I worked as a law clerk at a state’s attorney’s office while in law school, and I always felt like there wasn’t enough time in the day to complete all of my assigned tasks. I always found myself frustrated with my lack of productivity between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. When I arrived at the office, I created a list of tasks that I wanted to accomplish for the day. By the end of the day, however, I would realize that not much of what I set out to do actually got accomplished.
I attempted to figure out why I wasn’t able to accomplish more during my regular work hours. When I evaluated my day, I realized that much of my day was spent answering phones, making calls, delivering documents to the clerk’s office or judge’s chambers or assisting attorneys with miscellaneous tasking. By the day’s end, I had accomplished little of my own work.
So, I decided to come in at 6:30 each morning and I was able to accomplish more in the two hours between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. than in the seven-and-a half hours of my official work day. If I have an opportunity to work without interruption, I am much more productive and a lot happier. Even though I came in two hours each day before work, I was a lot more content in my job because, by 8:30 a.m., I had already accomplished much of my own work and could more easily manage the phone calls and tasks that were asked of me throughout the day.
I thought that I wouldn’t have the same issues once I became an attorney but I realized not much has changed.
I still find that I am most productive before or after normal business hours and on weekends. My days are filled with the hustle and bustle of being in the courtroom, meeting with clients, receiving and making calls: the only time I really have to review files and draft documents is either early in the morning or at the end of the day when the phones stop ringing and the staff go home.
If I put in the additional time to work before and after normal business hours, I find that I am happier, less stressed and more productive.