The following is a guest blog post by Ritu Goswamy, Esq. Ritu is a lawyer, author, and legal productivity consultant. Ritu’s first book, The New Billable Hour: Bill More Hours, Be More Productive, and Still Have Work-Life Balance, is available for free by emailing her at ritu[at]newbillablehour.com.
“Productivity” is defined as the measure of output per unit of input. To get an increase in productivity, you need greater input efficiency. Here’s how lawyers can apply this principle to increase their productivity and make their practice more rewarding on every level.
Lawyers generally measure productivity by “output” such as billable hours and completed cases. Greater success will come when we focus instead on the “input,” including our time, energy, expertise, compassion, interest, intellect, and knowledge.
You can change your input to increase your productivity by taking these three steps:
- Set an intentional career goal. You may be overwhelmed by reacting to what comes at you during the day-to-day practice of law. To get on a more productive track, take some time to consider where you’re headed in a conscious, intentional way. Either on your own or with a consultant, name your goal for your work and life. This could be a certain amount of money that you want to make, a number of clients that you want to serve, or reaching a career milestone.
- Evaluate your input. Next, analyze what you’re putting into your work. For example, are you taking cases that drain your energy or bore you? Do you take on professional or personal commitments out of obligation? Who are you spending time with and where are they headed? Where do you get your information and what kind of media are you consuming? Consider whether your inputs are moving you toward your goal or if they are setting you back.
- Make changes. Once you understand your current inputs, you can change them so that they align with your career goal. What you bring into your life is a choice that you control. You can choose your clients, how you spend your time, whether you learn a new area of law, and how you share your expertise. Through these choices, you’re determining the direction for your practice and your productivity.
The key to increasing your productivity as a lawyer is in changing the inputs that you allow into your practice. Take a fresh look at your behavior patterns. Try something new. Keep your career goal in focus so that you can manage distractions more easily. Whenever an input doesn’t serve the goal that you set, change it so that it does.
To help you formulate and reach your career goals, check out these CEB programs, available On Demand: Sustainable Legal Careers, Legal Careers Outside the Box, How to Hang Your Shingle: Choosing Your Practice Area (free program).
Other CEBblog™ posts you may find useful:
- 5 Ways Lawyers Can Maximize Their Time
- The Big Switch: Answers to Questions about Changing Practice Areas
- How to Be a Happier Lawyer
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