Calendars and lawyers go hand in hand. Whether it’s a sticky note filled day planner or a fancy cloud-based configuration, if an obligation is not on the calendar, it simply does not happen. Yet, even with the fanciest of calendars, some attorneys still manage to miss important deadlines to the detriment of their clients and their cases. Having a calendar is only the battle. Using it correctly is how you win the war.
The following tips will hopefully help you up your calendar game and stay on top of your weekly obligations.
Block it out
One of the latest trends in calendar organization is time blocking. It involves dedicating chunks of time in your day to very specific tasks. Proponents of this calendaring method say that it keeps you on track by reducing procrastination and counterproductive multitasking.
Let’s say you have a day of office work and six important tasks to complete before you leave the office. Determine how much time to allot for each task and block it on your calendar. Then, spend that specified time working and concentrating on that one task. As much as possible, avoid distractions or working on any additional projects.
Calendar blocking is also useful for scheduling periods of time when you know you will not be available. Events like vacations, an anniversary dinner, or your child’s soccer game can all be time blocked onto your calendar to prevent double booking.
Include all the info
When making a calendar entry, include all of the important information within the entry. I don’t just mean the event time and location. I also mean the client’s name and all relevant phone numbers to the event. This can prove a huge time-saver if you have to cancel, or reschedule the event, as well as if you are running late.
A daily and weekly review
Your calendar is there to keep you organized and on track. So, how can it effectively do its job if you hardly ever look at it. Review your calendar on a daily and weekly basis. Whether you do that during the morning or in the evening depends on your personal preference, but I suggest the evening. It gives you an opportunity to review and reflect on your goals for the next day. It also allows you time to ensure that there are no conflicts or forgotten surprises.
A weekly review provides an opportunity to reflect on what you accomplished the week before and what you need to achieve during the upcoming week. This is especially helpful if you are working towards a specific goal or on a large project that requires multiple tasks. With a weekly review, you can gauge your progress and make necessary adjustments towards meeting your goal.
Add it immediately
Don’t wait or procrastinate when it comes to adding calendar entries. Schedule them as soon as or quickly as possible after you make the commitment. Relying on your memory is risky and negates the entire purpose of maintaining a calendaring system. Also, if an item is not reflected on your calendar, your legal assistant may inadvertently schedule another commitment during the same date and time. Taking a moment to mark that time as unavailable can save you from a major headache down the line.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, The Legal Writing Studio, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.