Productivity Hacks to Help You Get More Out of Your Workday

In today's fast-paced world, we are constantly striving to accomplish more. However, working longer hours isn't always the answer. The key lies in knowing productivity hacks that help you work smarter, not harder.


What sets working hard apart from working efficiently?

Working hard typically means spending long hours and putting vast effort into a project. However, this does not necessarily mean you are making good use of your time, nor does it guarantee positive outcomes. When you work efficiently, you focus your energy on the highest-priority tasks and streamline your workflow to accomplish them promptly and effectively. This maximises your output while minimising your wasted time and effort. Sounds good, right?

In this article, we will share some of our favourite productivity hacks to help you make the most of your workday and achieve your goals without sacrificing your personal life or well-being.


Hack 1: Identify Your Most Productive Time

The time of day can significantly impact our energy levels and overall productivity. Understanding our body's natural rhythms can help us determine when we are most alert and focused. Everyone's productive time may vary, so it's crucial to pay attention to when you are the most energised (hint: for most, it's during the morning!). This will allow you to capitalise on your high-energy periods and tackle essential tasks that require full attention. By focusing on less demanding activities, you can also avoid wasting precious minutes during your low-energy time. Finding and utilising your productive time can increase efficiency and success, whether it's early morning, midday, or later in the evening.


Hack 2: Prioritise Your Tasks

When faced with a heavy workload, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start. In these cases, one of the most effective things to do is prioritising your tasks. By organising your to-do list, you ensure that you tackle the highest priority tasks first. This allows you to make progress on meaningful projects and avoid the stress and anxiety that comes with procrastination.

The Eisenhower Matrix is a handy tool that helps categorise tasks based on urgency and importance. Using this matrix, you can identify which tasks to tackle when you set up your work day. Setting clear goals and deadlines for each task is also crucial. This helps maintain your focus and motivation, knowing that you have specific targets to meet. Creating lists or using templates can make prioritisation even easier, as you can visually see and rearrange your tasks. You can attain your goals and increase your productivity by prioritising effectively.

The Eisenhower matrix – A popular prioritization framework | Spica

        Use the Eisenhower Matrix to decide which tasks to accomplish first (credit: Blaz Kos)


Hack 3: Minimise Distractions

We all know how tempting it can be to constantly check your phone for notifications while working. Such distractions significantly impact our ability to complete tasks efficiently. Turning off notifications and creating a dedicated workspace free from interruptions is helpful to combat this. You can better concentrate on your work to accomplish your goals by eliminating these distractions. Setting clear goals and deadlines for each task is also crucial, as it helps you stay motivated and ensures that you're working towards attainable objectives.


Hack 4: Manage Your Energy and Avoid Burnout

It can be difficult to continue your work when you are low on energy. While pushing ourselves to the limit is tempting, working non-stop can diminish our overall effectiveness. This is because having low energy disrupts your focus. Therefore, it's essential to listen to your body and prioritise self-care. Take regular breaks throughout the day to recharge and rejuvenate. Engage in activities that replenish your energy, such as exercise, mindfulness, or time outside. Additionally, ensure you get enough sleep each night to optimise cognitive function and maintain a healthy work-life balance. By managing your energy levels and preventing burnout, you'll sustain your productivity in the long run and be better equipped to tackle tasks with focus and efficiency.


Hack 5: Use Productivity Tools

Technology is an extremely helpful tool for streamlining your workflow and enhancing your productivity. One tool is Casedo, our user-friendly document organisation solution. With Casedo, you can effortlessly store, bundle, and mark up your documents in one workspace. This saves you time and effort, allowing you to effortlessly make sense of your documents. This software will enable you to maximise your productive time and avoid wasting minutes on disorganised tasks during your workday. It's a completely effortless way to stay organised and increase productivity.


Using a tool like Casedo can simplify and streamline your workflow

Implementing productivity hacks is essential for reducing time wastage and increasing efficiency during your workday. Start implementing these hacks and experience the freedom that comes with working smarter. Remember, the key to success is finding attainable ways to maximise productivity. Don't let deadlines and disorganisation hold you back. Work smarter and get more done!


Legal technology: BAME at the Bar

Black Lives Matter in 2020 highlighted the disparity in our society and the legal profession is not exempt. An old boys club underpinned by uneven playing fields; the legal sector undeniably has a diversity problem. Naturally, this also extends to the legal technology industry.


