Have you really thought about your time? After all, it is your life…
If you really think about it, time is all you have. Moreover, there is no such thing as free time. You can’t save free time and use it later. You have leisure time but it’s not free time. If you get distracted when you had a purpose for your time and then you rationalize it, you just wasted some of your life. Finally your time isn’t leisure time unless you intentionally chose for it to be spent engaged in activities like golfing or going on vacation – and that’s what you actually did with that time.
Alright, so what’s that got to do with building a successful law practice?
The reason you aren’t making the money you want or working the hours you want is that you have not made it a priority to continually increase the worth of your time. Let me be redundant here for the sake of clarity… the way you think about time and think about yourself affects everything that happens to you inside and outside of your law firm. In short, you have to value your time before anyone else will.
I am always surprised at how many lawyers don’t have any idea what the real value of their time is. They might know what their hourly rate is if they charge by the hour but this is what the value of their time is to a third party.
I am also shocked when I hear that they have no idea how to increase the value of their time. If you don’t know what your time is worth and what it needs to be worth, then you can’t make smart decisions on what tasks you should be spending your time on and which ones should be delegated to others. Ok, let’s figure out what your time is worth.
Productive time is time related directly to generating income. So what percentage of your time do you consider to be productive? Be careful, one study of Fortune 500 CEO’s estimated they had 28-38 minutes a day of productive time. Crazy Isn’t it? Here are some examples of non-productive time; talking to friends, surfing the Internet, checking and reading emails, organizing your desk, cleaning your office.
Productive time is spent marketing your practice, improving your marketing process, managing your lawyers, setting up cross referral deals, and creating scalability in your practice.
But there is even something more profitable and strategic than productive time, I call it mega-productive time. Mega-productive time is when you create a system around money making activities in your law firm. Examples of mega-productive time would be: creating systems that manage your cases, creating systems that market your law practice, and creating systems that build scale. Below is a chart to help you understand.
Of course I’m not saying that you shouldn’t spend time on any of these non-productive activities. I’m simply pointing out that this is not productive time. These activities are things you have to do. It doesn’t build a law practice, it’s just there. That’s part of life.
When I was building my first personal injury law practice, I developed several marketing systems for my law practice. One was a direct mail campaign. I developed a complete system for getting leads and marketing to them. I used a third-party vendor to get me the list of people in auto accidents every day. I hired a copy writer and graphic artist to create the actual mailing process. My office manager oversaw the daily mailings and made sure all the actual documents to be mailed were always in stock and always went out in a timely manner.
New cases were brought in each day and every month – no matter what. The law practice continued to grow whether I worked that month or not. I spent my time on the front end developing the system (mega-productive time). This is why the time you spend and invest in creating income producing systems is mega productive time! The take away from above is simply this:
- You must know what your time is worth so you can be more productive.
- The more you can do things that are mega productive, the better chance you have of reaching your goals of building a successful practice
No matter how productive you think you are, you need to challenge yourself to be mega-productive.