E176: Use this hack to increase focus and boost productivity at your law firmApr 05, 2023
How often are you deep in thought—working hard on a motion, memo, or prep for a key client meeting—when the phone rings? Or your email pings? Or your phone lights up with a new message?
The truth is, every time you stop to attend to those interruptions, you lose time.
Today’s productivity tip: Minimize interruptions to maximize your productivity.
Interruptions are productivity killers. One study found that after a distraction, it takes approximately 23 minutes and 15 seconds for you to return to your original state of focus. That means just 5 interruptions a day can cost you almost 2 hours of otherwise productive time for your business! Keep this in mind the next time you’re tempted to stop in the middle of a task to reach for your phone and answer every call.
In last week’s tip, we encouraged you to block off the time of day that you’re most productive so you can work effectively without distractions. This week, we’re taking it a step further...
Your action Item: Turn off the automatic notifications for your email and commit to NOT answering emails during your most productive time.
Every notification you get acts like a trigger, and each time one goes off, you’d be more likely to want to stop what you’re doing to check it. Once you’ve stopped to check, it turns into responding, and before you know it, you’re engaging in multiple emails before returning to what you were actually working on.
Don’t get sucked into this trap. Instead, ensure the notifications are turned off on all your devices. That includes cell phones, tablets, and smartwatches, during your chosen productive time. (Tip: Many of these have a “snooze notifications” option that you can use to pause all interruptions during this time.)
There’s one lawyer in our practice accelerator coaching program who uses an email autoresponder. If you email her during one of her productive work blocks, you'll get a very polite email saying, "Hello. Thanks for your email. To maximize my time working on client files, I review my email inbox twice per day. Rest assured, we've received your email and will get back to you soon."
Other clients include a line for how to handle emergencies. You can choose similar solutions. Just go for what will work best for your practice and your clientele.
Make this your new mantra: "I do NOT have to answer every email immediately." Write it down and put it somewhere obvious on your desk. Repeat it whenever you’re tempted to check emails during your productive time blocks. You’ll maintain your focus and get more done in less time.
Stay tuned for part 3 of our productivity series next week.
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