Making time for the "important," but not "urgent"
In his book the Seven Habits of Highly Effective
People, Steven Covey talks about the value of focusing on
those activities which are important, but not urgent. In order to
be successful, according to Covey, we all need to spend more time
focusing on those things which can easily be put off in the short
run. These are the activities which will hurt us in the long run if
we fail to set aside time for them.
In the practice of law, management and marketing are perfect
examples of this. Most marketing activities are not urgent.
Similarly, office technology upgrades or performance reviews can
often be delayed without any immediate impact on the bottom
But marketing and management ARE important. If we do not set
aside time on a regular basis to build our business or improve our
systems, our practices will suffer. If we do not take the time to
give feedback to those who support our practices, they are less
likely to improve. For many lawyers, however, billable hours are
always the priority.
The first thing to do is to acknowledge the issue. Not every
billable hour is "urgent" and not every client problem must be
solved immediately. Instead, we should carve out time each week to
address those things which are important but not urgent.
One way to address this problem is to take the time to write
down your plan. Block off a few hours in your calendar each quarter
to write down your marketing and management goals and translate
these goals into actionable steps each week. In addition, block off
time in your calendar each day to do some marketing and other
non-billable work. Generally, it is best to make time first thing
in the morning before you get going with client work.
Most marketing and management tasks are not "urgent." But if we
wait until our pipeline of work dries up, if we wait until our
computer systems crash because they are antiquated, or if we fail
to give feedback to the people who support our work, these tasks
may become "urgent" and by then, it may be too late to get a quick
Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, director
of attorney recruitment and career advancement, Marc Z
Legal Staffing and president, Seckler Legal
Consulting and Coaching.
Published October 10, 2013
To learn more about the Law Practice Management
Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members,
contact LPM Section Chair Cynthia E.
MacCausland or Vice Chair Damian J.