By Attorney Garrett T. Smith
Life is full of opportunities. Those opportunities are different for every person; however, time is the great equalizer. Regardless of circumstance, we all have 24 hours each day. Everyone has heard the phrase “time is money,” and treating time like money has refined my perspective on life and helped me prioritize how I use my time. We need to budget our money so we can tell it where to go rather than wonder where it went. Have you ever had the experience of not budgeting your time, gotten to the end of the day, and wondered where the day went? Do we spend our time, or do we invest our time? I can spend my time binge-watching all the movies and tv shows that people tell me I’m missing out on, or I can invest my time building relationships with my family. Spending can be fun and easy in the moment, but investing provides long lasting returns.
So, how do we maximize the use of our time? Quite simply, we can do things better, and we can do better things. Doing things better focuses on process and efficiency. This entails looking for ways to stay more focused to get things done. It would also include skill building so that tasks become easier. It could also include organization and uniformity for tasks so they can be accomplished without much brain power. Doing better things focuses on creativity and innovation. This entails looking for out-of-the-box solutions that create a higher ceiling for progress. It requires more flexibility and openness to new ideas. Be cautious when trying new things because it could also lead to more potential risk.
Let me illustrate with an experience. I was recently appointed as the interim Morgan County attorney. Although it has been a great opportunity, it has been much busier than I expected. Now that I have a full-time position requiring my attention, my responsiveness with IntegraLaw has declined. This is extremely frustrating because one of the principles IntegraLaw was built on is responsiveness to clients and potential clients. I tried for months to do things better and would often look at emails and text message during the middle of the night. I got to the point of not even looking because I needed to get sufficient sleep to be effective during the day. In short, no matter how much I improved my process or efficiency, I simply did not have enough time to take care of all my responsibilities. I had to start looking at doing better things. I have now brought on a secretary to manage IntegraLaw’s incoming calls and emails, schedule appointments, and maintain the desired level of responsiveness.
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