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Tips to Avoid Time Drains on Your Billable Hours

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

Ever see that object lesson with the jar getting filled with rocks and sand?

If you put the sand in first, you might not have room for the rocks. But if you put the rocks in first, the sand fills in the gaps.

It works for lawyers too, especially when it comes to managing interruptions in your busy day. The lesson is to do the big things first and the little ones later because your livelihood may depend on it.

Big Things First

In this scenario, the big things are the billable ones. Unfortunately, little things can be costly when they drain your time.

Nothing sucks time quite like text messages, notifications, browsing, spam (not the somewhat edible kind), etc. Not to name names, but chatty colleagues can be a drain, too.

Here are some suggestions when it's crunch-billable time:

  • Schedule your tasks
  • Close the door
  • Turn off the phone
  • Start the clock

Seriously, if your meter is running you are more likely to keep track of your time. It's not like you're a taxi driver (if anybody does that anymore), but your boss or your client is definitely watching your hours.

Little Things Later

Nobody is saying that a phone call from a loved one is a small thing, but it is not usually a billable thing. So what to do when that call comes in?

You: "Hey, honey. I was just thinking about you."

Other: "Blah, blah, blah."

You: "Oh wow! That's really important. Let's talk about it when I can give you my undivided attention."

Sometimes, you also have to ignore calls. Just think of it as sand, and try not to bury yourself in it.

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