When I was a kid and I had to eat something I didn't like (like broccoli, spinach or mushrooms), I learned that if I ate that item first, it was much easier; I had the rest of my dinner (the parts I liked) to look forward to (and to drown out the taste of the awful stuff).
If I saved the offending item until last, it would take forever to finish my meal (and my parents wouldn't let me get up until I was done). Not only that, but I didn't enjoy the good parts of my meal because I kept thinking about the pile of yuck I still had left on the plate.
The same thing is probably happening to you in your law practice. Let's face it - not everything you do as a lawyer is enjoyable; not every case is interesting and not every client is a joy to work with. But the more you avoid the tasks, clients and cases that you dislike, the less productive you're likely to be - even in other areas.
One of my favorite "time management" tips is, "Do the Worst First." Do you have a "dog" of a file that has been sitting around because no one wants to deal with it? Or an important project that you know will be time consuming or uncomfortable? (They may even be cluttering up a corner of your office gathering dust if you're a victim of "I Need to See it Syndrome.")
These may be precisely the tasks you should prioritize as important but not urgent. Do those tasks first. Get them out of the way and keep them from cluttering up your thinking and pulling focus from the other things you’re working on.
Often, the offending task isn't as bad as you thought it would be, but even if it's awful, you'll feel better when it has been completed. You'll be free to focus on everything else that needs to be done -and you'll find it is much easier to do so when your mind is clear of thoughts about that nasty task or file.
Then again, perhaps the task is one you are avoiding, but not one that MUST be accomplished by you. Perhaps you can employ the strategy my friend used when she fed her vegetables to her dog when her parents weren't looking - in other words, find someone who actually likes performing that particular task (or someone who is lower on the totem pole than you, but can still get the job done) and delegate* it to them.
*More on delegation to come in a future post.