Being Productive During Down Periods


Personal Productivity for Lawyers

This quick-start guide to Getting Things Done and Inbox Zero also includes two shortcuts for those who want the benefits of GTD without having to learn the system.

Many lawyers experience erratic ebbs and flows in their workload. One week they do not leave the office before seven-thirty, the next week they count the minutes to the clock hits four. Motivating yourself during the slow times, however, can lead to long-term success.

Networking gets you out of the office

If you have a lower workload one week, networking is one easy way to eat up some time. Offer to go to someone’s office and buy them lunch. Go to an alumni event (for perhaps the first time). Go volunteer for a few hours. If business is slow, sitting in your office is unlikely to drum it up. Do some old-fashioned networking and see if it leads to something.

Work someplace different

Are you thinking about branching into a new practice area? Go to your alma matter and read the practice series in the library. Pick up a CLE manual and head to the local coffee shop to do some reading (or even sit outside).

Learning another practice area can be exciting, but it can also be boring. Working somewhere else sounds so simple, but it can really help you re-energize. It will also cut down on the normal workplace distractions.

Rework old forms and memos or create new ones

Think of it like housecleaning. If you can dedicate a couple hours a day to reworking one of your most-used forms, that will pay off big-time in the long run. When you are working on the fly, a complete overhaul is daunting, if not impossible. When you have lots of free time, however, you can approach old memos with a new eye and add some new spice to them.

If you have been extremely busy with the same types of motions, now is the time to create a form for the future. Obviously the facts are different for every case, but many of the arguments are similar. Now is the time to put together a solid starting piece for future memorandums.


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