Lawyers, your professional satisfaction is achievable. Here are the 3 Biggest Mistakes Lawyers are Making.
The solution lies in creating enough.
WIthout these three ingredients, your practice will suffer.
First, let’s address not having enough time.
Do you wish you had more hours each day to do lawyerly work? Most lawyers do…
Some of the reason you don’t have enough time to do this lawyerly work is because of the following:
Do you feel constantly interrupted and distracted?
Do you have challenges with delegating?
Can your support staff run your office without you?
These are just some of the challenges lawyers can’t find enough time for their lawyerly work. So let’s get cracking…
And just so you know where we are headed, first we are going to create more time in your day, and then we are going to use this time to GET ENOUGH CLIENTS and ENOUGH PASSION.
WEEK 1, STEP 1:
Determine your best time of day to work when you are the most focused and cordon if off as best as you can for lawyerly work. This means that for all practical purposes, you are in a meeting. A meeting with a very critical client. We’ll call this client, Freddy DeLarosa. (I will explain who this is later.)
For example: I am best first thing in the morning until 11am ish. This is the time you will do lawyerly work. That is all. No other tasks are done in this time.
Next determine when you are sluggish during the day, this is when you will work on routine tasks, that don’t require you to create, meaning you won’t be being strategic here or writing or anything that requires hard focused time. During this sluggish time, you can do errands, phone calls, delegate to your office staff (more about that in a future cheat sheet and video), that sort of thing. For me this time is about 2-4pm.
• Turn notifications off on your email, cell, and phone, unless you are waiting for a critical piece of information. Put a sign on your door that says, “DO NOT INTERRUPT unless it is an emergency until _______am.” Most everything can wait for at least 1-2 hours.
• Determine how long you can focus. There are all sorts of theories on this…some say focus for 30 minutes and take a break, others think you can last longer. I can focus for 1.5-2 hours easily, what works for you? This means you do not get up for another cup of coffee, water, hit the bathroom, surf on the internet… Nothing…
• Train yourself to stay focused. When your mind strays, tell yourself that you can take a break at such and such time, the time that you are working until while you have your blinders on. Write down the things your mind strays to and go back to the task at hand. Repeat!
• Put Freddy DeLarosa into your calendar for a regular daily meeting. As much as is possible, do not use this time when you are your most focused to do anything else. No meetings, no errands, no phone calls, definitely no emails, etc. etc. I understand you might need to go to court, I understand emergencies, we are talking “as much as possible.”
• Depending on how long you can focus (when you are most alert in the day and when you are sluggish), you will be arranging your day with DeLarosa time slots, court time slots, sluggish time slots, breaks, morning 15-30 min SCAN time for emails etc. for the rest of your day.
• A word about breaks. Breaks are critical. Lawyers who leave the office for lunch, get more done. Our brains needs time to decompress. After a chunk of focused time, take a break. Then do more focused time or do some of the sluggish time activities.
• So you are probably wondering when do you take care of your emails and how do you not get side tracked into answering them when you get to your desk. Here’s what you do. Before your meeting with DeLarosa, allow 15 minutes (30 minutes tops) to SCAN your email, texts, phone messages, etc. If there is anything that can’t wait until late morning, after your focused time with DeLarosa, for your response, answer it. Otherwise, train yourself to “let it be” until you are done meeting with DeLarosa. This will take effort. It is easy to get side tracked with all of that interrupting and distraction and then feel like you got nothing done all morning, because you didn’t, and then feel bad about yourself, and anxious as your workload is increasing (because it is) and have that spiral into the rest of your day.
• A the end of your day, start thinking about your next batch of lawyerly work and allocate it to your meeting time with DeLarosa for the next day.
What is your best time in during the day to focus?
What is your sluggish time during the day?
What is the amount of time that you can focus without distraction?
Turn off all notification sounds, on all devises.
When meeting with DeLarosa, put a sign on your door. Also, make a mental note that you are busy until _____ time. Stay focused during that time, writing down anything that your mind wants you to remember on a piece of paper.
When you are doing your lawyerly work,
Schedule Freddy DeLarosa on your calendar. Daily.
Make a SCAN plan for when you arrive at your desk for your emails, texts, phone messages, etc. before you start your day. 15-30 minutes tops.
• Give yourself some kudos. Know that you are retraining yourself. To be more productive. To feel great about what you accomplished each day. Do not allow all of the distractions to get your attention and trick you into responding. The distractions are like a glass of wine each night or dessert, begging for your attention. Decide that you are in control and don’t let them interrupt your precious time.
Once you have made some major headway with this first step, you are going to have more time in your day. It will feel glorious. With the extra time, you will be able to create even more time as you make some changes in delegating to your support staff. And you will have even more time as you teach your support staff to run your office with out you. We will get to both of these challenges. Look for an email on Monday morning. Start your week off right! Get ENOUGH TIME, ENOUGH CLIENTS and ENOUGH PASSION. On Monday morning, be the satisfied lawyer who arrives at your practice with a smile on your face.
Now it is time for your cup of coffee, put that smile on your face and know that you earned it. Feel good that you are doing first things first.
Do I make a pdf?
And tell them to distribute with reference to me
Copyright 2019 • Becky Castro, CPCC, PCC and www.ILoveMondayMornings.com