You are here:
  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Blog
  4. 10 actionable productivity tips for legal professionals

10 actionable productivity tips for legal professionals

18 April 2017

There’s one big thing that’s killing our ability to focus and give our work the attention it requires: digital distraction — the overwhelming bombardment of text messages, emails, pop-ups, news feeds, and updates from which it is almost impossible to hide.


That's a big problem, especially if you work in a profession like the law where just one mistake on a crucial filing could have serious consequences.

However, if you can break out of this so-called "digital haze" then the benefits for both you and your firm could be enormous. Regain the ability to concentrate and give tasks the focus they require, and you'll quickly find that both you and your colleagues can accomplish more.

Avoiding distractions is easier said than done, though. Here are 10  practical and actionable tips to get you started on the path to distraction-free productivity.

1. Write to-do lists

The key to a good to-do list is to avoid filling a page with every conceivable task you can think of. Instead, keep it feasible. The best to-do lists focus in on a few important tasks and rank order them in terms of "must do," "should do," and "could do." Remember, too, to separate projects from tasks - your to-do list should have short, specific items that are achievable in a day.

2. Schedule time to work

Usually, we use our calendar to organize meetings and other events. Few people use it to block out periods of time to focus on critical tasks and to indicate to others that they'd prefer not to be disturbed during these times. You're far better at focusing on complex, cognitively intensive tasks in the morning, so try to push meetings into the afternoon.

3. Exercise

Researchers are showing that physical activity can have  profound effects on your brain. Even small amounts of exercise during the day, such as a lunchtime walk or a short stretching session, can boost memory, improve concentration, and even enhance creativity.

4. Sleep well

If you're regularly sleeping fewer than 7 hours a night, then the chances are that you're more likely to make mistakes than if you were well rested. A study in a major health journal recently found that a sleepless night contributes to a 20-32 percent % increase in the number of errors made.  So, focus on sleeping well to ensure that you're on your best game during the day.

5. Tidy up

Is your workspace a mess? What about your laptop's desktop? Your email inbox? It might seem trivial to spend time cleaning up, but there's growing evidence that an organized work environment - both physically and digitally - is essential to your ability to focus. Try to spend a few minutes at the end of every day tidying away stationery, papers, and other desk clutter.  

6. Schedule time for emails

Apparently, the average professional services office worker spends  almost a third of their day reading and writing emails. Some people (perhaps you're one of them) get hundreds of emails daily. That sort of volume requires planning to manage. Turn off the automatic email alerts and schedule specific chunks of time to read emails to avoid distraction.

7. Master your tools

Becoming familiar with the software and tools that you use every day, including learning some of the many time-saving short-cuts, can help you to achieve more during the day. Even if you're an experienced user of tools like Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat, the chances are that there are time-saving features you're not aware of but could be benefiting from.

8. Use anti-distraction tools

To properly focus you need to stop the barrage of alerts, beeps, bleeps and updates. To an extent, you can do this by disabling email notifications and placing your mobile phone or tablet out of sight. However, properly disconnecting may require blocking certain websites for defined periods of time. 

9. Reduce background noise

Even if you didn't get a fancy pair of sound-blocking headphones over the holidays, you can still take steps to minimize noise-based distractions. If your office is too loud, try some instrumental music (if classical music isn't your thing, I find movie soundtracks work pretty well).

10. Pick up the slack by outsourcing some tasks

If you're totally swamped, but not to the extent that you need to hire a new member of staff, then it's well worth considering outsourcing options.

This article was previously published on the One Legal website, and is reproduced with kind permission.

Read the original article

Tags: business | emotional resilience | stress | wellbeing | education and training

About the author

Richard Heinrich is the senior marketing manager at One Legal and an ambassador for the Foundation for Sustainable Development, a San Francisco-based non-profit organisation. He previously worked for the Law Society. Follow Richard on Twitter

  • Share this page:
Authors

Adam Johnson | Adele Edwin-Lamerton | Alex Barr | Alex Heshmaty | Alexandra Cardenas | Amanda Jardine Viner | Amy Heading | Andrew Kidd | Andy Harris | Anna Drozd | Annaliese Fiehn | Anne Waldron | Asif Afridi and Roseanne Russell | Bansi Desai | Barbara Whitehorne | Barry Wilkinson | Ben Hollom | Bob Nightingale | Caroline Roddis | Caroline Sorbier | Catherine Dixon | Ciaran Fenton | David Gilroy | David Yeoward | Douglas McPherson | Dr Sylvie Delacroix | Duncan Wood | Elizabeth Rimmer | Emily Miller | Emma Maule | Gary Richards | Gary Rycroft | Graham Murphy | Hayley Stewart | Ignasi Guardans | James Castro Edwards | Jayne Willetts | Jeremy Miles | Jerry Garvey | Jessie Barwick | Joe Egan | Jonathan Andrews | Jonathan Smithers | Julian Hall | Julie Ashdown | Julie Nicholds | Karen Jackson | Kate Adam | Kayleigh Leonie | Keiley Ann Broadhead | Kerrie Fuller | Kevin Poulter | Larry Cattle | Laura Devine | Leah Glover and Julie Ashdown | LHS Solicitors | Lucy Parker | Mark Carver | Mark Leiser | Markus Coleman | Martin Barnes | Matthew Still | Meena Toor | Melissa Hardee | Neil Ford | Nick Denys | Nick Podd | Pearl Moses | Penny Owston | Peter Wright | Philippa Southwell | Preetha Gopalan | Rachel Brushfield | Ranjit Uppal | Richard Coulthard | Richard Heinrich | Richard Messingham | Richard Miller | Richard Roberts | Rita Oscar | Rob Cope | Robert Bourns | Robin Charrot | Rosy Rourke | Saida Bello | Sam De Silva | Sara Chandler | Sarah Austin | Sarah Crowe | Sarah Henchoz | Sarah Smith | Shereen Semnani | Sophia Adams Bhatti | Steve Deutsch | Steve Deutsche | Stuart Poole-Robb | Susan Kench | Suzanne Gallagher | Tom Ellen | Tony Roe Solicitors | Vanessa Friend

Tags

access to justice | anti-money laundering | apprenticeships | archive | artificial intelligence | Autumn Statement | bid process | brand | Brexit | British Bill of Rights | Budget | business | careers | centenary | charity | city | communication | Conservatives | conveyancing | court closures | court fees | courts | CPD | criminal legal aid | cyber security | David Cameron | development | Diversity Access Scheme | diversity and inclusion | education and training | elderly people | emotional resilience | employment law | equality | European Union | Excellence Awards | finance | George Osborne | human rights | human trafficking | immigration | in-house | International Womens Day | Investigatory Powers Bill | IT | Jeremy Corbyn | justice | knowledge management | Labour | law management | Law Society | leadership | legal aid | legal professional privilege | LGBT | Liberal Democrats | library | Liz Truss | Magna Carta | mass data retention | mediation | members | mention | mentoring | merger | modern slavery | morale | National Pro Bono Week | Parliament | party conferences | personal injury | Pii | politics | president | pro bono | productivity | professional indemnity insurance | represent | retweet | risk | rule of law | security | social media | social mobility | SRA | staff | strategy | stress | talent | tax | tax credits | team | technology | Theresa May | Time capture | training | Twitter | UKIP | value proposition | website | wellbeing | Westminster weekly update | wills