As lawyers, we care deeply about the bottom line. We just do. And I'm not just talking about money, even though that's a part of it, a big part of it. What is the bottom line? What is the end result? That's what we're always focused on, right? What's the net benefit? What is that “take-home” satisfaction, if you will? Like, why are we doing this?
I know that I often get impatient when I don't know the point of something. I'm kind of like, “What's your point? What's your point?” What's the bottom line, I wonder? In business, we consider the bottom line as that, literally, bottom number on a balance sheet - very literally. And we hope for it to be a positive number, and a high number, right? And in fact, we want that number to increase over time. And we have come to see this number as a manifestation, or indicator, of our success. So if we're making more money in the bottom line, then we feel like we must be doing something right. Money is used to measure success and effectiveness - that what we're doing is actually showing results.
And what about time? So this is my favorite topic. And the reason for this whole New Billable Hour podcast is to talk about time. So how does time influence your bottom line? Further, how does time management fit into this equation? So time management also is a term thrown around. I notice that when lawyers are very interested in efficiency and saving time on tasks, and their general sense is that, “if I just do more things, or if I figure out how to do something faster, I will save time.” But their general sense of time management, managing time, is not a priority. That's what I've seen. What I mean is - How are you managing your time? How are you relating to the time you have? How do you respond when your time expectations are not met?
So there is a problem (I've had this problem as well) of lawyers underestimating our time, underestimating how long it will take to do things. And the way the system is set up (we're service-oriented), we want it to be faster, or we want things to go how we think they're going to go. But often, that is not the case. Probably most of the time, it's not the case. And so when the expectation is not met, we lose control of our time management (or lack thereof) and we aren't managing anything. We're chasing after lost time. We're lamenting that we don't have enough time. We're stealing time from other places. What if we could actually manage our time?
This takes courage; and it requires that we think outside the box. And this means that we realistically become aware of what we do with our time, and more importantly, how we do it. So what happens when you have to travel for hours for a hearing that was cancelled, or it was just five minutes long? Or what happens when someone is late, or doesn't show up for a meeting? What happens when you're in flow and get a brief done in half the time that you expected? What about when you figure out a complicated case, issue or, strategy almost instantly? Do you see the difference? Do you see how we can pay attention to these things? So how you manage yourself regarding your time drives your bottom line, no question. It drives productivity, efficiency, self-confidence, your reputation, and your job satisfaction. The true and most important bottom line is: why you're here, and are you satisfied with what you're doing?
So think about that. Think about managing your time as a broader perspective of how you approach what you're doing: how you approach your expectation for what's happening, how you look at lost time, and how you can incorporate more integration in your time.
Thank you to our sponsor for this episode and blog post: Law Office of Kristin Love Boscia, located in San Jose, California works with immigrants and their families who want to come to or remain in the US. They speak fluent Spanish, and care deeply about their clients, their families, and their futures. They have extensive experience in waivers for family-based immigration cases. Law Office of Kristin Love Boscia can be reached at 408-658-8470 or https://www.boscialaw.com/.To get your free copy of “The New Billable Hour” book and other resources, visit www.newbillablehour.com. If you are interested in working with Ritu to transform your relationship with your law practice, schedule a free consultation here: https://letsmeet.io/ritugoswamyesq/consultation