Relentless prioritization of work is increasingly an important skill for in-house counsel and business leaders.
Here’s my checklist of steps that corporate counsel can take to ruthlessly prioritize their work and be even more productive:
☑️ Alignment on Work > Maximum Impact: Gain clarity from your legal management team and senior business clients on specific work areas you should be focused on that drives high business and legal outcomes.
☑️ Analyze Your Work: Capture and document the various types of legal work you perform.
☑️ Classify Your Work: Group your legal work into two primary categories: (1) work that drives high business + high legal impact; and (2) lower impact work.
☑️ Focus on High Impact Work: Spend most of your time and energy on high impact work as that work provides the greatest value to your organization.
☑️ Spend Less Time on Lower Impact Work: Limit your time spent on less impactful work. When needed, redirect such work to paralegal/program manager resources, trusted third party legal providers who provide services at commercially reasonable fees, technology automation solutions or business clients who embrace self-help resources that you previously created. Also, consider simply “stop doing” low-risk aspects of that work.
☑️ Delegate More: If you have the privilege to lead a team, trust your teammates and delegate more work to them.
☑️ Embrace Better Time Management: Spend less time on conference/video calls so you can free up time to get more real work done. Consider convening calls that are shorter in length, only participate on calls where you provide value, learn or build key relationships, block your calendar for call-free times to focus on doing real work, record calls that can be viewed on-demand when needed, avoid calls where issues can be solved via emails/instant messages, etc….
☑️ Done is Better Than Perfect: Lawyers don’t need to be perfect in rendering legal counsel. Our time seeking perfection often puts us into the zone of diminishing marginal returns.
☑️ Embrace Change. Our business environment is very fluid. The high impact areas that you are working on now are probably different than those areas you worked on last year. Be sure to update and refresh the high impact areas that requires deep legal support so you can continue to deliver maximum legal value to your organization moving forward.
Best of luck on your journey to relentless prioritization!