Working in a law firm has its moments of excitement, but the day to day responsibilities can often be less than dynamic. As the support and foundation of a successful law firm or legal department, your workday likely includes repetitious or non-creative tasks. And while these responsibilities are critical to the smooth operation of a law firm, you may find yourself looking for a way to shake things up.
Check out these ideas to spice up routine tasks, and make seemingly mundane work more approachable.
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#1 Switch up your routine
Do you generally follow the same routine each day at your law firm? While a routine gives stability to your work, it could also be a slippery slope to monotony. In fact, there’s a saying that claims “routine is the enemy of productivity.” Switching up your process can help you engage more fully with what you’re doing, and can get around the shortcuts or zoning out moments that your brain has taught itself.
Try completing tasks in a different order and see if that element of novelty makes them hold your interest. What would your day look like if you did everything at a different time than was usual?
#2 Sandwich an undesirable task between two more pleasant ones
Take a look at your to-do list and see if there are ways to alternate responsibilities you like best with the ones you aren’t as crazy about.
Schedule preferable tasks immediately before and after the duties you don’t like. That way, you’re capitalizing on a goals-and-rewards-based system. When tasks you enjoy more are surrounded by those you like less, the jobs you really don’t look forward to doing are automatically a little better than before—there’s something to look forward to at the end.
Make sure those unfavorable are also clumped into more manageable chunks. Don’t set yourself up to be daunted with too many hours of projects that you dislike.
#3 Unleashing your internal competitive streak
Did you know that your innate desire to succeed can make boring tasks more interesting, too? Come up with ways to constantly push yourself to do the best you can, whether you’re interviewing a client about his case or implementing a new system for organizing files. In the process, get involved in a competition with yourself and keep track of your performance. For example, maybe you want the new system to enable anyone in the office to find any file in less than one minute. How can you assign success to the work that you do?
#4 Time yourself
Bear with me, this can be more fun than it at first sounds. It can be easy to meander through tasks that bore you without much of an incentive to work quickly. You’ll be doing yourself and your day a favor if you give yourself a true time limit. Find a picturesque hourglass that can gently let you know how much time is left in your designated slot. Or, for a more pressing push, purchase a digital countdown clock.
#5 Listen to something interesting
From hip-popping melodies to an enthralling audiobook to a thought-provoking podcast, listening to something while you work can be a great way to feel mentally engaged. The best option will depend on your working style and the level of attention you need to pay to your work. Can you successfully eFile court documents while listening to the latest thriller? Or are you better off sticking to experimental jazz while you sort through eDiscovery documents?
#6 Figure out shortcuts
For some tasks, there’s little to do but hunker down and enter that data. But in some cases, you can identify workarounds to shorten the time commitment and outsmart that project. Is there an Excel formula or shortcut that can cut down on manual data entry? Did you know that One Legal Templates let you skip ahead on frequently filed document types? Start looking for useful skips.
#7 Gamify your day
Are there tasks that simply don’t challenge you anymore, or haven’t challenged you in years? What if completing tasks also helped you to earn “points?”
You can turn your entire day into a game. Apps that gamify your personal and work life give you points for achieving tasks, penalize you for missing deadlines, and overall turn your list of to-dos into a quest of accountability. SuperBetter, for instance, suggests power ups and creative ways to try new things.
#8 Do it with friends
The people you work with can make a huge difference in how pleasant your day to day is. Work friends can add accountability and increase connection. If you and a coworker have similar big projects to work on, try choosing the same time slot to work, or even retreating to a meeting room for focus in solidarity. Once you’ve finished, reward yourselves with a coffee run.
How do you spice up routine tasks that pop up in your daily duties? Share your ideas in the comments!