Black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups and women are continue to be unrepresented in the legal technology industry. A study of racial diversity among founders of lawtech companies discovered that of 478 founders of lawtech companies in the US, only 26 were black or Latin. Within the lawtech industry in the UK, the same groups are also underrepresented. The UK employs more BAME individuals in its tech industry than any other sector, they are less likely to achieve leadership roles.

The issues in diversity within legal technology appear to stem from the barriers to the legal profession itself. Recent data reveals that only 21% of solicitors were from BAME backgrounds. Black lawyers are significantly underrepresented, making up 3% of all lawyers in England & Wales, a figure that has only risen by only 1% in the last six years.

The reality is equally bleak at the Bar. The latest Bar Standards Board (BSB) report on gender, ethnicity and social background of barristers suggests that diversity and inclusion figures have only marginally improved. Although the percentage of female QCs has increased since 2018, men still outnumber women with 61.3% of practising members identifying as male. The percentage of BAME practising barristers has increased by 0.6%. However, there are still only 13.6% BAME barristers at the Bar.

BAME individuals are also reported to have less representation in senior positions. The Diversity of the judiciary 2020 report suggests that only 8% of court judges and 12% of tribunal judges identified as BAME at 1st April 2020. The proportion of judges who identify as BAME is gradually progressing but remains considerably lower for senior-level court appointments than tribunals. .

A diverse legal sector can improve employee engagement, encourage understanding of differing perspectives, and attract a variety of divergent skill sets that can lead to innovation and promote creativity. As such, enhancing D&I in the legal field will inevitably bolster the lawtech industry as more creative ideas surface. A diverse workforce can offer unique styles, thinking and methodology, leading to better problem-solving models. By expanding the recruitment pool, the legal sector and in turn, legal technology, can only improve further.

For a profession responsible for the administration of justice, it is also crucial that it reflects the population it serves. Legal professionals in the industry must represent communities more closely if they are to trust in an independent and effective legal system. A diverse consumer of legal services will require a diverse legal profession to serve them. Thus, D&I will provide a better choice for the population and undeniably encourage potential clients to access legal services, resulting in a better consumer experience.

There is so much more that needs to be done. The question remains, how do we improve?


UPDATED 2023.05.23

5 last minute tips for legal directories submissions

The Legal 500 deadlines for barristers in London fall on 16th April (regional deadlines have already passed) and the Chambers barristers guide deadlines for various categories fall on 6th April. If you are working through your submissions, here are some last minute tips, courtesy of Victoria Moffatt, managing director and founder of legal directories specialists; LexRex Communications.


1. Read the form in detail

The notes that accompany the headings tend to tell you exactly what the researchers are looking for. Follow that advice.


2. Put your case studies in order

Legal directories researchers are human, and just like us, by the time they get to the final case study, they are likely to be running out of intellectual steam. Don’t simply add your case studies in the order in which they appear in your inbox or alphabetically - work out which are your stand-out matters and put them at the top of the pile. Follow this process for each leading barrister.


3. Elaborate on your case studies

Ensure that when you provide the detail for the case studies, explain what you did, and why it was significant. And remember that researchers are probably not lawyers - we tend to advise that you write for a normally intelligent university educated person.


4. Provide context where possible

If you make a statement - try to back it up with evidence.


5. Contact your referees in plenty of time

The referee feedback provides the most important aspect of the research. It’s really important. So make sure your referees know what to expect from the process, that they are happy to provide feedback and that they have an idea of who will contact them, how they will be contacted, and when it is likely to be.


LexRex Communications is a strategic marketing and PR consultancy for the legal sector with a particular interest in legal directories. LexRex has a full range of directories products ranging from its exclusive LexRex Legal Directories Toolkits, Introduction to Chambers and Introduction to The Legal 500 training courses; through to directories consultancy and drafting services.


Why not read our ‘Fostering new behaviour’ article on Legal Futures? Click HERE to read the full text.

Graduating in law during COVID-19

Gizem Akilli is graduating this year. Heading into the penultimate semester of her hard-fought law degree, the pandemic struck. She takes a brief look at how the virus has affected her studies and the first steps in her legal career.


Coming into the final year of my law degree, I was eager to graduate and swiftly move onto the Legal Practice Course at BPP. I had taken on a multitude of extracurricular responsibilities to ready myself for the challenges that I could face as a solicitor. I dedicated countless hours as a volunteer Initial Assessor at Toynbee Hall and worked with the CASEDO team on exciting projects that advance legal tech and the paperless agenda.


