Time-Saving Tips for Law Students

Time-Saving Tips for Law StudentsThis week we welcome back guest writer Julia Gourary to talk about some ideas for saving time as a law student.

In law school, it sometimes feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day for everything. Whether you’re juggling school with a part-time job, a relationship, parenting, or just trying to find time for healthy habits like exercise, sleep, and eating right, time can be tight. Assuming you’ve already gone for low-hanging fruit like putting your phone on Do Not Disturb, avoiding social media, or staying out of Internet rabbit holes in order to avoid distraction, what else can a busy law student do to save time? Read on for some time-saving tips for law students.

1. Use Digital Conveniences

While the downside of technology is how distracting it can be, it can also rescue us from time spent on mundane tasks. Putting your bills on autopay may not seem like a big time-saver, but it cuts out not only the time spent paying your bills, but also the mental energy of remembering when various payments are due. With all the school deadlines you’re probably already juggling in your head, taking remembering to pay your bills out can remove some mental clutter so you can focus on other things.

Another great technological time-saver is ordering groceries online. If you’re anything like me, you can spend ages hunting for items in the store, or easily get distracted by foods that weren’t even on your grocery list. Ordering your groceries online saves you a trip to the store and the time wandering the aisles.

2. Work when you’re the Most Productive

You might think that a task will take however long it takes, so it doesn’t matter when you work on it. But that’s not true! Different people focus better during different times of day, so one of the biggest things you can do to save time is to schedule cognitively demanding tasks (e.g. research, writing, outlining) for the window when you are most productive. For me, that’s the few hours after I wake up, so I like to get up early and get through my readings before class. If you’re a night owl, on the other hand, you may prefer the few hours before you go to sleep. If you take advantage of that time, you’ll work more efficiently on your more mentally taxing tasks, and you can use times when you aren’t at peak performance to hang out with friends, do less demanding tasks, or just take a break.

3. Clump Tasks Together

If you have a bunch of errands to run, for example, try to set aside a couple hours to do them all at once. Or, rather than checking your inbox periodically all day, set a single time at the end or beginning of the day to look through and respond to emails. Another tip is if you have a task that involves some waiting periods (like laundry), use that time to do another task (like vacuuming). Not only is pairing tasks together like this more efficient, it also makes it easier to keep track of what needs to get done and when, because doing the first task will trigger the second in your mind.

4. Try not to Multitask

While it can be helpful to combine tasks, switching among different tasks without finishing any one of them can actually be a time drain. It’s so tempting to try to do multiple things at once, and it makes us feel like we’re getting more done in less time. But when we multitask, we force our brains to take time to adjust every time we switch tasks. Plus, our attention on any one task is never complete. It’s more efficient, therefore, to follow through on one item on your list before moving onto the next one. This applies in class, too: how many times have you been checking your email in class only to realize you missed everything the professor said in the last five minutes? Giving class your full and singular attention will save you time in the long run.

5. Schedule Regular Times to See Friends and Family

Everyone is so busy these days, trying to schedule a time to see people is way harder than it needs to be. You go back and forth on when to meet so many times you almost wish you had never bothered in the first place, or you just give up altogether. An effective and efficient way to eliminate those issues—and time they cost—is to schedule a regular time for a phone call or meetup. Setting up a weekly or biweekly time to chat takes the guesswork out of scheduling and ensures you’ll be in regular touch. Carrie and her friends had it right with their regular weekend brunch in Sex and the City—scheduling a routine day, time, and even place (if you’re meeting in person) removes the time and effort involved in scheduling every meetup separately.

Still feeling pressed for time? Check out these great posts on time management strategies:


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About Julia Gourary

Julia is a 2L at NYU School of Law. She received her B.A. in Art History from Yale University, where she graduated magna cum laude in December 2021. In addition to writing for Law School Toolbox, she currently works as an LSAT tutor. In her spare time, she enjoys reading novels, doing yoga, and binge-watching reality TV.

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