Everyone has those days where a well-intentioned to-do list remains only partially done, and it seems as though the day was spent putting out fires. But talk to small- or midsize-firm administrators, and they’ll likely tell you that is every day for them.

Firm administrators describe unpredictable days where lists of things to do often get pushed aside as soon as they set foot in the office. In fact, ask about a typical day, and you’ll probably receive a chuckle.