The Law Firm Owner’s Guide to Spending Time Wisely
8 minutes to read
As the owner of your law firm, you understand being your own boss comes with many perks — and arguably just as many downsides. The key to being a successful entrepreneur, however, is to spend your time wisely. The more strategic you are with your time, the more prosperous you will be (and the faster you’ll accomplish that entrepreneurial freedom you were after when you started your law firm in the first place).
But what happens when you don’t know how to control your time? What if your time controls you instead? What if you spend your days slogging through tasks you dread?
If you feel like a slave to your time as a leader, it’s time to make some serious changes — and fast.
We’re going to show you how to take control of your day once again, and more importantly, we’ll help you narrow down your daily activities to those that are only important to your law firm, your team members, your loved ones, and yourself.
- List Your Activities
- Categorize Your Activities
- Calculate Time Spent
- Reflect on Your Time
- Delegate to Elevate
Once you fully understand this process of managing your time, you’ll see how much easier your life as a busy law firm owner can be.
1. List Your Activities
Before you can begin managing your time in a more efficient way, you’ve got to have a better understanding of what you’re spending your time on. This goes for all aspects of your life, so make sure to include every recurring activity you do for every day, every week, and every month. For example:
- Check and respond to emails
- Speak with potential clients on the phone
- Meet with clients, team members, and colleagues
- Draft legal documents
- Exercise for your health
- Audit your caseload
- Make court appearances
- Search for potential new hires
- Spend time with your family
- Do one activity that makes you happy
- Interview strong applicants
- Represent X number of cases
- Check in on your marketing campaigns
- Discuss career progress with team members
- Take a weekend trip or getaway with your family
While these might not reflect your daily, weekly, or monthly activities exactly, this is a good place to start when you’re considering your own. But what most leaders forget to do is quantify how much time is spent on each of these activities. When you add them all together, you might be surprised at how much (or how little) time you dedicate to each one.
Take this time now to list out your activities and the accompanying amount of time they take each month. What did you come up with?
Get ready, because this step was the easy part.
2. Categorize Your Activities: Energize or Dread
Now that you have your list of activities together, it’s time to split them up in two categories: ENERGIZE and DREAD.
Which tasks do you get excited about? Which ones do you worry about? Which do you put off because you simply don’t enjoy them? For example:
- Check and respond to emails: DREAD
- Speak with potential clients on the phone: DREAD
- Meet with clients, team members, and colleagues: ENERGIZE
- Draft legal documents: DREAD
- Exercise for your health: ENERGIZE
- Audit your caseload: DREAD
- Make court appearances: ENERGIZE
- Search for potential new hires: DREAD
- Spend time with your family: ENERGIZE
- Do one activity that makes you happy: ENERGIZE
- Interview strong applicants: ENERGIZE
- Represent X number of cases: ENERGIZE
- Check in on your marketing campaigns: DREAD
- Discuss career progress with team members: ENERGIZE
- Take a weekend trip or getaway with your family: ENERGIZE
If there’s an activity that makes you happy or stimulates you, that’s an important one to hold onto. As for those DREAD tasks, don’t worry — more on those soon…
3. Calculate Time Spent
Once you’ve listed all of your daily, weekly, and monthly activities and you’ve determined which ones energize you and which ones fill you with dread, you’re ready to calculate everything together.
The numbers won’t lie. How much time do you spend each month on things that make you feel excited in the moment or for the future? Then take another hard look and ask yourself how much time do you spend on the things that you can’t stand?
If you’re spending more time on things that aren’t the highest and best use of your time as a leader, you’re in trouble.
Here are just a few of the reasons to focus on things that bring you happiness, rather than pushing through the things you hate:
- Boosts Mood and Energy: Engaging in activities that bring you joy and pleasure can help improve your mood and energy levels, which can increase your performance as you’re showing up as your best self.
- Reduces Stress: When you prioritize the work you enjoy, leading your law firm feels more freeing and less stressful — and isn’t that the whole reason you started your law firm in the first place?
- Increases Productivity: Studies have shown that when you are happy and fulfilled, you are more productive and focused, which can lead to better outcomes in your business and in your personal life.
- Fosters Creativity: Engaging in activities that bring you joy and pleasure can also foster creativity and open you up to explore new ideas and perspectives.
Focusing on the tasks that bring you energy rather than drain you can help you lead a more fulfilling and satisfying life and ultimately contribute to your long-term well-being both at work and at home.
That’s why it’s crucial that you don’t overlook this step and that you actually take the time to figure out where your time is going — and how much of it you’re wasting on negativity.
4. Reflect on Your Time
Now that you know what you’re up against, it’s time to ask yourself three very important questions:
- How would you spend your time if you didn’t have to do any activities that don’t energize you?
- What impact would that make on your business?
- What impact would that make on your personal life?
Only you can answer these questions. What would life be like if you could get rid of all the dreadful tasks that you feel you must take care of each day, week, and month? How would you spend your time instead? How would you show up differently without that weight on your shoulders?
Your law firm must never solely depend on you to run smoothly. You are the person in charge who’s supposed to be strategizing for the future and serving as your business’s visionary — not doing mundane tasks that can easily be done by someone else.
Be honest and open with yourself. Have a conversation with a trusted team member or family member and determine what you would do if you knew that there were no more dreaded tasks piling up on your desk.
5. Delegate to Elevate
Now that you’ve gone through the entire process, it’s time to visit the last and final step when it comes to spending your time wisely as a law firm CEO: delegation.
To delegate is to entrust another person with a responsibility — and as the boss of your entire operation, you have the authority to make that decision. If there’s something that you’re currently doing that would be better executed by another team member (AKA that you dread and are not strong at), it’s an opportunity to elevate your key players to step up and free you up.
When it comes to determining what needs to be delegated, go back through your list and highlight all the tasks that you dread. Who on your team has the opposite sentiment? Can you identify common denominators that point to a potential new hire you need to add to your law firm?
Find leaders whose strengths are your weaknesses and equip them with those responsibilities they are a better fit for.
That way, you’ll be operating in your strengths — and so will the rest of your team.
As an entrepreneur, you possess the freedom to make your own decisions for your life and your business. You now get to decide who you hire, who to fire, what cases you take on, the campaigns you run, and everything in between.
You don’t have to ask anyone for permission from anyone — but that also means you have to pay attention to what fills your cup and what doesn’t. If something isn’t working within your firm, change it. Hire someone new to come on and handle the tasks that you can’t or don’t want to handle, or elevate an existing team member to take on accountabilities they are a better fit for.
You call the shots now…but the real question is, are you up to the challenge to do so?
We can help. Join Crisp Coach, the nation’s #1 law firm growth coaching company. We’ve helped thousands of law firm owners get their schedules on track and their practices moving in the right direction, and we want to help you do the same.
Ready for this?