All layers know that there are only so many hours in the day and they are usually filled with more work than one can handle. A good time management system may help to increase the efficiency of the lawyers at your law firm and keep them from having to work extended hours. Every lawyer wants to find ways to increase their work/life balance. For those attorneys looking for more time in the day, the tried and true Pomodoro technique may just be your next best secret.
How the Pomodoro Technique Works
Most likely you are familiar with the Pomodoro technique of time management. Pomodoro means tomato in Italian and the method was named for a little tomato-shaped kitchen timer that is used to segment time to improve productivity. Tasks are divided into intervals that are 25 minutes in length, although you can adapt the length of time to fit your needs. First, you make a list of tasks that must be accomplished throughout the day. Then you set the timer and work on the first task. When the timer signals the end of the time period you have reached your goal and achieved one Pomodoro point.
The goal is to work to task completion to meet your daily goals. You need to list and prioritize your tasks to create a schedule for the day. Attorneys may not be used to working in this manner; however, it can be extremely beneficial because the technique reduces the amount of wasted time to improve productivity across your law firm. The method is very easy to learn and practice.
Related Article: Looking for other lawyer productivity tips and hacks? Read our 7 Time Management Tips Every Attorney Should Know.
1) It Avoids Interruptions
Interruptions are a common occurrence in all offices, but can be particularly disruptive for attorneys. The Pomodoro method keeps interruptions to a minimum by requiring you to wait until the current time period is over to respond to another request. Using this method the average length of time that someone would need to wait to speak to you would be 12.5 minutes.
To keep from being interrupted you should inform the person that you are not currently available and negotiate a time when you will be available. It is important that you follow through and contact the person at the negotiated time so that he knows you will get back to him and he won’t interrupt you in the future. By saving small snippets of time you will help improve overall legal firm efficiency.
2) It Improves Concentration
Legal work takes a great deal of concentration. To add to the problem, lawyers are usually working on many cases at the same time. This can lead to a situation that might be less productive than you would like. The Pomodoro technique is useful because it teaches you to concentrate on just one thing at a time. By breaking up tasks into smaller chunks they are easier to manage and it is possible to concentrate more fully on each task at hand. The timer is just a tool that is useful when learning the technique. Once you understand the concept you will begin to be able to work without the use of a timer if you feel it is not necessary.
Focusing on just one task and one client case at a time can increase legal firm efficiency. You can delve more deeply into a particular job without having to continually start over again. The method trains your mind to continue working on one task until it is successfully completed. In addition to completing jobs more quickly and proficiently, you will also gain a feeling of accomplishment after having reached each small goal throughout your day.
3) It Reduces Distractions
Distractions cause you to stop what you are doing and change directions. When this happens it can take time to get back into the task, even if the distraction lasted just a minute or two. Distractions come in a variety of forms. Phone calls, voicemails, texts and personal interactions are all distractions. You can also become distracted by losing your train of thought or thinking about other things that you need to do. The Pomodoro method lets you immerse yourself fully into one specific job without drifting to other assignments.
When the entire office is working with the same method it can improve productivity by an even greater level. With every lawyers working together to achieve better effectiveness you will find that the firm on a whole is better able to achieve its goals and become more successful.
Related Article: With less distractions in the office it’s easier to focus on writing better legal documents. Read our “6 Tips to Improve The Quality Of Your Legal Documents.”
Learn New Habits
One of the most important reasons to use the Pomodoro technique is to learn how to better manage your time. You will soon begin to notice the things that cause you to lose concentration so you can stop paying attention to them. Instead, you will be able to prioritize your tasks and stick to your list to accomplish more in a day than you thought possible.
These new habits are also a way to reduce overall stress and gain a feeling of control over your career. By meeting all your small goals you will be better able to end your day with a feeling of triumph. You will be able to shave time off your workday when you reduce your workload through more efficient practices across your law firm.
Start Adopting the Pomodoro Method Today
You can adapt the Pomodoro method to needs of your law firm. Certainly, it is necessary to take important calls when they come in and that is to be expected. Therefore, you need to be able to make exceptions to the rules from time to time. Yet, the method can be successful if you can tailor when needed. In addition to improving overall law firm productivity, the method is also helpful for keeping better track of time spent on individual clients.
There are various ways to incorporate the method to increase the productivity of the lawyers in your office. Teaching the basics of time management skills to your team members will give them a better appreciation for the process and allow them to be considerate of everyone’s time. Every situation is different so it is best to review the results of using the method and make any changes that will improve the results for your law firm.
Tips like the Pomodoro Method are great making your law firm more productive and efficient. With the right type of legal software, you can create even more available time during the day. Infoware’s Word LX software was created from the ground up to make work days shorter for lawyers. Word LX lets lawyers save up to 49 minutes a day!