Time management for solicitors and marketing

by Sue Bramall

What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stop when woods we pass,  when squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

These words came to me as I walked up through Green Park after a conference. They were prompted initially by the multitude of tourists trying to photograph a squirrel trying to bury a nut – presumably squirrels know that these particular tourists will not be coming back to dig it up.

But one thought led to another, about how little spare time we all seem to have now, particularly free time to simply step back and think about important things like where you want your business to go, and how you are going to get it there – never mind watching the squirrels.

Several sessions at the conference advised the delegates to find their focus, but that can be easier said than done in a law firm with multiple practice areas, the immediate demands of clients, staff and the Inland Revenue. Two sessions on compliance and regulation were enough to mop up the spare time of any partner – before marketing could get a look in. No wonder that I often get emails from marketing partners on a Sunday afternoon.

In the Eisenhower time management matrix, adapted here for illustration, where tasks are prioritised by Urgency (along the horizontal axis) and Importance (on the vertical axis), marketing and business development generally sit in the ‘important but not urgent’ corner, the ideas and plans that you never get around to unless you become adept at time management.

One way of improving time management for business development is to break bigger projects down into smaller bite size steps that you can accomplish in a short space of time. In a quote I first heard from David Yeoward, Warren Buffet is reported to have said that, ‘no matter … Some things just take time. You cannot make a baby in a month by getting ten women pregnant.’

This reminded me of a recent conversation with some junior lawyers, who we advised to start building their network as early as possible. It takes time to build meaningful relationships, and to build trust to a degree that will facilitate a referral.

In the long term most marketing afford pays dividends, so start now and find a way to carve time out of your schedule for business development.

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by Sue Bramall

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