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#420: Set a Logical Limit on Hours Billed

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, October 22, 2010
Updated: Friday, October 22, 2010
I find myself busier than ever. Combining billable work, marketing, research, and keeping up with the profession is taking more time than I want to give. Where is the best place to cut back?

Regrettably, long hours are seen by some as evidence of productivity. But in people providing professional services, such as consultants and lawyers, it is the effectiveness of individual hours that determines how effective we are. Are you really effectively serving your clients if you bill 2,000 hours and do no research or learn no new skills? If we can encourage our clients to streamline processes and do more with less, then we should be able to do the same with ourselves.

Think about the amount of time you would like to spend in various activities. Be sure to include working on your business, personal time, sleep, education, research, billable activities, marketing, activities with your professional association(s), and exercise. How much of each is not enough - or too much? Create a plan for how you will reach your activity time targets.

Tip: Every month, step back and evaluate where you spent your time. Graphically display the ten categories of activity that consume the most of your time. Compare them to the amount of time you think you need to be most effective. Each month, commit to getting at least one of these categories that have drifted away from your plan back in alignment.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consulting lifestyle  practice management  work-life balance 

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