Lawyers often have difficulty managing their time. Maybe it’s due to taking too much or a lack of resources to better organize them. Whatever the cause, adopting effective time management techniques can help lawyers be more productive throughout the day and increase their billable hours. Many tools are available for law firms, such as Google Calendar to improve productivity and time management. This tool effectively tracks time and prevents wasted time, missed deadlines, and inaccuracies that can lead to discrepancies in billable hours.
Too many lawyers and law firms eschew technology, but it’s a valuable tool to aid in the day-to-day tasks of a law firm. With the shift to remote working, customer demands and increased workloads, technology is a vital addition. Even something as ubiquitous as Google Calendar can go a long way to improving a law firm’s processes, especially when combined with law firm management software.
What is Google Calendar?
Google Calendar is a time management and scheduling calendar service available on the web and as mobile apps for Android and iOS platforms. It’s part of Google’s suite of office software, which includes tools like Google Drive and Google Meet.
With Google Calendar, users can create and edit events, set reminders, and add special calendars for events such as birthdays. Google Calendar also syncs with Gmail to automatically track events from emails and add them to the calendar, preventing mistakes and double entries.
The calendar has other useful features, including reminders for things to do, recommended titles, contacts and locations when creating events, and goals for setting and tracking personal goals. Events are tracked in local time, but users can specify a different time zone for an event.
1. Law firms can access Google Calendar from anywhere
Lawyers are more often working remotely or in the field, fueling the need for a cloud-based solution. Google Calendar resides in the cloud, ensuring that attorneys and other staff can access and edit their schedules anywhere they can access the internet, whether on smartphones or laptops.
The calendar allows you to quickly switch views between a day, week, month, or year view to get a full view of their calendar. If others have shared their calendars, each user can choose to see the calendar or hide it to keep things more streamlined and organized.
2. Take advantage of tools and features
Google Calendar has many built-in tools for organization and time management. Events have a set start and stop time or the option for an all day event. Users can enable a recurring feature with a set frequency for events that occur regularly, such as ongoing training or staff meetings that occur weekly or bi-weekly.
Lawyers and other staff can also organize events by color. For example, customer meetings or events that fall under billable time might be marked blue, while staff meetings or non-billable time might be marked red. For individual tasks in the task list, they can be marked in purple.
3. Improve collaboration between law firms through sharing
Like the rest of Google Suite, Calendar enhances enterprise-wide collaboration. Lawyers can send invitations to anyone with an email address and they will receive it in their online calendar with the google sync feature.
Calendars can also be shared company-wide, so everyone has access to each other’s important schedules and events. Sharing settings ensure that attorneys and other staff can limit who can see calendars and events, and who can make changes to the schedule. Lawyers and other staff can also invite others to events, which then appear in the calendar. People outside of Google Suite will have the option to respond “yes”, “no”, or “maybe” to the event.
4. Prioritize upcoming tasks and events
One of the best time management tips is to organize the day’s tasks by priority. This ensures that the most important tasks are completed first, followed by medium or low priority tasks. Lawyers should start with a comprehensive list of things that need to be done in the near future. These can be organized in Google Calendar. This provides a comprehensive list of everything that needs to be done, which can then be prioritized by importance. Lawyers can use colors, labels, or notes to designate the most important and least important tasks to stay on track.
Another option is to start with the most tedious or difficult tasks and then work towards the easier tasks. Likewise, these tasks can be tagged or color-coded for organization in Google Calendar. This feature also offers optional notifications like push notifications to remind to perform different tasks.
Google Calendar has a variety of useful tools for law firms, including collaboration, access from anywhere using the cloud, and organizational tools like reminders, push notifications, and color coding for events and meetings. Combined with the integrations of law firm management software like Bill4Time, Google Calendar can ensure that a law firm runs as efficiently and error-free as possible, maximizing billable hours and ensuring smooth day-to-day operations.
©2006-2022, BILL4TIME. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 159