Google it?” – The transitive verb Google means “using the Google search engine to obtain information on something or somebody on the World Wide Web.”  The term was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006.  The first recorded usage of the word was in 1998 when Google co-founder, Larry Page, wrote “have fun and keep googling.”  Add to that the multitude of how-to videos to be found on YouTube and you have a veritable arsenal of helpful information to get your time, and your virtual office, in great shape.

Time Management Is An Art Form— Often considered old fashioned, old school type lawyers had it right in so many ways.  They had systems in place to organize their time and workload.  They used dictation machines to record their thoughts, worked with secretaries who took shorthand (and actually read what they typed), and all law firms had a tickler calendar for ongoing reminders of important dates.  Courts didn’t have e-filing so it took longer to get things done.  That meant planning ahead.

Fast Forward To Today– We have instant everything – so we wait to the last minute to get things done, because we know we can.  Constantly being on edge is burning people out and many lawyers leave the profession after as little as a year because of the billable hours requirements.

We’ve Come Full Circle– We want our quality of life back.  Enter the Virtual Assistants – those people who can help get tasks done quickly and efficiently, free up the attorney’s time and reduce stress.  VA’s are extremely organized because time is money.  Here are some of my best tips on time management.

  1. Invest in yourself.  Take the time to figure out how you work best.  Are you a visual learner?  A procrastinator?  What makes you tick?  Half the battle is knowing yourself.
  2. Carry a scheduleand record your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week.  You will soon see how much time is spent producing results and how much is wasted on unproductive things.
  3. Use appointments, not to-do lists.  Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it.  To-do lists only grow longer.  Instead, make appointments with yourself and create time blocks for priority items.  Schedule start/stop times to keep you on track.
  4. Plan for interruptions.  Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day.  Don’t skip this step, it can be the most important part of your day.
  5. Take 5 minutes before every meeting or phone call to decide what result you want to attain.  This will help you to know what success looks like before you start.
  6. Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing – or emails because they just popped up.  Disconnect instant messaging.  Instead, block time to answer calls and emails daily.
  7. Block out distractions like Facebook and social media, unless you use these tools to generate business.  Schedule time for these activities after your priorities are dealt with.

Remember – 20% of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80% of your results.