Need to Get More Done in Law School? Try The Units.

People holding handsThe Units time management strategy is similar to The Circles method, with an added feature: peer pressure!

In a nutshell, you find a reliable friend or two, and collectively you work “Units.” Each Unit represents 45 minutes of uninterrupted work on a particular task. The twist is that you publicly announce your intention, before you start working. Ideally your friend will Unit at the same time, but that’s not an absolute requirement. What matters is that you announce your intention in advance, and confirm that you did what you said you were going to do when you finish.

How to Implement The Units

There are various ways you can structure this:

  • The easiest approach is to send an email or text to your Unit buddy, saying “Unit: 10:00-10:45. Go!” just before you start, and sending another message when you finish: “Unit: Done, awesome!”
  • If you want to get fancy, you can set up a private Facebook group to keep track of your progress. I’m in one with a bunch of professors (one of whom taught me this technique) and, man, those people can Unit!
  • Alternately, you can Unit in person, sharing a library table with your buddy, assuming both of you have the willpower to work quietly rather than sharing the latest law school gossip.
Advantages of The Units

This technique is effective for several reasons:

  • Like The Circles, it breaks your day into manageable chunks of focused time, allowing you to get work done without stressing out about how much you should be working.
  • Because you’re sharing your plans with someone else, you’re more likely to follow through. This is particularly true when the process is bi-directional. If you know your friend is off in a library working hard, you’re going to feel more of an obligation to do the same. Basically, you’re putting peer pressure to work for you!
  • Finally, sharing Units creates a positive feedback loop. Social support is a powerful motivator, and you’re going to get a little support boost every time you complete a Unit. Ideally, your Unit buddy will respond with a “Good job!” but, even if they don’t, you still know someone is paying attention. Just knowing you’re not alone as you go about your day has value. Much law school work is solitary, so it’s important to build in routine bits of social interaction where you can.

Read on:

More time management tips of awesomeness:

  1. The Circles
  2. The Units
  3. The Buzzer

Return to Surviving Law School 101.

Need tips on how to set up a Units team? Leave questions in the comments!

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  1. […] three time-management strategies she proposes are: The Circles, The Units and The […]

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