Weekend Project: Plan Ahead


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.

It’s hard to relax and enjoy the weekend when your head is full of the things you have to do the following week. And it’s hard to have a productive week when you start putting out fires first thing Monday morning instead of prioritizing your tasks.

The challenge when planning a head is to get beyond deadlines and figure out what you will need to be working on, when. Recording a deadline for your brief on your calendar doesn’t block off time to do the actual writing the week before. So let’s start by getting all your work in front of you, in one place.

Step 1: Download the Work Planning Template

Download this work-planning template to get started:

It’s the best way I’ve found to keep track of my cases and prioritize my work week. Even if you use practice management software, a work plan is a valuable supplemental tool.

Step 2: Plan Your Week (and Beyond)

The goal is to get all your active cases onto the work plan, with one case per row (create additional rows as necessary). Here are detailed instructions for using the work plan.

The first time, it may take you an hour to fill out the work plan by using your calendar, pulling up scheduling orders, and clicking through your practice management software. But you will make changes over the next week, and you can clean it up next Sunday evening or Monday morning to start fresh.

Step 3: Put Away Your Work Plan and Relax

When you are finished, you should have a clear picture of everything you need to do on every active matter in your practice. Across the top row, you should have the most important tasks you will be working on every day next week.

Now, put the work plan in your bag or briefcase, give yourself permission to stop thinking about everything on it, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!


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