Six Techniques to Get Ahead If You’re Always Feeling Behind

We all feel behind the curve sometimes, but when it happens on the regular, it’s time to look for new solutions. A successful law practice can produce a seemingly endless list of to-dos, especially during the busiest times of the year. No matter how organized you are, getting in front of your to-do list without help can be a challenge. While there is no one magic bullet, a few tried and true techniques, combined with proven technology, can lessen the load and help get that list under control.

1.    Set aside time for planning
While you might think the time required to plan your week could be better spent working, planning is always an excellent time investment. Creating a plan of action will let you be more efficient in your workday with no time wasted on deciding what to do next. It will also help you identify missing resources or information so you can close that gap before it forces you to stop right in the middle of completing a task.

There have never been more high quality, simple, and easy-to-learn tools available to help you plan. From basic to-do list managers like Wunderlist to feature-packed note and task list organizers like Evernote, there are apps available for every type of planner. Taking it to the next level, online project management tools like Monday.com or Asana can help you visually plan, assign resources, and execute tasks to meet your project goals. No matter what tool you use, even if you prefer a notebook and pen, the key takeaway here is to set aside time to plan ahead and lean on technology to make your day easier.

2.    Embrace convenience: Use cloud-based applications
To get on top of things and decrease stress, consider using more cloud-based solutions. Cloud applications are software or services that are accessed via the Internet using a web browser or app – which means you can access them anytime anywhere. You can find our detailed explainer on the cloud and its benefits to law offices here.

Gone are the days of being tethered to the office. Anytime/anywhere on-demand access to your firm’s resources provides an instant bump to your efficiency and productivity. The cloud is always on and always available, so you can quickly check in on a matter and get back to what you were doing. Technology costs and IT headaches are greatly reduced as cloud solution vendors take care of updates, technical issues and most importantly, security. The best solutions – including DoProcess’ very own Unity – make getting up and running easy with intuitive design and behaving just like your favourite desktop applications.

3.    Automate tedious tasks
You are too busy to keep doing the same basic tasks over and over and this is where technology really shines. Comprehensive practice management solutions like Unity can help you conquer the chaos by automating everyday repetitive tasks.

Enter your data once and all the forms and documentation you need to get the job done will be automatically generated. Unity helps reduce time spent on data entry, eliminate duplication errors, and increase accuracy. It even allows you to produce multiple forms at once, look up addresses on the fly, and dynamically suggests contact and business information in documents as you type. Automation helps you work smarter so you can get ahead.

4.    Put your data to work
Looking at your data might sound like an odd way to fight that feeling of being behind, but your data is a potential goldmine of efficiencies. By creating and analyzing reports on what your practice is doing (and has done), you can see historical trends and predict future business performance. You can spot patterns and gaps, and then use that insight to plan your day, your week, and your month accordingly. The more you know, the more in control you feel.

Data insights about your practice empower you to make confident decisions about what needs to be done and in what order. And the confidence that comes from data-driven insights can help you keep on top of – and even get ahead of – your task list.

5.    Take care of number one
We all know we should, but do we? As dedicated, busy professionals, we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves. In stressful environments like legal practices where small mistakes can have big consequences, it can be hard to carve out time for yourself.

Everyone is busy. Everyone has a full plate. But spreading yourself too thin or taking on too much at once will just burn you out eventually. Take a break from your work and give your mind a chance to wander. Easing back a bit and collecting your thoughts can add clarity in the heat of the moment, and help you both prioritize and see the bigger picture. Here are six quick tips from the DoProcess team on how to reduce stress so you can stay focused and productive.

6.    Choose the right technology partner
Moving towards a more digital workflow is better for your business, and yourself. Paper is inefficient, ties you to the office, requires effort to share, and takes more time to manage than digital files. And if you’ve long left paper behind, there are always more efficient ways of doing things. Modern legal technology is continually evolving to help you get more done in less time and conquer that to-do list.

But the move to a digital workflow (or further into one) doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. You don’t need to become a technology start-up in order to modernize your processes. Consider using proven tools that bring specific, immediate, incremental benefits. Anxiety over technology is real and overly complicated tools that require a radical change in how things are done may be too hard to implement.

Since 1989, DoProcess has been partnering with Canada’s legal professionals to develop technology solutions that streamline how practices are run. Built upon the award-winning foundation of The Conveyancer, Unity is the next step in practice management software. Securely hosted on the cloud and packed with automated features, Unity was purpose built to help you get, and stay, ahead of the curve.

Learn more about how Unity can help you stay ahead of the curve.