Have you ever sat down at your desk in the morning, spent your day in a frenzy of emails, phone calls, and tasks, but at the end of the day… realize you haven’t completed the things you were really hoping to? Important tasks are left undone, but you’re exhausted and more stressed than ever. 

If so, you may be sabotaging your own productivity without realizing it. Read on for some of the common ways lawyers hold themselves back from being their most productive selves, and what you can do about it.  

You set too many priorities

Have you ever attempted to create a simple to-do list for the day, and ended up with a list of tasks so long you’re overwhelmed and not sure where to start? If so, you’re trying to set too many priorities.  

Pare down your list by identifying the tasks that may create a negative outcome or prevent other tasks from being completed if not taken care of today. These are your first and most important priorities.  

Once these most important tasks have been completed, return to your original list and take stock of what’s left. You may realize that you have the time to make a phone call you’ve been avoiding or attend a webinar in the afternoon, or you may identify a task that didn’t need to be on the high priority list but really could stand some attention. By breaking your to-do list down into smaller more manageable chunks, you’re to accomplish your goals in a more organized and less stressful way 

You’re distracted by your phone and inbox

Phones and email are necessary tools, especially if you’re working remotely – but they can also destroy your productivity if not used properly 

Every time your phone buzzes or inbox lights up, that notification interrupts your flowAnd this distraction impacts you for far longer than the five seconds you spend reading the new text or email; a study from UC Irvine found that “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.” 

The solution? Schedule a time (or two) to respond to phone and email messages each day, and silence notifications outside of those times. Those messages can wait while you focus and get things done. 

You don’t have a plan for the day

Now that you’ve set your top priorities and silenced the distractions, take the time to look at your calendar and decide when you will focus on each taskPerhaps you can allot one hour to a pleading, one hour to reviewing your firm’s numbers and profitability, and leave the afternoon open for client calls 

How you schedule your time is entirely up to you, but is an important piece of the productivity puzzle. Creating an intentional plan for the day enables you to make time for what’s important instead being constantly derailed by the next urgent task 

Not using the right legal software

If your legal case management system doesn’t automatically track your time, provide document automation seamlessly integrated with Microsoft Word, and include a mobile lawyer app that allows you to run your practice from anywhere, you’re missing out.  

Implementing cloud-based legal practice management software like Smokeball streamlines your practice by automating and simplifying your administrative tasks and gives more hours every day to focus on the things that matter most to your firm and your clients. Contact us today to see how the right legal case management software can help you to bill more without charging your clients more