I am always looking for ways to make my day more efficient. Since I can’t add more hours into the day, it’s necessary to take a look at how I’m spending my time. One of the things I try to do is figure out if a task I’m doing is something that is repetitive. If so, there is probably a way to make it more automated so that it takes less time to do.
Take for instance an inbound request through our website. I always take the time to read the request and understand what the individual is looking for. Most of the time, the request requires that I schedule a time to follow up with the law firm over the phone. The subsequent email I send out to setup that phone call is something I do multiple times, every day. However, rather than type out a custom email each time to setup a time to talk, I have created a basic template that I use. I can always add a sentence or two if the situation calls for it, but I save time by using this template.
Another example are the free guides we offer for download off our website. We have setup an auto-responder system to send over an email with a link to the appropriate guide when someone requests a free download. I am then emailed so that I know an individual downloaded a guide. This would be a time intensive activity if it was not automated.
For assistance with billing and invoicing, I use Freshbooks (here is a good article at the Lawyerist on using Freshbooks for a law office). What used to take half a day for me to accomplish is now fully automated and happens on my way into work.
Creating more efficiency at your practice frees up time to work on the more important tasks. It gets you “out of the weeds” and helps you focus on growing the practice and servicing your clients.
Photo by Sebastian Lund http://www.flickr.com/photos/96khz/