As a contract attorney, you already know how complicated and involved a law career can be. Your time is literally money. Yet, there are a few easy ways you can make your hefty workload a lot more manageable. The key is to work smarter, not harder. By getting a bit more organized and giving yourself a leg up in terms of efficiency, you can transform your complex day-to-day routine into a streamlined methodology. Here are five of the best ways to make it all happen:
1. Make a Daily To-Do List
Simple, but necessary. When you’re jumping from one task to another, it becomes difficult to determine what’s a priority and what can be set aside for later. Start each day by creating a list of tasks that need to get done that day and over the long term. This allows you to create an action plan on your most important tasks, and enables you to outsource or reschedule those which are less important.
2. Minimize Interruptions
As a contract attorney, very high concentration is required, as you can’t miss important details relevant to a case. Therefore, minimizing interruptions is crucial to staying productive. The best way to do this is to take some proactive steps to avoid them. When you’re busy working on a case and a call comes in, it can be tempting to drop what you’re doing to take care of another matter. While it’s virtually impossible to avoid every call or interruption, consider scheduling a block of time each day that is specifically spent taking or returning calls.
3. Ditch the Distractions
It’s sort of ironic, but many of the tools that allow us to be more productive can double as productivity killers when you’re unfocused. Unfortunately, lawyers are not immune to the distractions of today’s technology. Whether it’s your cellphone, iPad, or other type of device, save yourself time by turning notifications off during certain times of the workday. It takes discipline, but you’ll most likely find yourself with an extra hour in the day by not checking your phone every five minutes.
4. Keep Moving
The contract attorney life can involve spending the majority of your workday hunched over a computer screen, reviewing documents. Not only can this take a toll on your health, it can decrease your productivity as well. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, keeping you focused all day long. It also releases endorphins, whose mood-boosting benefits can have lasting effects on your alertness. Try setting aside time each day to engage in some simple office exercises.
5. Take Breaks
If you’ve read an article on productivity before, you’re familiar with this idea. But taking the advice is a different story, especially if you’re a contract attorney. When you’re being paid hourly and are spending the majority of your workday sitting in groups in client locations, taking a break might not seem so simple. However, research shows that those who take a break once an hour perform better than those who just keep working without a break. What’s more, our brain is capable of solving problems while we’re not actively working on them. This means you might come back from a break with a solution worked out.
Being productive takes more than just hard work. Like a legal argument, it requires strategy. Implementing these tips will help you stay alert and productive throughout your workday.
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