Time management is essential to the practice of law. It’s also an important skill for any working professional since there are always more available options in any given day than there is time to seize them.
Legal assistants, in particular, benefit from strong time management skills, since their ability to manage time well and complete tasks promptly provide vital support for the rest of the legal team. Here’s how team leaders can help build time management skills with their teams.
Promote Daily Goal-Setting
The simple task of writing down your three big goals for the day can have a profound effect on how well you manage time to get them done.
Encourage your legal support team to take advantage of this powerful tool by writing down their three most important tasks for the day every morning. Then, ask them to focus only on those three tasks until all three are finished.
By setting the big goals for each day, legal assistants improve their chances of getting those important jobs done. They limit how procrastination or lack of prioritization can interfere with time management.
Ask Before You Assign
Stress occurs when a person feels as if they must confront a challenge for which they are not adequately equipped. Often, the piece of equipment we feel we do not have is time.
Before you assign tasks to legal assistants, check in with them about their existing workload. Often, team members will hesitate to say “no” to an assignment because they don’t want to let down their team – even if it means overworking themselves. By checking in, you can help provide perspective on how the legal assistant is managing their time and whether stress will undermine their performance.
Hold Your Team Accountable
Accountability improves time management by setting an outside expectation for success. Holding your team accountable may take only a few minutes, but produce significant returns in productivity.
Near the end of each day, have each legal assistant send you a quick email listing what they accomplished that day. The knowledge that they have to report in on their accomplishments will help your legal support team focus on getting work done.
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