Here’s a tip that can help you maximize your productivity in the face of the upcoming holidays – and help you to have a little time left to enjoy them:
We call it the “Power Hour” and it’s worked for thousands of attorneys who have read our books and participated in our programs. We devote an entire chapter to this in our book, Time Management for Attorneys: A Lawyer’s Guide to Decreasing Stress, Eliminating Interruptions and Getting Home on Time.
The idea of the “Power Hour” is to block out a one to three hour block of time everyday during which you handle your highest priority production.
For most attorneys this is best done in the morning — when they are fresh and able to concentrate on complex work. This leaves the afternoon for them to see their clients.
Alternatively, some attorneys will block out an hour both in the morning and the early afternoon and then schedule meetings with clients for the late afternoon. There are many variations on this concept, but consistency is important, so look to see when you can most consistently plan time for your “Power Hour.”
To enhance its effectiveness and guard against distractions, clean off your desk every night and pull out only those files you want to work on in your morning “Power Hour.”
When you arrive, resist all temptations to handle any lower priority items that come up. All of your calls should be held — with the exception of people who you need to talk to get your work done — and all interruptions should be blocked. Close your door and power through as much production as you can.
You can expect to be up to four times more efficient when working this way. This is how you get more done in less time so you can have a little time to enjoy the holidays. This is a significant improvement over your output when you are multi-tasking – which gives you the illusion of getting a lot done, but is actually much slower – and won’t work well at all for complex tasks.
In order to maintain a sense of accessibility while your calls are being held, your secretary can tell callers that you will want to talk to them as soon as possible. She can then say, “Where will you be at 11:00? Please give me your phone number and (the attorney) will be able to call you then.”
Some of the smartest attorneys we know actually tell people right up front, in the first meeting, that their telephone hours are between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Introduced to the idea upfront, their clients usually have no problem with this whatsoever.
Remember that no one can interrupt you without some permission on your part. Think about that. The idea is to take control, be pro-active and pre-empt those interruptions ahead of time! Stop regarding your personal time as an endless source of “make-up” time or you will end up without much of a life!
Here’s an excerpt from the Alabama State Bar’s blog The Last Word review by Laura Calloway:
“This is probably the best time management book – especially for lawyers – that I’ve ever read. And I consider it a must-read for anyone who is struggling with an out of control practice and wants to bring some sanity and enjoyment back to their work, and their life.”