To manage your days, weeks, and months effectively, you need to plan with rigorous intentionality. But what does that mean?
Planning intentionally means using the proper techniques to think through and schedule how want your activities to unfold over whatever timeframe you’re working with. When you fail to plan properly, you wind up spending more of your time reacting to developments and interruptions from others.
How often do we let immediate needs take the focus away from essential big-picture tasks? We put out the fires but never make time to rebuild the structure. When you prioritize and follow attorney schedule management effectively, you ensure that precious time and focus are always reserved for critical items. The reassurance of knowing you have time dedicated to key issues reduces stress and helps keep you on track.
Daily Morning Planning
Remember those task lists you created? It’s now time to schedule them into your day.
First thing every morning, take a look at your schedule and see where you have free space. Block out time for communications. (You’ll learn why in the Email Management segment.) Then review your task lists. Select one or two priority items—three at most. Then project a realistic time for the completion of each task. Enter those onto your calendar.
Scan the rest of the week and the following week and make adjustments as needed. The morning planning routine should take no more than 15 minutes, but it sets you up for success for the remainder of the day.
Factors to Keep in Mind While Scheduling
Make sure you clarify your priorities and keep your overall business goals in mind. The most important tasks are often not those with a hard deadline. Tasks associated with networking and marketing can easily get ignored if you don’t prioritize them.
Of course, your schedule also needs to comply with external deadlines.
Keep your schedule realistic, and don’t try to push yourself too hard. Tasks should flow at a pace you find comfortable. With this in mind, we recommend scheduling what we call “phantom days” before and after major events like vacations and conferences.
Keeping on Track
During your morning planning session, set reminder alarms to signal the start and end times for assigned tasks. You can get into a rhythm and bring more consistency to your week by using a Time Map.
While you are working on a scheduled task, block out distractions. Don’t check your email. Turn off notifications. When you allow yourself the luxury of distraction-free time to focus on your tasks, you will be surprised at how much you can accomplish in the designated time.
Remember that proper planning and scheduling help keep you on top of ethical obligations to clients as well as financial goals.
Start Each Morning with a Plan and See How Much Your Productivity Increases
It is easy to move forward through our days simply reacting to one situation after another. At the end of the day, we have accomplished tasks that were urgent, but we may have missed those that were the most important in the long run.
Start with an intentional plan that includes critical tasks, including those without deadlines. Block out time for those tasks and focus during those time blocks. You will like the results.
Do you understand each of the steps involved in the basic tasks you tackle on a regular basis? Rather than just listing tasks, you need to break down the tasks into individual components. This is sometimes referred to as “capturing” your tasks.
Map out the steps to frequent tasks. Then take a moment to analyze each micro-step in a task and identify any potentially wasted effort, particularly duplicate measures.
Make sure you understand what “complete” looks like when it comes to each task. Without a defined end-point, jobs often drag on much longer than necessary. A defined finish allows team members to move on to the next task without looking back.
With that information, you can develop an updated plan for each task with efficient steps, accomplishing regular jobs in less time. The first step is to get the list out of your head and into print. Contact our attorney time management coaches now online or over the phone.