How to Manage Your Time

How To Manage Your Time | CorporetteHow do you manage your time, either to meet billable minimums, stay motivated and productive, or to fit everything into your life? February is time management month — and we haven’t talked about how best to manage your time in a while. Here’s Reader T’s question:

Would you consider doing a post on billable hours – specifically, what people’s minimum requirements are, and how they go about meeting and/or exceeding those minimums? My firm requires 2000 hours and I had a horrible time last year just making the minimum. I swore this year would be different, but it seems I am back to my old ways. What do people do to stay continuously motivated and productive?

I recognize that this question is geared toward the lawyers who read your site, but maybe others have similar goals/requirements that they have to satisfy?

Great question!  I haven’t been in a billables environment for a while (and even then, my firm had no required minimum), but time management is something I still struggle with daily, so I’m curious to hear what readers say. My top tips are: [Read more...]

Open Thread: The Best Apps for Helping with Information Overload

How to Deal with Information Overload | Corporette (my brain feels like this desk!)I’m curious, ladies — am I the only one who is crushed by the overwhelming amount of information hurtling my way on a daily basis?  I get about 600 emails daily.  Every time I log on to Facebook or Twitter I end up throwing at least 5 new articles onto my “read it later” list via Pocket (which now has something like 1150 unread articles).  Pinterest seems like a bottomless pit of recipes and DIY projects that I know I’ll never try but decide to Pin anyway.  Not to mention the numerous magazines I get monthly, and the 1000s of RSS feeds in my Netvibes reader. (In fact, when I first started this blog I swore I would never do more than a few posts a day because I had stopped reading other blogs like Jezebel and Gawker, overwhelmed by the sheer number of posts every day.)  So… how do you deal with information overload?  I have a few suggestions, but I’m really curious what you guys do — do you rely on certain apps?  Do you have methods (like maintaining inbox zero, or declaring email bankruptcy on a regular basis)? What helps?

For my $.02: [Read more...]

How to Schedule Appointments When You’re Very Busy

how to make appointmentsHow do you stay on top of hair cuts and other personal care appointments when you’re a busy professional? Reader S, who is about to start as a summer associate, wonders…

I’m in law school, about to start as a summer associate at a firm in NYC, and I was wondering if you had any advice on scheduling appointments while working at a firm. I know that as a summer, I probably won’t have the same workload as I would as a junior associate, so this is mostly a question for the future. When you were in BigLaw, how did you stay on top of things like hair cuts and waxing appointments? It just seem like the hours you need to be working and in the office would make it really hard to schedule things in advance or take the time off to get in with your favorite person.

Great question, S — for my $.02, the answer is to make friends with your calendar system. Let me explain:

- Schedule appointments at the first or last appointment of the day. Doctors, hairstylists, it doesn’t matter — everyone who is appointment-based falls behind. Another option: take advantage of weekend appointments where offered.

- Schedule WELL in advance. The first or last appointment of the day (or the weekend appointment) can be really hard to get, which is why you should try to schedule everything ahead of time, when you can afford to wait a few weeks or months. [Read more...]

How to Nap at Work

how-to-nap-at-workDo you nap at the office?  What are your best tips for napping at the office (possibly without getting caught)?  We took a poll on office naps a thousand years ago, but haven’t really discussed since then, and I thought it might be an interesting topic.

First, some factoids from the Internet — according to Inc., researchers concluded in 2010 that “napping can improve the brain’s ability to retain information, noting that a middle-of-the-day reprieve ‘not only rights the wrong of prolonged wakefulness but, at a neurocognitive level, it moves you beyond where you were before.’”  More and more offices are adding nap rooms (or buying “sleep capsules,” which give you a bit more privacy).  (On the flip side, as Salary.com notes, some companies still consider it grounds for firing – know your office!)  For the DIY-nappers, there’s even a fully funded Kickstarter campaign for a pillow that gives you a “micro environment in which to take a comfortable power nap” (pictured — you can now buy the pillow for $99). Apparently, in Japan napping is so popular among top executives that there’s an entire culture around it.  It’s important to note that napping is not necessarily “sleeping” — and even if you normally take 30+ minutes to fall asleep at night you can reap the benefits.  According to Lifehacker, Pzizz is a new tool that can help you “learn” to power nap (and help with nighttime insomnia too).

So, ladies — do you nap at the office?  Is there a nap room or other space available for napping, and do you actually use it?  Have you picked up any tips or tricks (signs on the door, special messages for your secretary, etc) that makes napping at work easier? [Read more...]

Sniff, Sniff: What to Do When You Think You’re Getting Sick

What do you do if you think you’re getting sick — and how do you ward off a cold? We’ve talked about how to work when you’re sick, as well as whether you should cancel client meetings if you’re sick and “heavily drugged with cold medicine.”  But I think we’ve all been there: you wake up and feel that nasty tickle in the back of your throat, or perhaps you sneeze twice (when you always only sneeze once) — and you can tell: it is coming.  So what do you do to ward off the sickness, or make it pass faster? (Pictured: Monster tissue cozy by Trigo, available for $8 at Etsy.)

For my $.02, I swear by a few big things: [Read more...]

Can A Water Bottle Be Unprofessional?

Can something as simple as a water bottle be unprofessional? Are there business etiquette rules for drinking water in the office?  Reader M wonders.

Are there any tips for choosing professional-looking water bottles? This is perhaps a mundane question, but with an extremely youthful face, long hair, and a newly-minted JD, I’m trying very hard to avoid any hint of ‘intern.’ I occasionally worry that my current metal bottle — complete with the name of my law school — really serves as a visual reminder that I just got out of school (it often ends up on my desk). On the other hand, I’m proud of my alma mater. Is the answer to trade it in for something completely nondescript? Are certain types more common among professionals? Are designs/logos that reflect some aspect of one’s personality completely out? Thanks for any thoughts you may be able to share!

Hmmn. First, congratulations to M for trying to get her daily water. Fancy water bottles have a lot in their favor — you avoid some suspect chemicals from plastic water bottles (such as BPAs), and they’re easier to clean and reuse. And I’ll admit, in my law firm days I used a simple stainless steel water bottle to carry water to and fro my office (similar to this one from REI). (I always drank out of a plastic cup — easier to throw away, less to clean — so the water bottle was really just my pitcher.  One pitcher filled about three plastic cups of water, so it did help me cut down on trips to the office kitchen for water.)

Now: was I unprofessional to use a water bottle?  Is M being unprofessional by using a water bottle with her law school logo?  I honestly can’t imagine how, just by carrying a water bottle, it’s unprofessional.  [Read more...]