14 Productivity Time-Savers for 2017’s Legal Professionals

Have you ever wished for more hours in the day? Days in the week?

When the caseload gets overwhelming and our to-do lists feel never-ending, we end up feeling forced to make sacrifices in some area of our lives. Usually, that sacrifice comes out of our personal life: vacations, time with family and friends, or down time.

Especially as paralegals, time is taken from you left and right. Your professional bandwidth can only be stretched so thin. When uncontrollable legal circumstances arise (and boy do we know that happens all the time…), your first inclination is to think how you can get more time back in your day. Don’t waste your time going down that path.

Instead, start this New Year with a new motto on productivity. Instead of focusing on how to get time back, start small by changing how you spend your time.

14 tips to save time in 2017 and be more productive

  1. At the end of the day, set your priority list for the next day – getting in this habit will take an extra 10 minutes at the end of your day, but it will also help you actually accomplish what you need to do.
  2. Schedule calendar alerts to remind you of what’s on your priority list – sync your calendar to your phone so you’re prepared wherever you are. Only check your work calendar though during work hours. Save your free time for activities that make you happy.
  3. Look through your calendar before checking your email – every morning, start with your priority list you wrote out the previous afternoon. Then, check to make sure your calendar alerts are all set and you’re prepared for whatever meetings or engagements you have for that day.
  4. Block off time during your day for specific tasks – if you have a big project that must get done quickly, block off time on your calendar to work on that project. Scheduling time to work on projects helps ensure they get accomplished in a timely manner.
  5. Schedule in suspense dates or times – give yourself a due date. If you have a date or time to work toward, you have a higher chance of actually meeting that deadline. It’s like tricking yourself into being held accountable.
  6. Delegate, delegate, delegate – if someone else could easily accomplish this busy work task for you, let them. It’s okay to ask for help so let others jump in where they can.
  7. Use outside resources for tedious tasks – you and your colleagues have enough on your plate to spend too much time on tasks that require very little thought. Temp agencies are out there to help you with these projects. They may cost a small penny (seriously not breaking the bank) so use them when applicable. This will free up any time you would have otherwise spent on busy work.
  8. Don’t overcommit – it’s okay to say no. Sometimes you just have to. There are plenty of resources to help with work if you don’t have the bandwidth, and your family and friends will understand if you need to skip out on whatever outing they have planned. There’s always next time.
  9. Take 15 minutes a day to walk around – refresh your brain and clear your head at least once a day. Taking 15 minutes a day to stroll around the office will get your blood flowing and you’ll actually be more productive for the rest of the day.
  10. Make the most of your peak performance time – yes, this is a real thing. Some people are more productive in the mornings, while others are more productive in the afternoons. When’s your peak performance time? Use that time wisely.
  11. Telecommute – most people think they can’t be productive if they work remotely, but that’s not usually the case. Working from home, even just once a month, can have a profound impact on your quality of life. Think of the time it takes to get up in the morning, get ready, pack a lunch, make coffee, commute to the office… you could end up getting more time back in your day to focus on your most important to-do’s. Try it.
  12. Listen to podcasts – listen to your news instead of reading your news. Turn on your podcast while showering and getting ready in the morning. Your brain will automatically tune in to the news it’s interested in so you’ll get your daily dose of what’s going on in the world while feeling productive.
  13. Don’t turn on the TV the minute you get home from work – the quicker you turn on the TV, the quicker you turn into a couch potato. It’s really hard to turn the TV off and do anything else but watch TV once you have it on. Wait until you’re done with dinner, any household chores, or anything you need to do, before falling into the TV trap.
  14. Reward yourself – if you complete your weekly to-do list, splurge on your favorite sweet treat or take yourself out to your favorite restaurant. Find something that motivates you and use it as leverage.


What do you do to spend your time wisely and get productive?