Tips for Time Management in Law School

Hello everyone!

This post is the result of several requests- I absolutely love getting reader requests for posts because then I know I am producing content that people want to see. Anyway, I am going to talk about time management in law school.... it's hard ya'll. However, there are ways it make it easier to manage your time amidst the madness that is law school.

I have always been a busy person. In high school, I traveled the country showing horses as well as being a strong student and having a part-time job. In college, I carried a full course load for a double major, was a varsity athlete, lead student organizations, planned a wedding and worked part-time. I was used to being busy and having to get a lot of things done in the mere 24 hours in a day. Then law school started and I felt like I was juggling a bunch of sticks on fire with one hand tied behind my back. Now two years in, I have improved on my time management skills (though I am nowhere near perfect). Law school has pushed me to utilize my time in the most effective way possible in order to get through without floundering. For all those out there starting law school or looking for some tips to finish strong, here are some things that have helped me improve my time management skills as a law student. Without further ado, here are my top 7 tips!

1. Get a Planner
If you have been around this little blog for a while, you know that I am planner obsessed. But there is a good reason- that planner keeps my world spinning in the right direction... without it I would be utterly lost. Planners can really help with time management in law school as a way to keep all the things you have going on straight. Law school has many components: obviously, there is class, reading, and homework but there is also professional development events, meetings with professors, study group, job interviews... the list goes on and on. Having a place where all of that is compiled helps to avoid anything getting forgotten. It also helps you manage your time because you know which days are busy and which days aren't. You can use those non-busy days to get caught up on things so the busy days don't feel quite so hectic. A planner also helps to keep track of assignments and how much you have completed; I like to set some self-imposed due dates in my planner whenever I have a big project or paper. This helps me to regulate how much I have to get done in that span of time.

More Posts on Planners in Law School

2. Block Your Calendar
Recently, I have gotten hooked on blocking my calendar to help manage my time. So far, I am LOVING it. Here is the video that got me hooked in the first place:

I am not quite on her level in regards to calendar blocking but I have started to integrate it into my google calendar. I like that it gives my time purpose. Usually, when I would have spare time, I would waste a bunch of time deciding exactly what I would use that spare time doing. Now, I just consult my calendar to see I will spend the next hour working on my reading. I find that I waste a lot less time and I am able to relax more in my free time. I am the type of person that sits down to watch TV and then stresses out the whole time because I feel like I should be doing something more productive. Now, when my calendar has nothing in that time slot, I know I can relax because all the things I have to get done have an assigned time and I will get to it.

Here is an example of my weekly calendar layout for Fall semester (yes I am a planner so I already have that planned out). This is not all-inclusive because once the semester starts I know I will need to make some adjustments but it is a good starting spot.

3. Make Lists
I love love love a good to do list. I stock up on the little to-do list pads from TJ Maxx and the Target dollar section. I have those in almost every room of my house, a notebook full of to-do lists in my purse... I may have a problem. However, making to-do lists really helps me manage my time because it lets me know what needs to be completed within what time frame and helps me to manage all the things in my life and what needs to be accomplished for each. I have lists for each individual part of my life: list of things to do around the house, a list of things to do for school, list of things to do for work... etc. I also like to make lists for each day so I know what I need to do that day and then I can prioritize my time accordingly. One trick I like to do on days where I really have no motivation is to make a list with the short, easy projects first and working up to the harder and bigger projects at the bottom. This way, I start with all the quick little stuff and it gets me in a more motivated and productive mood to be able to tackle the bigger things. Also, there is something to be said for the satisfaction of crossing something off a to-do list- I find that to be an excellent source of motivation.

4. Prioritize
Speaking of prioritizing, this is another trick that helps me to manage my time. When I make my to-do lists, I try to order it from highest priority to lowest priority. That way, I won't waste my time on things that are low priority and have to stay up late finishing something high priority. I get the important things done first and fill in with less important, lower priority things if time allows. It is often easy to put off an important thing that you don't want to do in favor of less important things that are easier or more fun... but this is not good for time management because it will not get things done when they need to be done. Suck it up, prioritize the stuff you have to do and get sh** done.

5. Make a Routine
I have always been horrible about setting routines.... but as my plate has become more and more full of commitments and things to do, I have learned that setting a routine can be really helpful in managing my time, day to day. I love having a morning routine because it makes it easier to remember everything. In the rush of a routine less day, I tend to forget many things and pay for it later. When I have a routine, my days are more regimented and I get more done without feeling like I am "rushing" and "running out of time". For example, here is my traditional morning routine:

  • Wake up 
  • Let dogs out
  • Shower, brush teeth, wash face
  • Make Coffee
  • Do my hair
  • Get Dressed
  • Eat Breakfast 
  • Answer emails over breakfast 
  • Do makeup
  • Pack lunch
  • Pack purse for the day 
  • Let dogs out again 
  • Leave for work/school 
My morning routine doesn't overly involve the things on my to-do list but because I have a routine set, my mornings go much smoother and I am less stressed out about what needs to be done because I have a routine. My daily routine includes time for studying, cleaning, cooking, relaxing and so much more. Having myself in the routine of doing things at a certain time makes it easier to get everything done without worrying about when it will get done. 

6. Set Timers
Has anyone ever went to clean up their room, found an old box or something and then spent way too much time reminiscing and looking through it instead of getting done what you were supposed to? Happens to me all the time. I go to make a sandwich and end up reorganizing the fridge, I want to lay out my clothes and can't find my belt and it leads to me reorganizing the whole closet. To combat this bad habit of mine, I like to set timers for getting things done. I set a timer for 10 minutes and run around cleaning up the house as much as I can in those 10 minutes- it's like a game. I try to allow the time appropriately so that I can get done what I set out to get done and sometimes I go a little under or over but the fact of the matter is, setting a timer makes me work a little faster and more efficiently on whatever I am doing and keeps me focused.

7. Balance
So if you have read this far, you probably think I am some crazy person who is always doing things and is super, duper productive or something. While I am a busy body and I have trouble sitting still for too long, super productive is not how I would describe myself. I have a lot going on in my life and a lot of things to do. I try really really hard to be motivated and productive and stay on top of things... but there has to be balance in life. There are plenty of days that I act like a lazy lump of crap and get nothing done except for binging my way through something on Netflix. There are days I surprise even myself with how much I get done. Life is all about balance and managaing your time and being productive is no exception.

I hope these tips help you! I have a ton of new content on the way over the next few weeks before school starts! If you are not already following me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and you want to see updates when the new posts go up, just follow these simple links and click follow :)

Thanks for reading!

1 comment

  1. I'd love to read a post on balancing law school and major stress. :)