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Managing Your Time on a Legal Staff Job

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The greater part of time management in your job, however, begins and ends with you. Getting organized and time oriented involves kicking time-wasting habits. The person who drags his or her feet at work is actively positioning himself or herself at the bottom rung of the ladder. You need to be proactive about work-time utilization to keep enjoying success.

What is common among employees and professionals in other fields is common among those in law firm jobs as well. Certain work perceptions and outlook problems cause oblivious employees to waste time at work in every field. Two of the most common problems that can cause you to waste time are ''trying to achieve beyond personal abilities'' and ''need of self-discipline.''

Control the Ambitious Streak

This is a very ordinary time-wasting trap and almost inescapable. It is tough to know your limits until you have tested them. It is also not possible to widen or enlarge your limits unless you try to achieve beyond your personal capacity. However, such attempts need to be made logically. Allowing your zeal to run over in every situation will destroy both your time and your career. Trying to achieve beyond your abilities can hinder your career if you do not manage your ambitious streak rationally.

People usually want to overachieve due to:
  • Excessive need to achieve driven by complexes or peer comparison: You are unique. Be yourself and appreciate your own abilities. Other people are different and they have their own abilities. Build yourself, and achieve realistic goals within your abilities.

  • Overreaction to acts and events: Limit your reaction or response in each situation to the actual demands of the situation.

  • Excessive desire to please their superiors: Don't allow your desire for appreciation to force you into saying "yes." If you are facing a shortage of time, stay uninvolved if others can handle the task. People should volunteer to take on extra responsibility, but only when their current responsibilities are under control.
Be in control. Question yourself about what it is you are trying to achieve. If your objective is logical and productive, orient yourself sensibly to get it. If attaining the objective does not stand up to a cost-benefit analysis, it is better to reconsider your viewpoint and stop destroying yourself.

Discipline Yourself

Though it may seem evident, lack of self-discipline is a key time waster. This problem is often related to being overzealous or procrastinating. It is often difficult to make out or acknowledge that you lack self-discipline at work. And it is even more difficult when you have developed organized habits in other spheres of your life.

You know you lack of self-discipline at work:
  • There is a lack of clear work objectives or work standards

  • You are neglecting to follow up on initiatives and work

  • There is a growing pile of unfinished tasks
Get in control. Start developing and setting standards and parameters for assignments. Set concrete objectives in areas that involve key results. Prioritize your work. Determine higher and lower priorities and schedule tasks accordingly. Follow up on work, processes, and initiatives. No one responds according to your expectations, but everyone responds when you continually track progress. Start on work as it arrives; don't put it off until deadlines loom.

Understand that Nobody Works Better Under Pressure

Many people try to rationalize their lack of self-discipline and overzealousness with the common assertion "I work better under pressure." This is a myth. Nobody works better under greater pressure.
This delusion leads people to create crises to motivate themselves into action by activating their survival instincts. A procrastinator whiles away available time by taking it easy until work has piled up; he or she then overreacts and tries to be a hero. This is one of the worst habits that one can develop on the job.

Change yourself: Change the world around you.

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