The Science of Productivity: Can lawyer billings be increased by 30%?

productivityCan you raise your billings by as much as 30%? The answer is yes, and this article explains the three simple productivity principles that yield these results.

In a July 22, 2010 article, the Economist states:

“Experts and surveys estimate that between 10% and 30% of hours are never billed by tired and overworked attorneys who cannot keep track of every piece of work they do.”

After being at the Bar for 30 years and now consulting on time management for law firms, I can relate. I hated the billable hour. But, until alternative fee arrangements become the norm, we are stuck with it.

So, what do the productivity experts counsel? I’ve distilled it down to 3 winning steps:

#1 Follow the “Rule of Five”.  First thing each day, create a “closed” to-do list with no more than 5 tasks that you can complete in one workday and do not work off the traditional “open” to-do list that inventories all your to-dos from your busy practice. If you finish the first 5 tasks, add a few more, as time permits.  This practice is attributed in part to Mark Forster in his book “Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management”.

#2 Heed “Parkinson’s Law”. Have you ever noticed if you have a half-day to do something, you’ll often take that much time to get it done? Yet, if you only have one hour, you’ll find a way to get it done? This is known as Parkinson’s Law, which states: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”  Therefore, set mini-work deadlines for each to-do, and work to that deadline. You’ll be much more productive, just like you are the day before vacation. It’s because time for completion is limited. This is attributed to Cyril Northcote Parkinson in an article published in The Economist in 1955.

#3 Listen to “Charles Schwab”. On your daily list of things to-do, number each to-do in the order of their importance and do them in that order one at a time as the daily time permits. If any to-do at the bottom of your list remains unfinished, it becomes #1 the next day.This is attributed to consultant Ivy Lee (1877-1934) as the most profitable advice received by Charles M. Schwab (1862-1939), American steel magnate. Schwab is said to have paid a $25,000 bonus for such simple, but effective advice.

Is there a quick-fix solution? After years of teaching lawyers how to work at peak performance, we have programmed the world’s first modern productivity App for iPhone and iPad users that incorporates these three of principles and includes a host of other time-saving features, including docketing, built-in timers and a delegation manager with built-in email reminders. Designed by a lawyer for lawyers, no other generic productivity App gives you so much control and management.
Download Must Do Legal App from iTunes
Read the free Guide that explains the entire Must Do Legal Time Management System.  Download:

Jeff Morris

Jeff Morris

Lawyer, Executive Coach, Partner at Edge International, a leading law firm consultant, founder of Must Do Legal – an iPhone/iPad app for lawyers who like time management tools. at Must Do Legal
Jeff Morris
Jeff Morris

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