Taking inventory


I watched a video about tasks, tools, and processes for creatives and thought the information was helpful for lawyers. Helpful because it provides a framework for thinking about your work and how you can do it more efficiently and with better results.

We’re told that tasks fall into 4 types of categories, Administrative, Consumption, Documentation, and Creative, and as I thought about what I do in my work in this context, I starting thinking about what I could eliminate, delegate, automate, speed up, or otherwise improve. You might do the same.


Administrative tasks include calendaring, conflict management, bookkeeping, client communication, website updates, file management, HR, individual task management, and so much more.

We spend a significant percentage of our day doing or managing these tasks; they are the most obvious category to delegate or automate.


Cases, articles, books, blogs, courses, podcasts, newsletters, videos, seminars—it’s a long list.

You can streamline this category by cutting out some sources of material you regularly turn to, subscribing to services or newsletters that curate this information for you, more audio and less text, and by assigning the “first pass” for some of this content to someone who works for you.


This includes taking notes on client matters, and notes on the other material you consume, recording ideas, storing documents, and the software and systems you use to retrieve this information.


This is your output—how you get paid. It includes your legal work—drafting, negotiating, writing, speaking—and everything you do for marketing.

You might not want to delegate all of this, but you can get help with research, investigation, first drafts, editing, and follow-ups.

As you consider these categories, think about your situation and what you want to improve. Go through a typical week or month and document what you do.

  1. Tasks. Brainstorm every function performed by you and the people who work for you (or outsources).
  2. Tools. Note the software and hardware you use on the computer, browser extensions, phone apps, paper and folders, etc. It also includes forms, templates, checklists, reminders, and more.
  3. Processes. How you do what you do. This will take the most time to document, but is likely to deliver the most benefits.

If you don’t want to do all this right now, at least use this as a checklist to think about how you use your time and what you could do to use it better.