4-minute read, 10-minute exercise

#Efficiency #Effectiveness #LegalDesign #HumanIntelligence #ModernLawyer

Time equals choice.

When you can control your time, you can control how you spend it. You can do what you want to do and not feel pressure to do what you must do to survive.

But there is one major problem. You can’t buy time.

Yes, you can buy products and services that will save you time. Yes, you can pay to outsource tasks for another person to complete. Yes, you can hire an employee to work for you. But if you’re not careful, you can easily be consumed with new tasks to manage these incentives.

The key is to find the most efficient and effective way to complete each task and learn to trust the process.

Let’s look at our time-saving secrets that you can use to your advantage:

1.       It’s not what you do; it’s how you do it

If you buy a product or service that promises to save you time, but you spend too much time trying to implement it, then you’ve just added to your workload. If you arrange to outsource tasks to someone else but spend too much time preparing detailed briefs, then you’ve just added to your workload. If you hire an employee to work for you, but you spend too much time managing and checking their work, then you’ve just added to your workload.

Think about the purpose of these incentives and keep it simple. Use the product or service that will save you time and stop fussing over it. Outsource the tasks that you choose to someone else and then step back and trust them to do what they do best. Hire that employee and supervise them rather than micromanage them.

Design yourself out of the process of completing the task by having a straightforward method for you to follow every time you need to complete the task.

2.       You don’t have to answer the phone every time it rings

When you answer the phone every time it rings, it distracts you from what you are currently working on. Then, you’ll have more tasks to manage and stress about getting back to your current work.

You can design a process to manage your appointments. Have only one calendar because, hey, there is only one of you. Think about using a booking page so other people can book a time with you, but make sure you are only available for appointments when it’s convenient for you. Think about having regular meetings with people so you can proactively manage the tasks you have with them and they don’t feel like they need to track you down for your time. Think about shortening your appointment times.

Think about the purpose of the tools and processes you use to manage your time. Make it simple and be consistent. If the process is simple and easy to use, people will prefer that over trying to track you down by email or phone. When you show that you are consistent with your time, people will stop worrying about trying to spend more time with you than they need.

Design yourself out of the process of managing your appointments by using automated tools that are readily available.

3.       You don’t have to reply to emails straight away

It can be stressful just trying to keep up with the tsunami of daily inbox activity. Even if you allocate a few sessions per day to power through your inbox, you can end up wasting hours every day.

Consider why people are sending you so many emails. Is it to provide you with information? Is it to ask questions about what will happen next in the matter you are working on with them? Is it to vent about their worries or fears about their matter? Is it for something else?

Think about the tools and processes you could use to cut down on the number of emails you receive. You can use tools to ask clients to upload information to you in an organised manner. You can make sure that your client always knows what you are doing, what they need to do and what will happen next. You can also provide your clients with a consistent opportunity to vent in meetings when you are available to listen and respond with a plan, rather than let numerous emails pile up.

Design a manageable inbox for yourself by being consistent about using other tools and processes and making sure people know when you will reply to them. You won’t be able to eliminate every incoming email, but you will undoubtedly be able to regain a significant amount of time.

4.       You can prepare your answers to initial enquiries in advance

If you take initial calls with people who may or may not be interested in your services, the time spent can add up fast.

You can design a process that answers initial enquiries without someone having to call you. Think about having accurate, up-to-date information on your website. Think about a chatbot for your business. Most importantly, think about outlining a straightforward process for what potential clients should do if they would like to work with you.

Consider the purpose of answering initial enquiries. It is to provide information. Do you need to be personally involved in providing information that is not legal advice?

Design yourself out of the process of providing information by preparing comprehensive and useful information that can be given by others in your team or through an automated process. You can then trust that the information your team provides is what you expect.

5.       You can prepare documents in minutes, not hours

If it takes hours to prepare the documents for each of your matters, you’re losing a vast amount of time each week that you could be committing to developing your legal solutions.

You can use your knowledge, skills and experience to design a range of quality precedent documents to cover the most common legal documents and information guides that you use. You can then develop those precedent documents into highly customised automated documents.

Yes, it takes time to prepare a quality precedent document that includes variations to cover the most common situations. The result? You’ll be able to create lasting change from drafting documents manually to saving time, reducing risk and being able to finish your work quickly.

Consider how you draft a legal document. If you could use a quality, highly customised automated document, you’ll be able to produce documents in minutes not hours. Even if you then spend time manually drafting additional bespoke clauses to suit your client’s specific needs, you’ll still save a significant amount of time overall.

Design a manageable drafting workload by investing time in preparing and maintaining a range of quality, automated documents.

6.       It’s good to be predictable

If you are inconsistent with the way you spend your time, the people around you will worry. To secure time with you, they will jump at any opportunity no matter how disruptive it may be to your workload.

When you design consistency into your schedule, the people around you will come to trust that they will have opportunities to engage with you. You’ll be in control about how and when you engage with people, rather than being reactive and stressed.

Think about why people need to spend time with you and how you can do so productively. Instead of waiting for your team to come to you throughout each day, think about whether you could have a few recurring meetings during the week to manage anything that is not incredibly urgent. Instead of waiting for your clients to identify an issue and contact you, think about whether you could be proactive and regularly meet with your clients for a review of their upcoming needs. Instead of preparing all of your emails, letters and documents from scratch for each matter, think about what information and documents could be drafted in advance to suit your legal solution and use automation to speed up the process of preparing them for each matter. If you would like to work flexible hours, make sure you people only see you working during your work hours.

Design consistency into your schedule so the people around you can plan how they engage with you.

7.       Simplicity is the best

When the processes that you follow are overly complicated, you end up wasting time. The process that you’ve always followed might not be the most efficient and effective use of your time.

You can apply your critical analysis skills to each of the processes you follow during your day and decide whether you can change that process to save time in most instances.

Consider the purpose and desired outcome for each process. If you would like people to be able to make appointments with you and receive reminders, there are plenty of automation tools that can do that. If you’d like to save time and reduce risk when preparing documents, there are automation tools that can help with that. Suppose you would like to provide specific legal advice and reassurance during a stressful period for your clients. In that case, you can consolidate your engagement into a series of meetings rather than respond to piecemeal emails.

Design simplicity into your processes to be naturally appealing and watch how popular your new processes become.

You don’t need to change everything you do at once. Start with the processes that you feel are wasting the most of your time each day and commit to using the most efficient and effective alternative. When you’re ready, work on the next process, that is troubling you.

The result? You will save time.

10-Minute Exercise

Spend the next ten minutes wisely.

Write down the processes that you follow every single day. Now, rank those processes starting with the processes that take up the most of your time.

Finish by making a one-hour weekly appointment with yourself so that you won’t be distracted. In the first session, critically analyse the process that ended up at the top of your list and find an efficient and effective method to replace that process. Use your subsequent sessions to implement your new approach, refine it and then move on to the next process on your list.

What will you do with all the time that you save?

Our Quality, Highly Customised Automated Legal Documents

We have a range of quality, highly customised automated legal documents that you can use now to reduce the time you spend drafting significantly. You don’t need to take out a software subscription, and you only pay for the documents you need.

One of the most energising realisations you’ll ever experience is the fact that it’s simple to prepare your documents in minutes, not hours. Try them now.

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