Hi, I’m Allison Johs, President of Legal Ease Consulting, where I help lawyers create more productive, more profitable, and more enjoyable law practices. In my last video, I talked about using a technique called time blocking to schedule time on your calendar to get important work done. I have found time blocking to be effective for many of my clients, but there are three things that sometimes derail their efforts. Watch the video below or scroll down to keep reading.
First, they don’t accurately estimate the time it will take to complete a task, and don’t leave enough time to get it done. It takes time to get good at estimating. Most of us don’t realize how long it actually takes to get our work done (and if you are billing by the hour and not logging time as you are working, that means you’re leaving money on the table). I recommend setting a timer when you begin working and stopping it when the work is complete, so you get an accurate picture of how long a task takes. In the beginning, when blocking time, I also recommend that you schedule twice as much time on your calendar as you think the task will take to give yourself some breathing room.
Second, they over-schedule themselves by blocking too many hours in the day – they fail to leave room for what I call “the chaos factor.” Those unanticipated things that crop up and eat into our day – whether it be a client emergency, problems with technology, or just having a day when it is difficult to concentrate. Don’t block every hour of every day – leave room between appointments and make sure to include downtime in your schedule. No one can focus every hour in every day.
And finally, they confuse projects with tasks. A task is a single item, while a project is made up of multiple tasks. Don’t make the mistake of trying to schedule an entire project into a single time block. It is much more difficult to estimate time for a complete project, and often, you don’t know everything that the project will entail until you actually start working.