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December 17, 2012   Practice Management

Not Enough Hours in a Day

By Peggy Hoyt, J.D.

You Can’t Move Forward Looking Back – Part ThreePeggy Hoyt, JD
The Law Office of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC
Member of WealthCounsel

This time of year is especially busy.  There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day.  Yet, we each get the same allotment – twenty four hours for me, twenty four hours for you.  How we use that time will predict our success and productivity. 

I’m often asked how I manage to do so much.  Part of the answer is – I don’t do it.  There’s no way one person can accomplish everything.  You have to become adept at delegating those tasks that are not your unique ability to a team member who can help.  I watch so many people I know struggle each day.  They are trying to do everything themselves and the primary result is they are burned out, unproductive and ultimately, unhappy.  This can be especially true for solo practitioners. 

My best advice is to hire a team member immediately.  And, before you say you can’t afford one, think again.  You can’t afford not to, if you want to keep your sanity and want a better practice. On the first day I opened my practice I had a full time paralegal/secretary/receptionist/administrator.  She wore a lot of hats and she had to.  But, I could not have done it without her.  I put her salary (and mine) on a credit card in the beginning.  I leased both of us from an employee leasing company so we could have health insurance and I didn’t have to worry with the payroll. 

The next hire was a bookkeeper.  I thought I could do this myself, but I was wrong.  Spending hours trying to figure it all out was not a good use of my time.  Time I could be spending doing the things I do best – meeting with clients, meeting with people who could send me more clients and teaching/marketing. 

Not Enough Hours in a DayStill, there were not enough hours in the day.  After a full day of meeting with clients, meeting with people who could send me more clients and teaching/marketing, I just didn’t have the energy to “do the work” that I had promised and that needed to be done.  Time for another team member – this time, it was the one who became my law partner.  I finally convinced Randy to leave his steady paycheck and venture out into the world of self-employment.  It was one of the best decisions we’ve made. 

It wasn’t long before we needed more team, and then more team.  Building our practice then, and now, would not have been possible without our team.  We don’t have a perfect team – but we have some really excellent team members.  We’ve “kissed a few frogs” but have continued to learn from our hiring mistakes, refine our needs and improve the quality of our team.  Now, we trust our team to hire the team.

Team is not only for the office, however.  Don’t forget you might need a “team” at home too.  Figure out the best use of your time and then delegate those things that are not a good use of your time.  If this means someone to help out with the cleaning, the cooking, the shopping, caring for the children or the pets, then build your home team with the same insight you’ve used to build your office team. 

Figure out the highest and best use of your time.  Plan your work and work your plan – you’ve heard it all before.  More next time on the subject of time blocking, but I've gotta go - I’m out of time!

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Time Management

1 Comment Wed Dec 19, 2012
Great article - so very true!!

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