Time management tips for law associates

October 5, 2018

Often, when my desk gets busy, I find myself wondering if I am doing the right thing at the right time. Legal recruiters manage multiple searches in various stages at a time, much like law associates juggle multiple files at once. Each project has its own requirements and needs to be organized and prioritized. Otherwise, certainly in my case, my desk can get away from me – quickly.

So, whether you’re new a newly minted lawyer, or have a few years of experience, it’s always good to do a self-check in to see if you’re making the most of your time and setting yourself up to work efficiently and, most importantly, effectively.

Here are some quick tips to help you stay focused and tuned in, so you can end your work day satisfied and be prepared for the next:

Take a few minutes to plan your day. At the end of your workday, think about what you want to accomplish tomorrow and how each task ties into the bigger picture of your desk and your role at the firm, then prioritize them. If you have a project that feels overwhelming, break it down into smaller pieces. As you complete each piece, it will amplify your sense of accomplishment and you will feel encouraged to take on the next step.

Affirm your purpose. Write down a sentence that sums up the purpose for your day and place it within eyeshot. Glance at it when you feel your mind wandering or you’re feeling discouraged by a specific task.

Give yourself breaks. It may seem counter-intuitive to take a break during a busy day, but even a few minutes every hour can clear your mind and give you the space you need to bolster creativity and productivity.

Minimize distractions. Set aside time without any interruptions to allow you to focus on the task at hand. Close your office door. Unplug from your phone, email, and social media. Then put on your headphones and listen to unobtrusive sounds like a recording of a rainstorm.

Stop procrastinating. Do what you can now, because waiting will not make the task any easier and may very likely make it more difficult. Furthermore, chances are the sooner you tackle it, the better the outcome.

Realize you’re only human. If you consistently find yourself not accomplishing what you need to, you probably have unrealistic expectations of yourself. While you may argue that work needs to get done, keep in mind that there may be ways to leverage technology to get your work done faster.

Juggling the demands of a legal career can be challenging at the best of times, but with some preparation and organizational tools, you can help set yourself up for success to make the most of your time. What are your tips for staying on top of your desk?

If you are thinking about your options in the market as a legal associate, contact me below for a confidential discussion.

The Counsel Network is Canada’s leading lawyer recruitment firm specializing in associate, partner and in-house roles.

For more tips and legal career advice, visit our Associate Career Resources page.

Jordan Priest, Recruitment Associate



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