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Time Management Tips: How to Get More Out of Every Hour

By Deanne Katz, Esq. | Last updated on

Being your own boss has a lot of perks, but it also means there are no higher-ups to give you time management tips.

Of course, when your boss gives you tips it's generally in the form of "work harder" or "stop wasting time." But if you're a solo or a small firm attorney and you are your own boss, you can be kinder to yourself without sacrificing productivity.

No matter how good your time management skills are, there are always new things to learn. Not sure where to start? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use your first 20 minutes wisely. The way you start your day can set the tone, so start it right. Whether it's spending a few minutes of quiet contemplation with your coffee or reviewing your task list, find a way to get your mind on your work.

  • Make "to do" lists. No matter how good your memory is, it's not a good idea to keep your lists inside your head. Write them down so you can see what needs to be done rather than wasting time trying to remember what needs your attention next.

  • Break things down. Often when a really big issue comes up, it can be overwhelming. Rather than avoiding it until the last minute, break big things down into smaller pieces and then tackle them one by one.

  • Prioritize. Handling tasks as they come in isn't necessarily the most efficient way to get things done. Figure out which tasks need to be done first and update your list as new tasks come in so you know where they fit.

  • Minimize distractions. Surfing the Internet, texting, talking to people in the office... There are a lot of ways to distract yourself from your work. When you need to get things done, close the door and silence your phone. Maybe even disconnect from the Internet so you can focus.

  • Take breaks. All work and no play makes you much less productive, so schedule some down time for yourself. Once an hour or so, go for a short walk, socialize for a few minutes with co-workers, or play a quick online game. Then when it's time to get back to work, you'll be ready to focus.

  • Schedule time for email. Checking and rechecking email takes up a lot of time, and it's not usually very productive. Instead of constantly looking at email, force yourself to only check it no more than once every 20 minutes. That way you won't miss something important, but you also won't be wasting your time.

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