How to be efficient and productive

First and foremost, don’t bite off more than you can chew. One mistake law students and young lawyers make is saying yes to everything only to find out that they can’t do it all. Granted, you have to maintain a full schedule and stay busy, but be sure you budget your time realistically and give each task as much time as necessary, all the while leaving some time for yourself. Keep contemporaneous notes, diligently mark your start and end times on projects, set realistic deadlines and meet those deadlines. Make a concrete plan or overall schedule for your workday, as well as a “mini-plan” for each individual assignment that you begin.

Also consider the following tips for a productivity boost:

  • Learn to use technology wisely and use it to your advantage.
  • Do things right the first time and double-check your final work product, so that you’re not wasting precious time re-doing tasks.
  • When appropriate, learn to simplify your life and learn to delegate: Don’t spend valuable time doing things that you don’t necessarily need or tasks that other people could be doing for you.
  • Assess your productivity periodically to ensure you are doing everything as efficiently as possible. Can you pinpoint any particular habits that prevent you from being efficient? Work on those habits.
  • Make sure your ideals of productivity and efficiency match or surpass the expectations of your professors, employers, supervisors and the like. Remember productivity includes subjective and objective ideals: the best indicator of productivity is whether you’ve reached the goals you’ve set for yourself.
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