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Time management tips

Time management tips

By Katherine Lishman

Planning Time Management Workplace 


Whether you are at law school, starting your legal career or well advanced in the profession, time management is key to maintaining mental and physical wellbeing. Partner Reynah Tang, student Anna Belgiorno-Nettis and consultant Stephanie Millione offer some insights into how they manage their busy schedules. Former LIV president Reynah Tang is a partner at Johnson Winter & Slattery, a sessional member at VCAT and director of the Wellbeing and the Law Foundation (WATL). “If you look after your wellbeing it will really improve your resilience and mental health,” Mr Tang said. Finding time to do things outside work is important in creating a sense of wellbeing. “It is good to be involved in external things to broaden your horizons and gain exposure to issues outside day-to-day practice.” He added, however, that it is important not to overcommit. “When things get frantic, it is useful to write a list to sort out your priorities and manage your workload,” he advised. Mr Tang tries to keep his email inbox clean (less than 20 emails as a rule of thumb) and uses his online calendar as a central database for all his commitments. This is something he only started doing in 2015, and he notes “it’s never too late to start a new habit”. As a partner, Mr Tang knows that junior lawyers are never fully in control of their time. His advice to young lawyers is to communicate. “Practitioners will not know what else you have on your plate so you have to take the initiative and manage expectations.” Anna Belgiorno-Nettis is the president of the University of Melbourne Law Students’ Society and a third-year juris doctor student. “Think of the times, spaces and ways in which you study best and organise your routine around them,” Ms Belgiorno-Nettis recommends. “My time is the morning and my space is solitary so I try to keep the time before lunch for studying by myself.” When balancing study with work and other commitments, she says that it is important to have good habits that will help you do the work efficiently. “Be realistic with yourself about how much you can do in the time that you have. Work out what is most important to do and accept that sometimes you can’t do it all.” For Ms Belgiorno-Nettis, studying practice exams in a study group is invaluable for preparing for exams. “These groups are great not only because they help you confirm if you answered past questions correctly, but also because they are a much-needed, productive break from those solitary study hours.” Victorian Women Lawyers (VWL) Convenor Stephanie Millione is a consultant at Nous Group. Ms Millione does a lot of planning in advance. “When I start the week I schedule in all the meetings I do for VWL, so I know they are blocked out. I also schedule in gym time and catch-ups with friends. If you don’t allocate time for those activities you just work all the time,” she said. With respect to her VWL responsibilities, Ms Millione said that “it is easy to motivate myself primarily because I really like the extracurricular stuff I do. I am passionate about gender equality.” She said it is easier to make time for things you enjoy doing. She said it can sometimes be challenging for young lawyers to engage in activities outside work as they may feel uncomfortable telling their boss they have other commitments. “It is good to take the time to explain to your [boss] what you are committed to. If you are a dedicated team member and work hard, you can make time for your own things.” Managing a busy schedule also involves taking advantage of working in a team. “Have people you can count on to delegate – it is important to develop those relationships.” KATHERINE LISHMAN is an associate at Johnson Winter & Slattery.

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