Be More Productive and Gain More YouTime

by Suzie on December 22, 2011 · 3 comments


Legal departments of all shapes and sizes strive to be more productive. While some professionals have an innate knack for getting things done, other very talented staff members may struggle with keeping on task. In today’s world of greater demands and lesser support staying on target can mean the difference between success and failure for a lawyer.

Fortunately, there are a few easy things anyone can do to be more productive and get more out of their time. The list below contains some common sense pointers for legal departments, and presents some practical tips for getting things done. In a nutshell: get organized and eliminate distractions.

  1. Daily To-Do List: Write a list of to-do items for the day and mark them off as you complete them.
  2. Prioritize Tasks: In general, complete tasks in this order: critical, time-sensitive; close-to-critical; hate-to-do; simple tasks; then all else.
  3. Don’t Multitask: Work on one project at a time and get it done.  Straying will cause you to lose your train of thought. When you come back to the project, you have to regroup yourself and that’s a waste of time.
  4. Annoying Notifications: Turn off all email, cell phone, texting, and other notifications, both sound and screen notifications.  These do nothing but distract you. As mentioned previously, set aside time to check these.
  5. Media Interruptions: Do not answer the phone, check email and texts, or anything other than the task at hand.  If necessary, shut your phone off. Set aside a separate time for these.
  6. Work Environment: Work in a place where you are least likely to be interrupted.  For example, if you work from home, you might need to go to a coffee shop or a library to get your work done.
  7. Preventive Techniques: Let others know that you are busy: close your office door; post Project in Progress sign on your door; set an email “out-of-office” alert indicating that you are unavailable (so that you don’t worry about not responding right away); inform clients of your work ethic and that you will always respond to them within 24 hours (or some other time frame) when they contact you
  8. Office Tools: Use your online Calendar so that you and others can keep track of your schedule and engage the notifications to remind you of important tasks, including breaks and meetings. Use other tools to better manage your cases, time, communications, and so much more.
  9. Refresh Breaks: Take short breaks after 45-60 minutes of work, especially on a computer, to refresh your mind, move your legs, and rest your eyes. Without breaks you could slow down due to mind-body fatigue or daydreaming. Get the blood flowing!

Go to these articles for more information about how to be more productive.

There may be times where you cannot follow this list, but success can be found by sticking to it as much as possible. Once you begin following these tips, you should notice that you’re getting things done faster, better, and with time left to yourself at the end of the day.

What tips do you have for being more productive?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Worli wrote onDecember 22, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Nice post!
I very much agree with you with the point “Don’t Multitask”

Me going through the similar issues. Me trying to do many things at the same time and at the end of the day nothing seems to be achieved or complete. I need to change the way i work, and focus on one thing.


Suzie Suzie Easter wrote onDecember 27, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Thank you for replying! I’m so glad this sparked some comments. After a while these become second nature.


John Mereness wrote onDecember 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Mike Mintz did a fun pole:

Which Productivity Tip Do You Find Most Effective?
posted 1 hour ago • 1 vote

Daily To-Do List Don’t Multitask Refresh Breaks Eliminate Media Interruptions Vote

Daily To-Do List
1 (100%) « your vote
Don’t Multitask
0 (0%)
Refresh Breaks
0 (0%)
Eliminate Media Interruptions
0 (0%)

My response:

The To-Do list is most important as it is basically an organizer of “the work product” that needs done. As to Multitask – I am pretty good at it, though I am told no matter how good that a woman can still run circles around any man – as far as multitasking that is. As to Breaks, they have their place and at times just good to step aside (same concept goes that when writing something for the annual report or related – it may just be important enough to have others proof read). And, as far as Media Interruptions – I am a big believer in blocks of time and in law the work often demands hours to days of blocked time (personally, I cherish 5:00pm to 7:00pm – I know people that cherish 7:00am to 9:00am, though when I have tried I just get a whole office full of people drinking coffee and asking me what I did last evening, so like them I tend to leave this time to also get my day rolling).


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