Increase Productivity with Intelligent Scheduling


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.

As my workload continues to rise, along with my desire to leave before six to get home and see my son, I spend more and more time thinking about ways to increase my efficiency and productivity.

Here are a two great tips to help you get more done on any given day.

Schedule tasks based on your energy level

If you like to write in the morning, then schedule client meetings for the afternoon. In the morning, your brain is usually refreshed and has not been beaten down by a day of stress.

On the other hand, if you like to clear the deck of everything else in order to focus on one task, then build your schedule around that.

Spend some time figuring out your preferences and make an effort to design your daily schedule around those preferences. If you can find the right mix, it can result in a big increase in productivity.

Time yourself to help with scheduling

If you time how long it takes to respond to discovery requests, you can block off the right amount of time on your schedule. I am task-oriented worker, which mean I like to work on something from start to finish in one sitting. In reality, that happens very infrequently.

I used to underestimate how long it would take me to complete a task and would only block off 75% of the time needed to finish something. Inevitably, that resulted in getting halfway through something and then pushing it off until later.  That meant extra time spent re-reading what I had already done and getting back into the proper frame of mind for that task. That is a productivity killer.

If you time yourself, you can block off the right amount of time to complete a task. At a minimum, try padding your schedule by 25% for tasks. If you find that you can finish tasks in one sitting, you will dramatically increase your productivity.



Get Lawyerist in Your Inbox, Daily

Current Articles
Current Lab Discussions
  • Joy Wilder

    You raised an excellent point regarding not allowing enough time to complete a task. Padding an additional few minutes to each task will allow for unforeseen interruptions – if they don’t occur it’s a time bonus! Great post…

  • Good advice! I recently read an article on personal productivity that explained that we’re only capable to function at “full speed” for 30/40 minutes – hence the need for frequent short breaks!

    The opposite is also true: to be productive for 30/40 minutes, you’d better turn off your IM, email, and other devices that keep interrupting you during the day :-)