Bob Bly, the director of the Center for Technical Communication has an article on LinkedIn entitled “10 Ways to Get More Done in Less Time” (granted the idea is contrary to the billable hour philosophy, but I won’t go there). I got to thinking how his tips are applicable to lawyers in both their law practice and in developing business.
Here are six of his ideas that particularly struck a chord:
- Don’t be a perfectionist. As Bly says, “Be excellent but not perfect.” Sometimes clients just do not want to pay for perfect, if that is even attainable. And when it comes to marketing, trying to plan the perfect strategy or tactic to bring in business, will only delay getting results sooner;
- Free yourself from the pressure to be an innovator. Everything you do does not have to be a “masterpiece.” Do the best you can, and don’t worry about it being new and different. “Most successful…solutions are just common sense packaged to meet a specific need;”
- Don’t waste time working on projects you don’t have yet. Boy, have I been guilty in this regard. Does “don’t count your chickens…” come to mind? There is nothing like jumping on the “new” project or chasing new potential work, that never happens nor has a chance of happening;
- Make deadlines firm but adequate. Can’t recount the number of times I have heard of lawyers promising to get a new project completed by “next week” when they haven’t a chance, based on other commitments, of getting it done in a month. As I have argued many a time, set realistic deadlines, and then beat them – whether it is a client matter or an article for publication . See Under Promise, Over Deliver Your Services;
- Stay focused. Multi-tasking can not only be dangerous (as in texting while driving), but also unproductive. So, stay on task until completion, whenever possible. It will save a ton of time over the long haul by not having to spend time catching up after being interrupted; and
- Do work you enjoy (and for clients you enjoy working with). I’ve commented on this idea a few times in the past. Lawyers will have less pressure in their lives doing work they enjoy for clients they like. See Enjoy Your Practice and Your Clients.
For the other four ideas, check out his article. Collectively, they should help grow your practice by increasing efficiency.