This week, I’m discussing how to increase your productivity.
We’ve made it to Wednesday. Hopefully you’re getting into a groove with your list. You check it once in the morning to plan out your day and again after lunch to assess your afternoon.
Before you leave for the day today, assess your list, just like you did on Monday and Tuesday, but with one key fact in mind: the end of the week is rapidly approaching. So, on Wednesday evening look at your list with an eye toward completing urgent projects by the end of the week.
Are you working on a client letter or a filing that needs to go out the door by the end of the week? Make sure you build in time to meet internal deadlines. You should have done this on Sunday, but you might need to refresh your list in light of the approaching Friday deadlines.
So how do you build in that time?
Let’s say that on Wednesday, you are asked to write a letter to the client. The partner wants to send it out by 5pm Friday and will need to approve it first. This means you need to allow time for the partner to give you comments on the draft. (In a perfect world, you would discuss this with the partner but we all know that doesn’t always happen, so you need to be proactive about planning ahead.) Depending on the length and complexity of the letter, a reasonable goal would be for you to send your draft to the partner by lunchtime Thursday. That way you can make any edits on Friday with enough time for the partner to give final approval.
When making an assessment about what needs to get done this week, don’t forget to think about:
- Future you: Sure, deadline X is not until Tuesday, but will future you have time on Monday to knock it out? Or will you end up spending the weekend stressing about it?
- The future of your matters: Is there oral argument scheduled for one of your cases in the next 2 weeks? Will you need to help the partner prep for it? Even if you don’t have the assignment yet, you can anticipate that you will have something to do, so try to keep some time clear.
This is also a time to reassess how much work is out of your control. As new work comes in, make sure you can keep up with what you already have on your plate. If not, reach out to your supervisors for help prioritizing. (As an aside, turning down work and juggling deadlines is another one of the trickiest things for junior lawyers to handle. I’ll be focusing on that in a future post.)
Tomorrow: Stay on track Thursday to wrap up your pressing projects on Friday.
Pic Credit: Glenn Carstens Peters (via Unsplash)