By Sibila D. Hujic
interruptions in the form of people, phone calls, email, snail mail and text messages are constantly eating away at your time. These interruptions have a way of taking over and the day that you originally planned is gone in the blink of an eye. Take control and don’t let it happen.
Stick with your planned day as much as possible, carve out uninterrupted time. The morning is the best, take a few hours and simply focus on high value tasks that can not be delegated or outsourced. The best time is 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM, leave your phone on DND (Do Not Disturb), turn your cell of and focus. Unless it’s an emergency, the incoming interruption should be tacked on the end of your to do list or delegated. Do not let demands from clients and other take control of your time and day.
What do I do about clients that only want to speak to me? I get this question almost every day. The trick is to keep having your staff return phone calls and try to help the client, encourage them to develop their own relationship with the client, if the client is insistent on speaking with you, make sure to have your staff get the reason and have then interject if they have the answer. If all fails, return the call, maybe it was something only you could answer. Make sure that the clients are told that you are working on their case and to be able to work on their case you might not be able to answer all calls personally. Most will understand and begin calling your secretary or your paralegal with their questions and updates. There will be clients that pressure your staff with their ‘emergencies’, don’t let your staff be pushed around, teach them to stand their ground and be firm.
Acceptable interruptions include court hearings, statute of limitations, NOC deadlines, No-Fault deadline and other situations that if left unaddressed may result in a malpractice lawsuit. If it’s not an emergency, leave it for later, spend your time on tasks and projects that matter. If it is an emergency determine if you MUST handle it or if it can be delegated for someone to take care of today.
One of the most powerful time management tools, is the ability to say ‘no’.