In a post I wrote for my friends at Attorney at Work back in December dealing with the issue of productivity, I explained that “work is like fitness — it’s best done in short bursts of intensity, followed by periods of rest and recovery. So start the day with a sprint.”
It’s easy to get into the office and start ticking off the easy stuff. It can be satisfying to immediately dig into email and begin volleying correspondence back and forth with clients, colleagues and adversaries. It’s busywork, and busy feels productive.
The problem, of course, is that the moment you get through your inbox, a new batch of messages is waiting for you. Before you know it, 6 p.m. rolls around and the brief, presentation or transaction that you need to get done for the next day hasn’t even been started.
Time management isn’t necessarily the issue. At least that’s not the lead domino. There’s never enough time in the day! No matter how skilled a manager you may be, you can’t manage your way through the chaos of your day without understanding the hierarchy of your priorities. In this sense, effective people practice “time curation” as opposed to “time management.” They discern. They pick and choose. They prioritize. And then they ruthlessly honor, defend and work in accordance with those priorities.
In a follow up post for Attorney at Work that was published last week, I dug deeper into the issue of lawyer productivity. This post deals not only with the importance of productivity, it also lays out four productivity practices that form the building blocks of effective, efficient and happy lawyers. To read the post, click here.