Setting priorities in your law practice
“We realize our dilemma goes deeper than shortage of time; it is basically a problem of priorities. We confess we have left undone those things that ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.”
Charles E. Hummel
Because of all the competing demands on your time it’s important to determine the difference between doing what’s important and what’s urgent (and not necessarily important) and set your priorities on doing what’s important. Here are two ideas to help you set priorities in your law practice.
1. Rely on Your Values
What’s important to you will depend on your values, principles, and goals. Your values are not morals, but rather beliefs that are the foundation of what matters and is important to you. Your firm or personal mission statement can help you stay focused on your values.
The sense of satisfaction from practicing comes from being in alignment with your core or important values. Since it’s difficult to work in accordance with your values if you don’t know what they are identify your core values to help you make choices or decisions within your practice.
2. Use the Pareto Principal or 80/20 Rule
Applying the 80/20 rule, or Pareto principal, to your work load can help you prioritize. The 80/20 rule states that the relationship between input and output is not balanced. When applied to work, it means that approximately 20 percent of your efforts produce 80 percent of your results. Recognizing and focusing on that 20 percent is the key to setting priorities that will result in an effective use of your time.
- Ask yourself; is what I’m about to do in the 20% or 80% category?
- Use the 80/20 rule to identify your unproductive time wasters.
Set your priorities by identifying and eliminating tasks that are not in alignment with your values and goals and are in the 80% category. Then be realistic about what you can accomplish. You can’t do everything all at once, so be diligent about eliminating tasks that won’t benefit you.
If you would like coaching on how to get better at prioritizing your time in your law practice, please contact me , Irene Leonard, Business Lawyer Coach to see how I can assist you.