4 Tips for Working Smarter, Not Harder
Running a law firm is a lot of work.
Not only do you have to juggle your own caseload, but you have to make sure you’re marketing your firm to bring in more clients, manage your employees, handle payroll and accounting, and make sure everyone in the office has enough legal pads and file folders, just to name a few things.
While it may seem as if you don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done at work, let alone have a home life, you crave balance.
When it comes to being able to find that balance in your always-on lifestyle, the old adage, “Work smarter, not harder” is a necessity.
To help you get on the road to being successful in your law firm and having a fulfilling personal life, here are 4 tips to help you work smarter, not harder:
Delegate What You Can
You don’t have to do everything. Even if you’re a sole practice, there are plenty of ways you can delegate out work you need done without hiring tons of full-time employees.
Thanks to the internet, capable virtual assistants can be found for everything from paralegal work such as medical records summaries and correspondence drafting to answering telephones and scheduling appointments. If you need full-time help but can’t afford to pay someone benefits, hiring a contractor VA is a great option that gives you a reliable worker without the high cost. And if you don’t have enough work to bring someone on full-time, there are VAs available to take on as much or as little work as you need.
If you’re looking into hiring a VA, there are many services that screen applicants for you, sort of like specialized staffing services. This helps you get the highest-quality applicants possible without having to wade through hundreds of resumes on your own.
Some tasks that can be delegated to a VA include:
- Correspondence drafting
- Drafting pleadings
- Summarizing medical records
- Preparing digital copies of trial or deposition binders
- Organizing digital filing systems
- Onboarding practice management software
- Billing & accounting
- Phone answering
- Appointment scheduling
- And more
Even 5-10 hours per week of outsourced help frees up your time to focus on other things.
There is such thing as too much of a good thing, and that is especially true for technology and connectivity.
It may seem like a good idea to be answering clients’ frantic emails and text messages late at night and on weekends, but the truth is things are very rarely emergencies and you’re just creating more stress for yourself. By never leaving work at work, and never disconnecting from your devices, you never give you brain the chance to recuperate from your long work days, which can easily lead to burnout and decrease in productivity.
Rather than having the always-available mentality, put limits on your technology use after business hours and on weekends. Consider turning off notifications to your work email client on the weekends, or turn your phone off entirely if possible. You’ll walk back into the office Monday morning feeling refreshed and ready to take on the new week.
Pause for Reflection
Going through your days from task to task may make you seem productive, but if you’re not really taking time to think about the work you’re doing and why, you’re just finishing busy work.
Take some time at least twice per year to think about what you want out of your life – both professionally and personally – and how you can achieve those goals. Doing this quarterly is an even better idea, as it allows you to check in more frequently and adjust your methods.
Use these goals to create your monthly, weekly, and even daily work plans. While you won’t be able to spend 100% of your time actively working on these larger goals, setting the goals and determining the steps to attaining them is half the battle.
At the end of each week, take 15-30 minutes to reflect on the previous week – what progress you made toward achieving your goals, whether you got bogged-down in menial tasks, and what you can do better next week. During this time, also spend some time looking forward to the week ahead and determining what obligations you have, what steps you want to take toward your goals, and then filling in any extra space with other tasks.
Put Systems in Place
Does it always feel as if you’re struggling to find that document you need right when you need it? Or does your calendar feel like a giant jumble of appointments, many of which get canceled at the last minute?
You need solid systems to back up your law firm’s processes so you can find and manage everything the same way, each and every time.
If you don’t already have practice management software, invest in it. This software will be invaluable for keeping all that information about client files – notes from telephone conversations with doctors, addresses and phone numbers, billing information for copies and medical records orders – that would otherwise be scattered throughout different papers and places in the filing cabinet.
Most of these systems also come with built-in calendars so you can keep track of appointments and other schedule items, connecting them up with each client’s file.
In addition to practice management software, you need to create conventions for things such as naming and numbering your client files, taking phone messages, and writing emails. If you get a system in place for even these small items, onboarding a new employee is simply a matter of teaching them the system, making it easier for them to learn the ropes.
Experienced National & International Process Server
Having someone who knows what they’re doing serve your law firm’s official documents – Complaints, Judgments, and Summonses – quickly, accurately, and at a price you can afford is invaluable to the smooth running of your business. You need a process service team like the one at Torri’s Legal Services to get the job done.
Work smarter with Torri’s Legal Services. Call today for a quote!