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Are you a lawyer and you work from home? Here’s how you can be productive!

As a lawyer, you are usually dividing your time at work between different tasks, projects and client meetings, contracts and other legal documents. But, in these extraordinary times, when you need to work from home, your schedule and workflow are completely different. What can you do to stay productive, when you work remotely? Here are a few tips.

Stick to a morning routine when you work from home

Each working day, your morning routine prepares your brain for work – from waking up to exercising, having a quick coffee, dressing up for work and reading the morning news while commuting. Even if this routine has changed a bit since you are working from home, you can still do most of the things you did before, such as exercising, reading the news, drinking your coffee and this will help your brain prepare for work.

Also, you should stay away from your bed, the couch or any other place that could become a distraction and try to find a workspace where you can easily focus on your work. The workspace is considered the key for a productive working day – even if it is just a table, a desk or an entirely separate room. 

If your kids are at home and can’t understand why you are not playing with them, try to have a clear schedule with them also – you can tell them for example that your rest breaks will be dedicated entirely to them. 

Create to-do lists and a schedule for your working hours and the rest of the day

A to-do list can be magical when you work from home. Use a daily to-do list, just like you were doing when you were working in the office. Psychologists say that you should start with the most difficult tasks – like a call to a difficult client or working on a difficult legal document and keep the easiest tasks for the end of the day, when your concentration level may not be the same, but your work instinct steps up. Respect your work schedule and try to take a few breaks during the day too – the lunch break is a good idea. 

Also, create a schedule for the rest of the day. Even if you need to stay inside, you should try to find activities to keep you and your family entertained. Try to respect your work schedule and your personal time and not work too many extra hours. 

Stay away from distractions when you work from home

This is maybe one of the biggest challenges for anyone working from home, lawyers included. Distractions are everywhere, from a ringing phone or a kid asking for attention to a client who sends tons of emails, anything can break your concentration and workflow. Even if it is very difficult to stay away from distractions when you are working remotely, there are a few tips that can help you with that – you can try to work using earbuds, bring all the things you might need in your working room, set your tasks and appointments in your calendar and share them with your clients and colleagues so that they know when they can call you. Also, you can choose separate time frames just for answering emails or making client calls.

New communication and collaboration processes with your team

When you are a legal professional working from home, you need to adapt to a different kind of team collaboration process. Some of your tasks might require you to work with just some of your colleagues, others might require a brainstorming session with the entire team. Try to integrate a new approach to things and create a new communication process – have conference calls or online meetings with your colleagues, create problem-solving schedules and use online tools to streamline your work (link tools to use while working remotely). This way you improve communication with your team and things get done in time. 

Check your work progress, using a time tracking and task management tool

One of the best methods to stay motivated is to track your work progress every day. By setting goals and using time tracking and task management tools, you will not only finish your work in time but also stay positive and motivated. 

In case you are not already using a legal practice and business management tool, to integrate your tasks and timesheets with the ones of your colleagues, you can try some of the tools that are available online. Our personal advice would be to use an integrated platform, where you and your team can record timesheets, manage your tasks and projects and have access to the complete billing flow. 

Respect your free time after work

If possible, try to respect your work hours and your personal time. Most of the psychologists say that it is important to separate work from family time and that a clear schedule will help you stay productive and mentally healthy. Otherwise, you might find yourself close to a nervous breakdown or burnout, especially if your brain will have a problem in separating working hours from your free time. After your work is done, turn off your email notifications or any other work-related messages, that might attract you back into work. Try spending time with your family or friends, even if everybody is isolated, by video calls, try cooking, seeing a movie, etc. 

When you work from home, take care of your spirit, too

In your free time, try to do things that are good for your mind and spirit, either read a book or do some exercise, maybe take a virtual tour of an international museum or play with your kids, whatever makes you happy. 

And most of all, #StaySafe and #StayHealthy!

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