Are you feeling like there just aren’t enough hours in the day? Do you have way too much work on your plate and too many tasks on your to-do list? And most of that work and too many of those tasks aren’t even billable?
It’s not presumptuous to assume so, considering attorneys report that only 31% of the work they do is billable. No wonder you feel so stretched. You’re busy all day but only able to squeeze in a couple of hours of billable work!
Here’s what that looks like:
The average hourly rate for attorneys is $300.
Attorneys record only 2.5 hours of billable work per day on average.
Assuming an 8-hour workday, that’s 5.5 hours or $1,650 lost every day!
Your time is too valuable to give away for free! So how did you end up here, doing just that?
Of course, you know you’re spending too much time doing administrative work, but it still feels like there’s time disappearing into thin air.
The task-switching required to balance this variety of work is a likely culprit.
Task-Switching vs. Multitasking
You multitask every day – you may be multitasking right now. You’ve talked on the phone while driving or listened to an audiobook while making dinner – that’s multitasking. Because multitasking involves doing more than one thing at once, as long as only one (or none) is something that takes specific effort or focus.
When you hear people talk about the benefits of multitasking, keep that in mind.
Task-switching, however, is a wolf in multitasking’s clothing.
Physical things like opening an app, wrapping up work to put on hold, or getting distracted with other things tacks on time between each task.
A study has even shown how people getting sidetracked while task-switching lost 25 minutes of their time by stopping to complete 2.3 other tasks before returning to the original!
But you think you have the willpower to stay on track?
Switching tasks takes 16 seconds on average, and people switch tasks 12 times on average every half hour! That right there is 10% of your time… and you can find it out the window.
There are mental aspects to task-switching as well. Your brain takes time switching gears moving from one set of rules to another. You aren’t immediately engrossed and focused when you sit down to go over a document or fill out paperwork. Getting into a productive state takes time. And repeating this process over and over is so time-consuming, that even short mental blocks can cost as much as 40% of someone’s productive time!
Taking phone calls is a common task-switch that’s worse than many, as you don’t know when the calls are coming.
Your brain is in an anxious state knowing that you could hear a ring at any moment, and won’t let you give your full attention to other work.
Just a couple of unscheduled 5-minute phone calls could take upwards of 2 hours from your day… Considering attorneys’ average hourly rate of $300, you could be spending $600 on something a receptionist could do in 20 minutes!
What Can You Do?
The options to overcome the time-sucking task-switching cycle are few:
- Stop working on cases.
- Stop doing administrative work.
Of course, you can’t stop working on cases. So, you need some help!
If you could afford the help, you’d already have it, right? Intuitively your brain is telling you that money spent is money lost.
But that’s not the case here.
When you spend $20 an hour paying for someone else to do your administrative work, you will see that $20 gone… But when you spend that hour on billable work yourself, you’ll bring in 10-15x that amount.
And neither you nor your receptionist will watch time disappear due to task-switching.
Of course, hiring in-house isn’t the most cost effective option. Hiring a full-time legal receptionist, for example, would cost you approximately $4,123.60 per month when you factor in employer taxes and benefits. (We did the math.)
Using a virtual legal receptionist service is a great alternative:
- You will never have to worry if that call that got missed over lunch was your biggest opportunity this year.
- You’ll rest easy knowing every call you get will be answered, and every potential new client will complete the intake process.
- You’ll save anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 a month compared to hiring in house.
- You’ll make more money by doing billable work instead of wasting your time on administrative tasks.
- You will eliminate the task-switching cycle and take back your time.
- You’ll take in more clients and scale your firm thanks to the time you got back.
The take-home is: You can’t afford to spend your valuable time losing money when you could be making it; so you can’t afford not to save money by outsourcing your administrative work!
Looking for more ways to save time and make more money? Download our Money-Making Automations E-book.