The life of a lawyer can be a roller coaster. Some weeks you never leave the office before sunset, other weeks you can take two-hour lunch breaks.

When you find yourself with lots of free time, here are ways to stay productive.

Get out of the office

If you have been burning the midnight oil for weeks straight, take an afternoon off, or even take a long weekend if you can. Sometimes the best way to spur productivity is to take a break and let your mind relax. When you come back, you should feel recharged.

If you refuse to take an afternoon off, head to coffee shop and at least work from a more relaxed atmosphere for a change of pace.

Marketing, marketing, marketing

Slow days and weeks are great times to reschedule all those lunches you cancelled because of your busy schedule. If coffee is your thing, then schedule coffee meetings. Whatever your preference, make use of your time while you still have it.

If you started a blog six months ago but have not written a new post in a month, take a few hours to write some new material. If you use WordPress, write a couple posts and schedule them in advance. When things get busy, your blog will still post new material without taking up your time.

Work ahead if possible

If you refuse to take time off or spend time marketing, then try and work ahead and avoid another stretch of working late.

While you cannot always predict when a case will explode, lawyers still tend to wait until the last minute to write briefs. If you have deadlines in a few weeks, taking a couple hours now to work ahead and help avoid a glut of work later. You do not have to finish things, but getting a head start now can make things easier later.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/4556099850)