Managing your time

23/10/2020

In a new article, LawCare shares time management tips to help lawyers dealing with competing demands.

Many lawyers who contact LawCare find time management difficult. They can often have so much on their plate that they don’t know where to start and feel overwhelmed. Here are LawCare’s top tips for time management to help you deal with competing demands.

  • Make a list: start by making a list of everything you have to do. Break big tasks into manageable chunks so they don’t feel overwhelming and set realistic deadlines.
  • Task blocking: estimate how long certain tasks will take and block out time in your calendar to complete them. Consider what times of day suit you to complete certain tasks - you might be better at drafting a document in the morning and want to save admin for the afternoon.
  • Prioritise: decide what’s most important and do it first. If there’s a difficult task, or one you’ve been putting it off, do it right away.
  • Work on one task at a time: we’re all guilty of flitting between tasks, then ending the day with lots of 'tabs' open and nothing completed. Try to focus on one thing at a time.
  • Remove distraction: turn off your phone and email notifications to avoid getting distracted when completing certain tasks. You can also block your access to social media on your phone during certain times of day. 
  • Turn key tasks into habits: we are all creatures of habit. If you have a regular task that you struggle to complete, try doing it at the same time for three to four weeks. It will soon become a habit.
  • Make a start: it’s easy to say "just do it", but sometimes simply making a start on something is exactly what you need to do. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
  • Build in rewards: reward yourself for meeting deadlines. Perhaps make a deal with yourself that you’ll get a coffee after completing a certain task, or go for a walk after clearing your inbox. Short breaks and time away from your desk improve your energy and focus.
  • Learn to say no: often we feel overwhelmed because we have just taken too much on, making it very difficult to manage our time. You don’t have to say yes to everything. If you cannot do something within a particular timeframe, then don’t be afraid to say so.
  • Look after yourself: Exercise, a good diet, sleep, social interaction are all essential to our mental health as well as our physical health. Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup, no matter how well you manage your time.

Support from LawCare

LawCare provides emotional support to all legal professionals, support staff and their families. You can call our confidential helpline on 1800 991 801, email us at support@lawcare.ie or access webchat and other resources on the Irish LawCare website

eNewsletters

This article originally appeared in the October 2020 Law Society eZine. For more information, and to subscribe, visit eNewsletters.