you make time for it?
Fortunately, there are a number of powerful strategies you can implement to free yourself up, reclaim your productivity, and make a bigger impact on your law firm.
In this article, we’re going to go over four proven strategies to get valuable time back as the leader of your law firm:
1. Prioritize Your Time
Look, we get it. Practicing law, running your own law firm, and living life doesn’t often leave you with much free time — but that doesn’t mean you are doomed to forever drown in your never-ending list of tasks.
If you take the time to prioritize what matters most and must be done first, you’ll be able to understand your time and make more effective use of it.
Let’s begin by thinking about what a normal day looks like for you, a busy law firm owner. What do you do when you first get to the office?
- Check your emails
- Listen to voicemails
- Respond to or draft emails to send out to clients
- Prepare for any meetings you have that day
- Go through pending documents
- Make some calls
Before you know it, your day has come and gone. But did you really accomplish anything valuable? Or did you simply spend time performing tasks that could have been done later (or by someone else)?
Though we tend to put off the most difficult or time consuming tasks because we know they’ll take the majority of our time, it’s best to get them done first and foremost. Rather than putting off projects you are dreading, measure them by the impact they will make on your law firm. Making high-impact tasks a priority every single day will set you up for success more so than knocking out smaller tasks first.
The fact of the matter is that many entrepreneurs make their lives harder than they need to be. Jay Papasan, author of The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, is a firm believer that multitasking breeds untold levels of inefficiency, and that the way to be successful is to be mindful and place your energy only where it vitally matters.
When assessing your tasks, divide them into how much value they’ll bring your organization when complete. The most important ones will be both valuable and time sensitive, and those are the ones you should focus on right away. The least important ones will provide less value or are not as time-sensitive. The ones in the middle might be time-sensitive but fall somewhere in between the most and least important tasks.
This is where a tool like the Eisenhower Matrix comes into play. The Eisenhower Matrix is a task management tool that helps you organize and prioritize tasks by urgency and importance. It divides tasks into quadrants based on what to do first, what to schedule, what to delegate, and what to delete entirely.
Leveraging the Eisenhower Matrix will help you understand what you need to prioritize and what actually doesn’t matter that much at all.
As the leader of your law firm, it’s imperative that you aren’t the one handling low-impact tasks. You are needed elsewhere — where the high-impact tasks are — and wasting your time on tasks that aren’t impactful in the long run will not grow your firm to where you want it to be.
All in all, you are the only person who can determine your priorities — and your law firm’s. Make it a habit to come into work every day with a plan for how you’re going to tackle the highest-impact projects, and never lose track of where your day went again.
2. Optimize Your Calendar
“Either run the day, or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
Your calendar is a terrible thing to waste — so stop wasting it.
When going into your work day, having a plan is one of the best ways to ensure that you get all those highest-impact projects done. Sticking to a schedule will keep you on the right track. If you haven’t optimized your daily calendar, you’re missing out on maximizing your potential and impact as leader of your law firm.
Calendars are one of the simplest tools on the market for maximizing productivity and managing time. While all calendars are acceptable to use, you will likely get more out of an online version, such as a Google Calendar. There’s a reason why over 500 million people have taken advantage of this useful aid.
“Time on one thing means time away from another. This makes balance impossible.” – Jay Papasan
In order to achieve extraordinary results, you must choose what matters most and give it all the time and attention it requires. To accomplish this (and avoid productivity-killers like distractions and multitasking), time blocking is one of the best things you can do.
As Jay Papasan believes, until the ONE THING you’re focused on is done, everything else is merely a distraction.
For those highest-impact priorities, block time as early in your day as you possibly can. Be a “maker” in the mornings and a “manager” in the afternoons. Don’t let your distractions take you away from the most important aspects of your day.
Follow these steps to fully leverage your calendar to get time back in your day:
First, build in time for non-negotiables.
Believe it or not, living and dying by your calendar isn’t just something that should happen at work. If you want to stay organized in every aspect of your life, plug in your personal activities as well so you don’t lose track of time at the office and miss out on special events.
Does your child have a dance recital coming up? What about a swim meet? Did you forget about the sleep over they’re going to this weekend? Remember you and a friend are grabbing dinner together on Thursday evening.
Keep all of these things on your calendar so you don’t get lost in the shuffle of work, family, and life in general.
Next, block off your calendar for professional non-negotiables.
