Spring weather is upon us. Now there’s one more hour of beautiful daylight to remind law firm professionals of their tortuous billable hours indoors.
But, here are five ways you can make those last few workweek tasks go by quickly and efficiently.
#1: Change your seating position.
It’s amazing how the monotony of sitting at the same desk in the same chair can slow down your thinking speed. At first you didn’t realize it. Between the occasional stretching and bathroom breaks, you didn’t think you were any less productive.
Unfortunately, what you don’t realize is that while your body fights the aches and agony of your uncomfortable sitting position, you brain is shifting focus, too. It’s needing more and more coffee breaks or other excuses to get up and about.
Humans are no meant to be sedentary. But, if we have to, take a moment to adjust your working arrangement.
Instead of sitting at your desk, throw a pillow on the floor and lean back on your office wall. Try to work like that for one hour.
If that’s not possible. Stand up. You’ll be amazed at what a little bit of blood flow can do to reanimate your voice on a conference call, or rejuvenate your energy levels to read (and eventually respond to) that brief.
#2: Go outside.
Most associates realize that going outside the office during your 9 to 5 work window is taboo. But, if your productivity is waning, why not work outdoors.
Sit on a park bench for thirty minutes while you read emails or go through your to-do list. If you’re waiting to talk a colleague, forward your calls to your cell phone. A breath of fresh air will literally breathe life back into your stagnating work.
#3: Separate your afternoon in 15-minute intervals.
When you’re short of focus, start separating your tasks into quarters of an hour. Fifteen minutes to read discover. Fifteen minutes to start writing that brief. Fifteen minutes to respond to email. And, finally, you’ll find that it’s suddenly just fifteen minutes until your can go home.
#4: Give yourself rewards.
It’s Friday afternoon and you can’t wait to coordinate your dinner plans or evening activity. Maybe you’ve been meaning to call home. Or, make a grocery list for dinner.
At the same time, you feel guilty that your mind is already wandering away from work and the day isn’t quite over.
This is a problem easily solved. Identify a task—it can be small—that must be completed before you leave. Maybe you need to read at least 10 more pages. Perhaps you’ve put off writing a one-page memo.
Make a manageable task more enjoyable by creating a reward for completing it. Say, five minutes of facebook time per thirty minutes of uninterrupted reading? If you create two or three reward-based tasks, you’ll be surprised at how much your work pace picks up so you can take personal calls guilt-free.
The hidden truth to productivity is allocating resources where they’re best fit to serve your firm. So, if you’ve been juggling to work done, evaluate who in the office has a more open schedule. Identify which associates have the skill sets to best complete your assignment.
The problem with most managers is they don’t understand how to effectively delegate. Therefore, they don’t do it. This is just adding more paper to the pile. Delegation can be hard work, but pays off in productivity in the end.
So, this Friday afternoon, maybe you should be reading The Center For Competitive Management’s guide: Effective Delegation: Strategies to Improve Performance and Productivity.
This essential tool provides process-driven delegation techniques, skills, and ideas that will give you more time to dedicate to strategic goals, and expand your achievements beyond what you personally can accomplish.
The only culprit keeping you in the office this afternoon is you.