When COVID-19 emerged, and the global crisis ensued, I was concerned with what this could mean for my degree and career. I witnessed the unprecedented impacts of the crisis on Pro-bono services first hand. Despite all efforts, the law clinic was unable to give face-to-face assistance to clients in light of the new regulations and my volunteering placement came to an end. All my remaining assessments had been reshaped to a digital alternative, vital seminars and lectures were hosted by Zoom & GotoWebinar, and my graduation had been cancelled entirely. Given the research-heavy nature of the assessments and the fact that no university had ever transitioned in such a drastic fashion, I was increasingly anxious about the impacts this would have on students like myself.


I quickly realised that for most, who would spend days and nights at the law library working together, that operating remotely was a very dire change. However, as someone who had the opportunity to rely on legal case management software at the Casedo Paperless Moot, I was pretty confident in my ability to manage a digital workflow during lockdown to good effect. With signs that the pandemic had impacted universities across the UK, and with the likelihood of deferral amongst UK-domiciled students being approximately 17% higher, I could see quite clearly that City, University of London's effective transition was a positive move for the future of the institution. I was also pleasantly surprised that since the start of April, Toynbee Hall had been able to also transition effectively. The law clinic has been able to assist nearly 500 people over the phone and online, but this is clearly not enough, and the clinic would certainly have benefited from having pre-existing digital support in place.


As an international student, my first instinct was that the already tricky prospects of becoming a legal professional had become that much harder. Like many, I was disappointed with the news that vacation schemes and work experience programmes were cancelled in light of the circumstances. With such confidence-curtailing news, it has not been a good time to 'aspire' to a career in law. Having said that, I understood the importance of grasping the implications of COVID-19 for the commercial world and readying myself despite the challenges that lie ahead. I have had the opportunity to upskill, applying the technological and commercial awareness I have developed at CASEDO to an array of virtual networking events and work experiences. Through completing virtual internships at Linklaters, Pinset Masons, Baker Mckenzie and White & Chase, I have realised that students need not worry, as the opportunities to impress have not collapsed, they've just transformed.


Despite the adversities brought about by COVID-19, I have made efforts to avoid losing sight of my ambition. By demonstrating higher productivity and efficiency, I have become more energetic throughout the crisis. This will undoubtedly bode well for me when my dream law firm asks How did you respond to the COVID-19 crisis?


Why not read our ‘International Women’s Day – Time to demand more’ article on Legal Futures? Click HERE to read the full text.

Starting out in Law during the onset of COVID-19

Milad Shojaei graduated in 2019, looking to build a career as a barrister, and then Coronavirus came along and everything changed. He takes a brief look at how the virus has affected him and the first steps in his legal career.

Like many people, the sweeping changes brought about by COVID-19 impacted me at the beginning of my legal career. Having just started to take instructions as a County Court Advocate for LPC Law in early March, I only had the chance to represent clients at a handful of hearings, before every matter I was instructed on was adjourned. Worse yet, all but one of my pupillage applications had fallen apart with the interviews being scrapped in light of the circumstances. This alongside significant concerns that various law firms could go bankrupt and with alarming statistics that 83% of junior barristers would not survive the pandemic, I was worried that my short-lived career as a legal professional was coming to an end before it even started!


Luckily the legal sector was not completely unprepared. After the emergency release of the Coronavirus Act 2020, it was clear that the Courts in England & Wales had, through no choice of their own, taken on an accelerated transition into the paperless world, by expanding the availability of video and audio-link in court proceedings. Before working remotely myself, I could already observe the cultural shifts in the legal landscape with my LinkedIn feed being loaded with various promotions of legal tech and a cluster of invitations to participate in mock remote jury trials to test the robustness of the new system.


The reality set in when I was first instructed on an Infant Settlement, and the entire procedure was conducted over a telephone conference, in my living room. For most, this was a sign that something was going wrong, for me not so much. As someone who had been advocating the digitisation of the legal sector at CASEDO for nearly a year, I not only had the technological awareness necessary for the change but was also equipped with the right legal case management software to assist my practice.


In essence, I have welcomed this change. What’s more is that my dream chambers decided to continue with the pupillage process via Zoom, technology coming in for the save again! That’s not to say that the impacts of the global crisis aren’t disastrous, but to witness the legal sector at large experience a wake-up call as to the things myself and the team at CASEDO have been driving forward, certainly suggests that more innovation and improved efficiency are on the horizon.


