A little over a year ago I decided to quit my day job at the boutique firm I’d worked for in order to be my own boss. It’s proving to be the best career decision I’ve ever made. I feel rejuvenated in my career. My business has grown at a healthy pace and my solo practice allows me to use my skills as a lawyer to work with clients I love and in practice areas that make sense for me. Nonetheless, it certainly hasn’t meant working less. Being my own boss has meant having more responsibility than ever before. As a result, it’s more important than ever that I stay productive throughout my work day. Like anyone else though, being productive can feel like a constant struggle. Here are a few tricks I use to stay on top of my work.
1. Do The Least Pleasant Work First
Have you ever faced off with an intimidating to-do list? One where you just know that you’ll never be able to get it all done in time? Unless there are items on that list that are more time sensitive than others, I’ve found that to increase my productivity it’s often best to do the least pleasant projects first. Need to draft 12 motions in limine before tomorrow morning? Do the hardest one first. Once you’ve knocked-out the big, bad, ugly guy, the rest won’t seem quite as intimidating.
2. Just Get Started
There’s no doubt that the hardest part of any project is just getting started. In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discovered that my work wasn’t as daunting as it seemed once I just began working on it. If your work involves writing, for example, then just sit down and make yourself start writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect right away. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be decent. After all, a work-in-progress is better than nothing at all.
3. Ditch The Distractions
It’s sort of ironic, but many of the tools that allow up to be more productive can double as productivity killers when you’re unfocused. Your iPad can let you read briefs and review case law from the hallway outside the Courtroom, but it becomes the problem when you’re playing Words For Friends instead of doing the work you need to get done. So sign out of Facebook; close your browser; and turn off your phone’s notification sounds, and start working already!
Of course, since you’re reading this, I presume you’ve already finished all your work for the day. Why not share your tips in our comment section for our less productive friends?