What’s Your Most Productive Time of Day?


There’s a fascinating view among some lawyers that they can simply be productive for extended periods of the work day.

They are wrong.

The stark reality is that we all have key areas of the day where we are most productive.  Capitalising on these times (to the extent our bosses allow us) is going to yield far better productivity than simply plugging on through the hard times.

Why Does it Matter?

It’s quite fun, after all, for us morning people (yep – that’s me) to relentlessly tease those of you who don’t necessarily find the mornings very amusing.

Traditionally my gentle barbs are met with scowls, misery or by completely being ignored by those less inclined to lark like activity than myself.

However, there’s a serious issue behind it – it’s that when firms compel people to work hours that they otherwise can’t function in, they are actually doing the firm a disservice.

Finding Your Sweet Time

It’s pretty easy for most of us to identify whether we are morning or evening people.

However, just in case, take a look out for these characteristics:

  • when do you have the most energy
  • when do you traditionally “go slow” and when are you on fire
  • if you had a choice, what time of day would you tackle the difficult issues
  • would you resign if your work implemented an earlier start time, or rejoice?

Simple.  Easy.

But what can we do with it?

Productive Harmony

Productivity is about finding ways to achieve more, and one of these critical ways is to increase the opportunity to work in your preferred times.  That means that you should be allocated your work day in a way that seeks to capitalise on this.

If you’re a morning person, that’s when you should be tackling difficult tasks, making difficult decisions, and attacking your hardest matters.  It’s when you will be clearing your desk of “those things” that have been bothering you, and otherwise generating as much useful work as possible.

Likewise, if the evening is when your mind is clear and your heart is strong – then get into it and start working through the issues at the end of the day.

Now obviously you need to work the entire work day, so what are you going to do the rest of the time?

Well, the non-premium times are when you should be focusing on your other tasks that don’t necessarily require quite as much intellectual rigour – marketing activities, filing, administration and tasks which generally you find you can do properly without needing you to be completely at your best.  That way you are using that time productively, but saving your best for the times that it’s worth it.

Use all of your time well – but just ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward when it comes to getting complex things done.

Happy Lawyering!


  • Hi Chris…

    Very much agree with the basic premise…I’m a morning person…4.30am suits me well most mornings…

    I agree that non-premium time should be allocated to non-premium tasks…

    Where I take issue is that you have included Marketing in the non-premium group…

    Marketing time investment can and should produce far more per hour over time than an hour on the normal Client file, and requires the lawyer to be focussed and firing, confident and clear.

    I suggest getting non face to face stuff done in premium time for effectiveness and satisfaction before the day really gets otherwise into gear. Reverse for evening people of course.

    After a few hours on the files, there are then good times to make “How’s Things?” calls to both clients and prospects, who should by then have a decent part of their own day under their belt and be happy to give you a few moments of their valuable time if you have really relevant worthwhile things for them to hear…

    If Marketing is less for non-premium time I observe that many lawyers stumble and miss-fire, suffer writer’s block and go round in circles.

    Marketing is far too important to career development for employed lawyers to risk that!

    Cheers and best wishes…

    Rob Knowsley

    PS I’m here in non-premium time early evening sorting out Tax Return stuff with a cold one!

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