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3 Steps to Improve Productivity and Increase Billable Hours

How to Increase Your Productivity and Make More Money

We spend so much of our time responding to emails and texts throughout our day that we sometimes wonder where our time has gone.  To make matters worse, because we are checking our emails upwards of 86 times a day, we don’t have enough focused time to concentrate and prioritize.  As a result, we end up having to work nights and weekends.  This not only has a negative impact on our work/life balance but has an especially devastating effect on our work and if you are in professional services – your billable hour.

I coach with attorney’s and consultants all the time and they are frustrated with the fact that they are not meeting their billable hours daily and as a result, are constantly playing catch-up.  The way to overcome this common frustration is to be very deliberate about your schedule, block time and keep to the same format weekly.

Here is my 3-step process for time blocking.  It starts with breaking down your daily activities and tasks into 3 categories.  Administrative, Revenue Generating and Personal.

  • Administrative (everything that is not billable work like expenses, reports, research)
  • Revenue Generating (any activity that will increase your revenue or prevent revenue loss-includes networking and business development)
  • Personal (exactly as it appears, dentist apt., dr. apts etc)
     

To get started, make a list of all of your weekly tasks and then color-code them according to Administrative, Revenue Generating and Personal.

Once they are color-coded, look at your calendar carefully and begin by reflecting on what times in the day you have your best energy. If you are wired and energized in the morning then it’s not a good time to do administrative work.  Use your energy to do any revenue generating work or work that requires focus.   If you find that after lunch you are less energized then use that time for Administrative or Personal Tasks.

It’s a good idea to block your chunks into hours.  My preference is 2-hour blocks, that way you can get the most done.  I recently worked with an attorney and here is how we broke down her schedule:

 

Sample of a Monday:

6:30am-8:00am- Work out – shower, change, get to work (personal)

8:00am-8:30am – Check Email (admin)

8:30am-11:00am- Revenue Generating Work – focused work

11:30-1:00pm- Marketing and Business Development Lunch (Revenue Generating))

1:00-1:30- Check and respond to emails (administrative)

1:30-3:00 – Court appearance, Client Calls (Revenue Generating)

3:00-5:00-Follow up on emails and tie loose ends (Administrative work)

 

In this example my client blocked time to focus on herself with exercise, contract work and business development.  It also makes it easier when she has to schedule calls and make court appearances to always try and do it in the afternoon when she has less focused energy.

The general idea is to create a framework for your schedule and try and work within those boundaries.  It’s not always possible to have everything go according to plan but when you have a good understanding on how to block your schedule you won’t have to worry about finding time to bill and finding time for yourself.

 

Stephanie Wachman, is an executive coach, author, and productivity expert.  She is the founder of Life In Balance, LLC.  Her book OWN your Time is available on Amazon.

www.stephaniewachman.com, stephanie@coachinglib.com

 

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