Does Working Harder Make You More Productive as a Law Firm Owner?

We only have so much energy for our work, for our relationships, for ourselves. A smart person understands this and guards it carefully.

—Ryan Holiday


If your law firm isn’t yet producing the profits you want, your natural impulse might be to work harder—put some more “muscle” into it, so to speak. But does that strategy really work?

“Productivity” is a catch word that we hear often in the workforce today—because it’s considered a commodity. The more productive your firm or business, the general belief is the more money you’re making. Few would dispute the idea that Americans are working harder than ever to be more productive. We work longer hours and take fewer vacations than other nations around the world. And yet all our hard work isn’t increasing our productivity. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that our rate of increased productivity is actually lower now than it has been in decades.

Depressed yet?

Obviously, we’ve got some sort of disconnect here. If hard work alone made us more productive, we’d be outproducing everyone else. Instead, we’re just more tired than everyone else.

Working “Smarter” Doesn’t Always Work, Either

We often hear the phrase, “Work smarter, not harder,” but as sales coach S. Anthony Iannarino points out, that idea is only partially correct. “You can work really smart on the wrong things, and be anything but productive,” he says. For example, you can redeem time by delegating or streamline all sorts of processes, but if you streamline the wrong priorities, your productivity won’t necessarily increase.

What Does Make You More Productive?

Leila Hock of Career Contessa puts it well: The answer isn’t hard work, but focused work. “When we constantly talk about how hard we’re working, we perpetuate the idea that you have to work all the time to succeed in this world, and you just don’t,” she says. “What you should be doing is deciding what will really move the needle forward…and focus on that.”

Instead of expending our last drop of energy, we should be guarding our energy for things that matter—the things that “move the needle.” Focused work, not hard work. Identify the priorities for your law firm, focus your energy on those priorities, and watch your productivity soar.

Building Better Business Systems For Law Firm Owners