As paralegals (and just quite possibly as humans), we all want to get as much done in a certain amount of time as possible. Some of you have a core number of billable hours that must be met for any number of reasons (or you will have once you get out in to the cold, cruel world).
Someone on Twitter asked me about the Five Ds of Time Management. Those in my Law Office Management class this past term will know them. Adhere to them and they can help you very well through out many aspects of your life.
- Do it – if it will take you less than five minutes, just do it. Why keep putting it off and keeping it in your mind? You will get a sense of accomplishment in your day if you simply do it. You will have one less thing on your list.
- Defer it – if it takes more than five minutes AND you are in the middle of something, defer it. However, write it down. It has been said that dreams become goals if you set a date to it. That goes just about the same with anything you need to accomplish. Make a deadline for your goal. Create reminders. Task Manager is your friend. If you have an Apple product, Any.Do is a great (and free) app to help you out. I use it.
- Delegate it – remember that a paralegal is something very special to an attorney / firm. What’s that? Well, aside from being the right hand person, we are also PROFIT. Can you delegate the task to make time for something billable? Can you delegate it so you can work on something more substantive? This also goes well for students. Can your child unload / load the dishwasher?
- Dump it – honestly, do you think you will reply to that six month old email or follow through on finding that special purple collar for your neighbor’s daughter’s best friend’s dog? Not likely. Get rid of it. Just clean it out. I promise you will feel better having one less thing on your plate.
- Desk management – so…there was this one time at…squirrel! How often are you getting distracted by the things around you? There are times that I get distracted when making lesson plans, grading, or writing. I have been known to take my lap top and go somewhere without Internet. Are there things on your desk distracting you? Get rid of things in your peripheral vision. Only keep the tools you absolutely need for your assignment / case with you. This will help you keep focused.