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personal productivity and time management for lawyers

Personal Productivity + Time Management Tips for Lawyers [Guest Post]

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used in place of professional advice, treatment, or care in any way. Lawyers, law students, judges, and other legal professionals in Massachusetts can find more on scheduling a Free & Confidential appointment with a licensed clinician here.

Effective time management allows you to enjoy your time more.

We thank the team at for this helpful guest post.


Your success, either as a solo or as part of a firm, depends on your ability to take on projects and complete tasks that are in line with your goals. Daily demands can often take you off task, however, and cause you to lose sight of the big picture. This is why it is important to implement a personal productivity and time management system.

With the right time system in place, you can work strategically toward your goals while getting more stuff done each day. At Lawyerist, we have created a personal productivity and time management system for lawyers mainly founded on the major tenets of the following:

Getting Things Done. Created by David Allen, Getting Things Done—known as GTD by those who practice it—is a simple process that allows you to manage all the items on your to-do list. GTD gets you away from the worry of all you must do and focused on completing tasks.

Inbox Zero. Merlin Mann took the core of the GTD system and adapted it email. With Inbox Zero, you rid yourself of the distractions of a full inbox while better organizing the emails you must tend to, either straightaway or in the future.

Most Important Tasks. A simple daily practice you can implement immediately, Most Important Tasks (MIT) requires you to write down the top two or three things you must get done on a daily basis. Then, no matter what else happens that day, you get those MITs done.

MASS LOMAP RESOURCE: You can find a review of GTD + MIT from Heidi here. Find tips for reaching Inbox Zero here



Get everything out of your head. Avoid getting bogged down by the to-dos in your head by writing everything down. Use notebooks, Evernote, or even your email to capture everything.

Create lists you can process on a regular basis. Process your lists on a daily or weekly basis. Set a schedule and then stick with it.

Learn the GTD method of processing items. At the core of the GTD system is processing every item as “do,” “delegate,” “defer,” or “drop.” Do items that will take little time, delegate those you can, defer those that will take more time, and drop those that no longer need your attention.

Prioritize your top tasks each day. Pick two or three top tasks and then make sure them get done, no matter what.

Get stuff done. Do not get caught up in list-making activities. Prioritize and then do.

Find a few more winning strategies to increase productivity from Heidi here.

Personal Productivity v. Law Practice Management Software

Do not confuse a personal productivity system for law practice management software. These are not the same thing. While a practice or project management system can keep track of your tasks and appointments, it cannot help you prioritize those tasks or keep your momentum going toward your goals. You can use the two in tandem, however, for increased productivity.

Take the Time to Create a System that Works for You

Creating a new personal productivity habit takes time up front to define and implement. Be patient; give yourself time to find a system that works best for you.

Find more in a 3-part productivity series from Susan that will help you (1) organize projects in 5 steps, (2) overcome obstacles to time management, and (3) manage others for increased productivity.

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This post was delivered by the team. Lawyerist is home to the largest online community of solo and small-firm lawyers in the world, where we help lawyers start, manage, and grow successful practices.

CATEGORIES: Lawyer's Quality of Life | Productivity
TAGS: time management

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