How to manage your time (Part 2) // Trial & Error

Step two: use your time more efficiently

By Atrisha Lewis

On Friday April 15th, 2016


In my last column, I discussed how you can bundle your tasks together to free up extra time. But, today, I want to talk about efficiency — another useful time-management tactic that will help you do more with the time you have. Here are three ways to boost your efficiency:

Give yourself deadlines

It’s easy, when I’m working on a task without a hard deadline, to let calls and e-mails distract me. My solution is to assign myself deadlines. If I’m drafting a statement of defence, for instance, I give myself two hours to finish the job. This artificial boxed-timeline forces me to ignore everything else and get it done. It’s also consistent with Parkinson’s Law, which says the time required to complete a particular task will expand according to the amount of time allotted to it.

Make calendar appointments with yourself

Endless to-do lists overwhelm me. How do I know where to start? But by making calendar appointments with myself to finish specific tasks, where I allot a reasonable amount of time, I am both organized and committed to the task at hand. Plus, it keeps me from feeling guilty that I’m not doing something else.

Ask for help

Our profession is remarkable: even the busiest among us are generous with our time and are happy to discuss cases and files with those asking for help. When I’m truly stuck on something, it’s far faster to talk to more senior lawyers at my firm than remain frustrated. My colleagues often save me from “reinventing the wheel” by offering up a solution to a problem they once had, and know how to easily solve.

Next month, in part three of this time-management series, I will discuss the importance of making priorities.

Atrisha LewisAtrisha Lewis is a third-year associate in McCarthy Tétrault’s litigation group. Follow her on Twitter: @atrishalewisAnd also check out all of her past columns.



Photo from Sean MacEntee