Your meetings, court dates, depositions, and presentations that you must to be in attendance for should be clearly blocked off on your calendar first. Make sure that as soon as you find out about a meeting you need to be in attendance for, you mark it on your calendar (or better yet, have your assistant take care of the manual scheduling).
Finally, strategize the rest of your open time.
Once you block off personal and professional non-negotiables, you can clearly see the time you have available to accomplish the additional projects and tasks on your plate. Determine which ones are the most important, how long they will take, and when they need to be completed. Then block them out on your calendar.
This gives you the opportunity to see where your time is going and how you can make changes to optimize your calendar.
You don’t have to go into your day lawlessly anymore. If you take the time to plan what you’re going to do at each moment of the day, you can more easily stay on one project at a time. Remember, multitasking is a myth. While someone can do two things at once, that doesn’t mean that they can focus on those two things equally.
Use the Eisenhower Matrix to determine which activities are critical and which ones are not, and from there you can plan your day around the highest-impact items.
If you aren’t currently leveraging your calendar to the fullest, that’s got to change if you want to successfully optimize your days. Reclaim your time so you can be more productive for your firm’s sake, remove yourself as the bottleneck to your firm’s growth, and make more time for the things that truly matter.
3. Delegate and Automate
To grow your law firm, you can’t waste your time on low-impact activities — and you can’t try to do everything yourself. There are certainly things that you don’t enjoy doing, aren’t the best at doing, or simply don’t want to do. Delegate them to another team member, automate them where you can, and get out of the way of your law firm’s growth.
If you bottleneck progress, you prevent success for your entire organization.
One of the most crucial factors of becoming a great leader is determining what is worth your time and what isn’t. That’s where delegation and automation come into play.
Delegation refers to the transfer of responsibility for specific tasks from one person to another. From a management perspective, delegation occurs when a leader assigns specific functions to their team members and empowers them to take ownership over those accountabilities.
Automation leverages technology to automate complex business processes. It can streamline aspects of a business for simplicity, achieve digital transformation, increase service quality, improve service delivery, or contain costs.
In other words, delegation and automation are about to make your life much easier.
If you’re ready to begin delegating tasks to your team members, first find out which ones are not the best use of your time as the leader.
Once you have a better idea of what those activities are, you can decide who in your office is the best equipped to take each of them over. Each person you delegate to should be able to take full ownership over any function they are accountable for so it doesn’t ever have to come back around to you.
Don’t be afraid to hire someone to take on new responsibilities. There’s always the possibility that you could delegate certain functions into an entirely new role at your law firm, thus helping your business run more smoothly and grow more efficiently.
When it comes to automation, there are so many tools on the market that can help your law firm operate at a higher, more efficient, and much more productive level.
Here are some examples:
- Mailchimp: This is an email marketing platform that you can use to automate email campaigns and manage your email lists — and there are plenty of other options out there too.
- Canva: This is a graphic design platform that you can use to create graphics for social media, websites, business cards, and much more — without being a master at Adobe Photoshop.
- Sprout Social: You can use Sprout Social or similar social media management platform to automate and schedule your social media posting. It also helps you track trends to better resonate with your audience.
- Fiverr: This is one of many online marketplaces for freelancers. If you need graphic designers, copywriters, data managers, or practically any other kind of creative or technical service your firm may need, there is someone on a freelance marketplace that can do it for you for a fraction of the average cost.
- Quickbooks: This is an accounting system that will help manage your books. Be sure to do some research on all the available accounting software options to determine the best fit for your law firm.
By integrating automation tools like these into your operations, your team can be more streamlined, standardized, and focused on your law firm’s overarching goals.
Though you might think you have all the tools needed to get more time back in your day, there’s still one key component missing…
4. Invest in Your Growth
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to getting time back in your day, optimizing the way you operate as a leader, and accelerating your law firm’s growth.
You’ll get so much more in Crisp Coach.
As a law firm owner, if you’re still struggling with:
- Attracting great people
- Making poor hiring decisions
- Outgrowing your infrastructure
- Putting out fires at the office
- Dealing with constant drama
- Landing high quality cases
- Or anything else along these lines…
You’ll learn how to get real time back in your day while staying on top of your business goals, your team, and your life. Don’t get bogged down. The solutions are waiting for you in Crisp Coach.
Ensure that 2023 is your best year yet with the happiest clients, most accountable team members, and most streamlined operations. Apply today!
Don’t sleep on this chance.
Become the law firm owner you always knew you could be, and make your time yours again.
The future is waiting for you.