I am a fan of keeping a running ‘to-do’ list updated each day. Not only do I use it myself, I suggest this to all of my clients. Things will come at you from all directions, that is a given. But if you start with a plan for your day, when you are sidetracked, you have something to go back to so you can get focused again.
Start with ‘Must do’ items. These are your top priorities and likely based on client needs. Then look at ‘Should do’ tasks. And finally, ‘Like to do’. They may change throughout your day, but this will help you keep pace with your ever-changing demands.
Each night before you leave the office, review your day, and plan ahead for tomorrow. Think about coming into the office the next morning fresh, with a plan, and ready to hit the ground running.
Practice this. Over time it will become 2nd nature to you and alleviate a great deal of your day-to-day stress.
Another thing. When and where possible, get the mundane tasks (the ones you continually procrastinate about), out-of-the-way first. This will give you a great sense of accomplishment and free your mind up for the more important tasks you face. You know what these tasks are: recording your time, and small admin things that pile up. They won’t go away, so you might as well tackle them first and then move on to the work that you enjoy.
Happy New Year! With so many people around the world saying goodbye to a very tough year, and beginning a new one with renewed hope for a better future, the concept of time comes to mind. On the treadmill the other day and watching the clock count down, I couldn’t help but remember a conversation I had with my Grandmother when I was younger. By the age of 25, I had already noticed how fast time was going by. She laughed and said, “Gary, wait till you get to my age”. She was 82 at the time. She said, “the more of life you have behind you, and the less you have in front of you, the faster it goes.”
Back to the treadmill. As the time was getting closer to my goal, it hit me. She was right. The more time I had already completed, the faster it went by.
So with this Year New Year, what are you going to do with your time today? What are you going to do with your time this year?
I know this is a real challenge for some of you to balance your own lawyering, with leading your team and rainmaking. There is no one-size fits all formula for how much time you spend on each area. But think about where you are most valuable.
If you are relatively new to growing your firm a good model for your time would look like 50% lawyering, 30% Rainmaking and 20% leading. As you grow, that number should look more like 50% Rainmaking, 30% leading and 20% lawyering. In order to grow you have to leverage your time and allocate it where it will produce maximum results.
You should also be leveraging your people as much as possible. Depending on you and how much of the day-to-day lawyering you want to stick with will determine if that lawyering % gets even lower. That leads me into the next section nicely.
I have a lot of clients who identify procrastination as one of the things they would like to improve on. It’s very common. What is also common is that most of my clients also suffer from perfectionism syndrome. So, are they related? A fear of being judged? A fear of being wrong? Or even a fear of judging yourself?
The next time you find yourself procrastinating, ask yourself those questions.
Yesterday in coaching a group of associates, once again the issue of time came up. When and how do I make time for my business development is an age old question. In our brainstorming session, one tax associate came up with his own answer. He said “I don’t do anything unless it pops up in my outlook”. Well then, make the appointment with yourself using your outlook calendar. Sometimes it’s the simplest approach that works best. And it’s really about self-discipline.
Raindance: The Business Development Guide Book for Lawyers is now available through Carswell. Click here to go to Carswell for more information and ordering.
If you are a lawyer just starting out with business development, or already engaged and looking to up your game, this book is your practical, step-by-step guide to follow in order to achieve your goals.