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Social Management in Your Workspace

published March 23, 2010

Surajit Sharma
( 1 vote, average: 2.1 out of 5)
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Although greater streamlining of human resources and the computer and the internet have created a more expedient workplace, they have also created increased work expectations. Time management has always been a common theme in law firms and a major source of worry for the upcoming attorney.

Most of us fail to realize that we receive much more work time on our jobs than is actually required to complete the tasks that come with the job. Still, we feel tensed to meet deadlines. This happens because it is human nature to be both social and individualistic. The profession of an attorney depends upon social networking and we frequently lose time due to the need to project congeniality and fear of closing channels of communication. Reluctance to refuse, say ''no,'' or seem rude is a root cause that leads to regular loss of time. The following situations are too common in a law firm:


Work overload: If you possess skills that are in demand, then your senior may try to heap work upon you. Not knowing how to say no will lead you to lose available time for pending work. The solution is to keep your list of work priorities ready, and make it clear (if it is the actual case) that workload increases will affect both quality and ability to meet deadlines.

Socializing at work: Having a welcoming attitude can lead to time loss in the workplace as a result of lingering social visits that take up unnecessary time. These visits can come from superiors, peers, subordinates, or even personal friends and you may find it hard to cut them short. The solution is to be strategic and manage by exception. Send out a clear message that you are not available unless somebody really needs immediate assistance. Postpone all socialization until office hours are over. A good technique is to stand up as soon as somebody comes to your desk and keep standing until he or she leaves.

Telephone interruptions: There are people who, rather than coming to your desk, will continually interrupt your work by phoning you unnecessarily. When focus and thought are lost because of interruptions, picking them up again costs time. Delegate the calls you can to others. Hint that your time is limited by saying something like ''Can we have this talk later?'' And be systematic and focused when exchanging information. Distinguish between meaningful socializing and wasting time.

Meaningless meetings: Meetings that meander off-topic or fail to generate fruitful solutions eat up time like nothing else and turn into wasteful socialization. The billable hour might be alright, but not sufficient to lose priorities. To deal with such meetings, it is useful to have a personal agenda of issues ready. Raise your issues proactively, summarize conclusions, and confirm agreements. Learn to bow out when your presence is not essential.

Do not forget that the term ''time management'' is a misnomer, for you cannot manage time as a resource. We receive and spend time at the same rate we always have - i.e., 60 seconds per minute and 60 minutes per hour, no more and no less. What we can do, of course, is schedule our work and other resources according to the time available. Although it is easier said than done, you can truly save great amounts of work time if you reduce needless socialization during the workday. Avoiding time-wasting situations will give you more time for your work. Consequently, the quality of your work, and the security of your job, will both elevate beyond their present levels.

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