What is your New Year’s Resolution?

Posted on January 4, 2018

2018 New Year's Resolution

It’s Time to set Goals for 2018

Why limit your New Year’s resolutions to a series of personal goals such as losing weight or getting more exercise? Consider setting your professional goals as well and start improving your legal career today.

We’ve identified three critical goal-setting areas for lawyers to focus on:

  • Time Management
  • Marketing and Business Development
  • Work-Life Balance

Tackle your Time Management

2018 New Year's Resolution: Tackle your Time Management Clio’s 2017 Legal Trend report states that lawyers spend only 2.3 hours (29% of an 8-hour workday) on billable tasks. Almost 50% of their remaining time is devoted to administrative tasks. Sound familiar? If admin tasks are sucking up all your time, set clear goals to free up your time and become more productive.

Follow these 5 time management principles:

  • Move away from “putting out fires”: Plan and prioritize tasks at the start of each day.
  • De-clutter your brain and your office: Consider using time management software to track tasks and set reminders. Set up a system to organize your physical and electronic documents. Clean up your desk.
  • Minimize distractions: Avoid social media, emails or phone calls while you work. Focus on getting things done without procrastinating.
  • Set clear goals for your team: delegate tasks and avoid micro-managing.
  • Automate or outsource tasks: Automate your appointment scheduling, invest in a document automation system or purchase bookkeeping automation technology. Outsource accounting, IT or even marketing functions.

For further reading on time management techniques, consult the ABA’s extensive list of time management self-help books.

Rework your Marketing Strategy

2018 New Year's Resolution: Rework your Marketing Strategy Building a successful law business starts with setting ambitious, but achievable marketing goals that support your revenue targets each year. Even if your marketing efforts failed last year, there’s still time time to develop a new, more competitive marketing strategy for 2018. Answering the following questions may help:

  • Goals and Strategy: Where and how should my marketing team focus their efforts?
  • Budget: How much of my company’s revenue should be spent on marketing?
  • Marketing Tactics: What tactics should I spend the majority of my marketing dollars on?

Keep in mind that legal marketing is a rapidly evolving, so be sure to research the latest marketing trends instead of just continuing with last year’s lackluster tactics. We’d like to highlight 3 important trends for 2018:

  • The Era of Video Marketing is here: According to Cisco video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021.  Streaming video is particularly popular and already accounts for two thirds of all internet traffic.
  • Native Advertising is gaining Importance: According to Business Insider, Native Advertising will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021. We’ll also see the rise of “smart content” for native ads, which will allow advertisers to adapt ads to audiences in real time.
  • Local Search is growing exponentially: Local searches are growing 50 percent faster than mobile searches overall.  To find out more about the State of Local Search in 2018 consider registering for the upcoming BrightLocal webinar.

Embrace the Concept of Work-Life Balance

2018 New Year's Resolution: Work-Life BalanceDo you feel overworked and burned out, even though the year has just started? You’re not alone. Lawyers across the United States struggle with stress and work-life balance issues. In February 2016, the Journal of Addiction Medicine published the results of a study showing that lawyers have a significantly higher rate of problematic drinking than the general population. Mental health problems among attorneys were also found to be significant, with 28%, 19%, and 23% experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, respectively. These problems have enormous impact not only on the struggling attorneys themselves but on their firms and communities as well.

Here’s the good news: Goal-setting can help you lead a more balanced professional life in 2018.

If you are the managing partner of a law firm, put the following measures in place:

  • Change the firm culture: Place less importance on billable hours and more emphasis on the purpose and meaning of the legal work done. Individuals with a purpose naturally perform better.
  • Show flexibility: Allow vacation time, remote work or other flex-time arrangements to prevent employee burnout. You will see an increase in motivation and productivity that will likely more than compensate any loss of billable hours.

If you are an employee at a law firm we already discussed how you can improve your time management to free up time. If all else fails and you’re still working every weekend, consider making a move to a firm with a better work-life balance. As a personal injury attorney you know this better than anyone: Life is short.

Happy New Year 2018 from the RW Lynch Team.

 

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