Are you tired of working 60+ hours in a week?
I’ve worked with a number of attorneys over the years and most of them are working more than 60 hours a week. They rarely don’t work on weekends. But they are frustrated because they feel like they are chained to their desks.
So the question they should be asking is, “How can I work a reasonable amount of time and still make the same amount of money?”
Many attorneys look at this as impossible. It is just the way it has always been. You work really hard and then you hopefully retire and get to do all the things you missed out while you were working really hard.
This past week I was talking to a few attorneys over lunch who asked me to look at their processes. When I asked them what their goals were for the two days I was going to be with them, they said that they really wanted to just work 45 hours a week. They were tired of the 60+ hour work week.
I told them that in order to reach their goal they are going to have to not only invest in processes but they had to make processes a way of daily life.
What does that mean?
Well, most attorneys don’t have defined processes. But the process is what gives you freedom to know that everything is getting done the way it needs to be done.
For example, last week I talked about checklists and the importance of having them. I work with attorneys over the course of two days to help them define the key areas that were costing them their personal time. Then I work with their staff to develop some key checklists that would help ensure that everything is getting done right.
It has been fun to see the light go on in attorneys as they have understood that process are going to give them the lifestyle they are looking for. The key to going from a 60+ workweek to a 45 hour work week is eliminating all of the tasks that don’t add value to clients. In most cases it is done by freeing up 5 to 10 minutes by either eliminating a task or making a task more efficient.
To start, I recommend keeping a list at your desk and write down the things that you do during a day that you don’t get paid for. Then categorize them into three categories: I should do this, my staff should do this and no one should do this.
Once you have done this make a plan to remove these things from yourself, from the staff, and then eliminate tasks. The next step is to look at the things that you get paid for and put them in two categories: I should do them and my staff should do them. Using this list, create a plan with a date for when the staff items will be shifted. Next week I will go more into depth on how to do this.
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