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Reducing Interruptions and Increasing Efficiency with a POPP List

In your busy law practice, on any given day, you often have several things going at once. You try to focus on the file in front of you, but then the phone rings or a staff member comes to you with a problem or question. By the time you deal with that interruption, you spend time regaining your focus and finding your place in what you were doing.

You can’t seem to focus on your work for any significant stretch of time. . . . But what if you could?

Dealing with Staff Interruptions

I deal with that pesky ringing phone in another article, but what about staff interruptions? How do you respond to them efficiently without losing focus? Simple! First, ask your staff member a question:

Will I get sued for malpractice or get disbarred if I don’t deal with this today?

If the answer is Yes, then obviously you need to address it right away. Your staff is trying to tell you that there’s an imminent problem. There is no real way around this.

Other than that, the interruption is for either a Problem or an Opportunity. These can be addressed in a weekly staff meeting (ideally on Monday morning, if you can). In the meantime, institute what is called a POPP List (for Problems and OPPortunities), and when the staff member comes to you, tell them to put it on the POPP List for the next meeting.

Oh, and if it’s a problem? Tell them that in order for it to be on the agenda for the meeting, they have to come up with at least two possible solutions. This encourages your staff to think for themselves, and oftentimes they will solve the problem on their own and report the solution at the meeting.

Put It on the POPP List

Memorize that phrase. If the problem isn’t an imminent one, put it on the POPP List, and we’ll deal with it at the weekly meeting. After a bit, your staff will only bring you the serious problems and put everything else on the list for later. Wouldn’t that be great?

Get More!

You are never going to gain control of your practice, be more effective, and more profitable, if you don’t have dominion over your time. You control it; no one else. Get more information on how to regain control of your time by downloading my free book, The Ulitimate Guide to Taking Back Your Time.

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Steven J. Richardson

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