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    Unlocking Time Management Secrets: A Lawyer’s Handbook

    Unlocking Time Management Secrets A Lawyer's Handbook

      We would all love to wave a magic wand or turn an hourglass to add a few extra hours to the day. At some point, we’ve all wished for more time in the day to get things done. Lawyers are certainly no exception. 

      But you don’t need to go to wizarding school to get more time in the day. As a busy attorney, there’s a lot that you can switch up right now to make the most of your day.  

      One single change may not give you back two hours in your day, but ten small changes? That can add up to hours of extra time every day. In other words, you have the power to create your own Time-Turner à la Harry. 

      What are the unique time management challenges lawyers face in their day-to-day practice? 

      “I have too much to do and not enough time to do it!” —every lawyer, ever.  

      It’s no wonder. Lawyers are expected to bring in a certain amount of billable hours per year, but the average lawyer bills just 2.3 hours per day 

      Where does the time go?  

      There are a few different culprits that create this strain on a lawyer’s schedule: 

      1. Dealing with the revolving door of “urgent” matters 

      In the legal field, client demands and urgent matters are par for the course. But when you don’t have clear communication, expectations, and boundaries, these matters (which aren’t always actually urgent) can eat into your days and nights, keeping you from other tasks that also need to get done.  

      2. Managing multiple deadlines and case matters 

      Our brains aren’t wired to multitask effectively. It can be overwhelming for us to keep track of everything. Importantly, constantly switching between tasks can actually reduce your work speed for each individual task. You end up taking longer to do everything than you would have if you focused on one thing at a time.  

      3. Lawyers are constantly balancing billable hours and administrative tasks 

      Being a lawyer requires more than arguing in a courtroom or drafting briefs. You also need to follow up on overdue bills, fix the printer that keeps breaking, email potential clients, schedule meetings, coordinate with your team, and take the occasional bathroom break.  

      The short version of this: lawyers have a lot of stuff to do. The key is figuring out how to prioritize, automate, delegate, and not feel guilty when you take a full hour for your lunch break. 

      Demystifying the Billable Hour: How to Right-Size Your Rates

      With prices rising so much over the last year (global inflation is forecasted at 8.8% in 2022), it’s the right time to look at your current rates and see if you’re charging enough to remain profitable.


      How do you prioritize your time? 

      To improve your time management, you first need to understand how you spend your time. 

      For one week, track exactly how you spend your time during the work day. 

      Tracking your time will provide the data you need to understand where you spend your time.  

      You can track your time manually, but if you do it on a random notebook, you’ll still have to transfer it to your billing system. (Which is an extra—and time-consuming—step.) 

      Get a head start on your time management by using an automated time tracker that tracks your time in your project management system and automatically transfers your billables to client invoices.  

      How can lawyers strike a balance between achieving billable hours and maintaining their overall well-being? 

      There’s a difference between optimizing your time management and counting every second obsessively. The goal isn’t to fit things into every second of the day—it’s to build more time into your day so you can achieve your goals and achieve a solid work-life balance.  

      That’s where time blocking comes in.  

      The magic of time blocking 

      Time blocking is one of the best ways to increase your time management. With time blocking, you break up your workweek into a set of time slots where you schedule meetings, focus on case matters, follow up on billing, or take your lunch.  

      To help you stick to your time blocking: 

      • Visually schedule time blocks on your calendar. Use different colors for different types of tasks.  
      • Group similar tasks into a single time block (i.e. answer all your emails at 9 am, schedule potential client meetings at 10 am, etc.). This helps to reduce context-switching, which aids in concentration and staying “in the zone.”  

      In addition to staying “in the zone,” time blocking helps lawyers prioritize work and rest for a more realistic work-life balance.  

      After all, when you schedule your day into blocks of time, you don’t just set aside time to complete important tasks. You also ensure that you’re building in time to take a much-needed breather.  

      What technology and tools can help lawyers improve their time management? 

      When it comes to improving time management, lawyers have two buckets of tools: 

      • Automation tools, which can reduce the time required to perform tasks 
      • Tracking and analysis technology, which can help you understand what’s going well, and where there’s room for improvement 

      How to improve your time management with automation tools 

      Automation tools, like those featured in Rocket Matter’s practice management systems, address repetitive tasks that you complete on a somewhat regular basis. These include: 

      • Document automation: create templates of common documents, so when it comes time to draft, you can just “plug and play”. 
      • Automated billing: streamline the billing process with electronic billing and online payment options to save both you and your clients time every month.  
      • Generative AI: take advantage of ChatGPT with added security through Rocket Matter’s API to draft communications and marketing materials in less time.  

      How to improve your time management with reports and time tracking 

      As you start to implement time management systems and strategies, it’s important to track what works and what doesn’t work.  

      For tracking how you spend your time, use an automated tracking tool every day to record how you manage your time. (As an added bonus, Rocket Matter’s time tracker automatically records your billable hours for client billing purposes).  

      Once you have data on your time management, use advanced reporting features to see where you are achieving your goals, and where you still have room for improvement. This can be helpful for individuals and teams alike! 

      Helpful time management reports include: 

      • Productivity per user: What is your ratio of billable to non-billable hours? Are you spending too much time on specific administrative tasks? 
      • Productivity per matter: What projects are taking up most of your time? Is one particular case matter turning into a black hole? What types of work should be delegated in the future? 

      By combining multiple best practices, including time blocking, automating repetitive tasks, and analyzing your progress, you can create stacking benefits that result in a more productive day and a more sustainable mindset.  

      Are there case studies that showcase how lawyers have successfully implemented improved time management strategies? 

      Check out Rocket Matter’s customer reviews for real stories from lawyers who have successfully implemented these strategies to get more out of their workday.  

      Get more out of each day with Rocket Matter 

      Rocket Matter’s legal practice management system is designed to help law firms operate more efficiently. See the potential for yourself and schedule a demo today.  

      Demystifying the Billable Hour: How to Right-Size Your Rates

      With prices rising so much over the last year (global inflation is forecasted at 8.8% in 2022), it’s the right time to look at your current rates and see if you’re charging enough to remain profitable.

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