Why not read our 'Law under lockdown: enduring the challenges of Covid-19' article on Legal Futures? Click HERE to read the full text.


Feature Image License: CC0 Public Domain, mohamed mahmoud hassan


Work life balance

Life after lockdown: how will the legal sector change post-pandemic?

March 2020 will undoubtedly be a time many remember as marking the beginning of an (as yet undetermined) period of lockdown. While some rushed to supermarkets to stockpile toilet paper and pasta, more of us scrambled to adapt to working from home and the new pressures this would put on our work lives. 


As the dust settles and we begin to get used to the new normal, we look at some of the key takeaways from the coronavirus crisis, and what this could mean for the future of work in the legal sector. 


Most of the sector was not set up for the majority of its workforce to be remote. While some shifts, such as switching to telephone hearings, have been relatively easy to make, the fact remains that the court system is not equipped to deal with remote working practices and the pressures of lockdown. 


“The pandemic has forced the legal sector to recognise the value and practicality of working remotely” says Milad Shojaei, a County Court Advocate at LPC Law. How various parts of the sector implement this, however, will be the truest test of adaptability and future-proofing. There are already murmurings of a greater reliance on automation, with legal tech stepping in to streamline processes such as document assembly and practice management. 


An issue that has come up time and time again in various reports and tweets is the problematic reliance we have on paper and printing. This appears to have been more of a problem for trainees or juniors, with many of them reportedly returning to family homes equipped with more suitable home offices than their flatshares. The reliance on hard copies of documents we have in the legal sector seems at odds with an increasingly digital world — begging the question: will this cause an overhaul of current systems and workflows? 


If 2019 was the year that legal tech boomed on the investment side, we predict that 2020 will be the year this tech is adopted en masse by lawyers themselves. It is notable that the technologies being picked up most are not the heavyweight, hi-tech solutions to industry-specific problems, but simple tools for everyday tasks: video conferencing for remote meetings, and pdf software for analysing documents on a laptop. We are going to see those tools become deeply integrated into the practice of law. 


There is also, of course, the concern of a potential economic downturn to consider. Inevitably, some firms will have to tighten their belts, looking to cut overhead costs where they can. At this point, many partners may begin to wonder whether paying for large, expensive office space is the best use of a firm’s money when activity during the coronavirus pandemic has proven that remote working is possible. We anticipate the office space as we know it will radically change, taking on a primary function as a meeting place. One Forbes reporter also highlights the possibility of offices becoming more accommodating to different ways of working — incorporating places for focus, collaboration, learning and socialisation into the fabric of the office design. 


The need to adapt extends beyond the office, though. Just this week, New York administrative judges announced that they would be debuting virtual court operations for three of its Judicial Districts. This is something we are already seeing in the UK, with the introduction of the Online Court, which allows certain smaller value claims to be decided completely online, and will soon be expanding. How will this influence the way court proceedings are carried out in the future?


A remote workforce isn’t the only problem that has surfaced amid the coronavirus crisis. Fears have arisen about employee wellbeing. It’s no secret that stress is a prevalent issue across the industry, and many have voiced concerns on the added implications of isolation on mental wellbeing for lawyers.


Could this crisis mark a turning point in employee care? With this added focus on ensuring that everybody who is working from home is coping, and a concerted effort made to keep in touch via videoconferencing and messaging tools, it’s fair to assume that the culture of law will undergo changes. 


We may begin to see less of a focus on the cut-throat atmosphere we have all come to see as normal and pay closer attention to the people we work with on a daily basis. Taylor Wessing is a prime example of this. While the firm already provided a premium subscription to a popular meditation app to their employees, they have recently decided to extend this to their future trainees. Furthermore, during this crisis, Taylor Wessing is implementing several other initiatives to maintain staff wellbeing — including virtual yoga, guided meditation and choir. The coronavirus has highlighted to companies how important it is for its workforce to be engaged and motivated, and the lessons learned during this time are likely to influence company culture for years to come. 


One thing is for sure, COVID-19 is set to change many aspects of working in the legal sector and there will need to be a willingness to adapt to change, or risk being left in the dust. The sector as a whole must use this situation to ensure it is ready not just for a future crisis, but a more flexible way of working generally.


This article was published was subsequently published on the Legal Futures website on 20th April 2020.