Habits can improve your productivity. I am a big believer in systems. The more systems in your law practice, the easier it is to handle the flow of legal work as well as the myriad of administrative tasks required to run your practice. Habits are a subset of systems but are more focused on your personal actions.
I am working with a law firm partner, helping her develop two habits that can make a significant difference in her business development and income.
Desired new habits:
- Following up with new client prospects.
- Collecting outstanding legal fees.
Both have been a problem for this client. Due to the nature of her practice, there are quite a large number of file-related actions she must complete daily. She often forgets or doesn't get around to following up on the two actions above. What we are doing is working the two new habits into her daily routine.
When she gets into the office every morning her routine is to take off her coat, turn on her computer and get a cup of coffee. Next is checking email, facebook, and the news. Lastly, she will begin working on a file. We are inserting into her routine, just after getting a cup of coffee and before checking email or anything else, taking action on the two new habits. Ditching Facebook and news browsing are also on the agenda for a little later, after these two habits become established.
The plan is that she will open her Potential New Clients file and review the notes from consultations with prospects as well as telephone call slips from inquiries, then call, email or take any other follow-up action needed. For the collections habit, she will review outstanding invoices and receipts and send out new invoices, emails or letters as needed to encourage payment of her fees and maintain cash flow. Neither of these need necessarily to be done daily. However, in developing a habit it is important to repeat the action frequently and regularly.
Here are the 3 steps to form a new habit:
1. The cue. Something that you do regularly should be the activator. In this case, it is the initial morning routine culminating with a cup of coffee.
2. The response. Taking the desired action. In this case, reviewing the PNC file and invoice and collections information.
3. The reward. Often just accomplishing the task is sufficient. An additional incentive could be a specific reward. For example, after performing the action consecutively every day for a week, a treat such as a new book, a Starbucks super latte, etc. In this case, we are working toward the reward.
What is a habit that you would like to create in your law practice?
If you would like more ideas about how to increase your productivity, check out the Productivity page.
Have a Great Practice!