As an attorney, work is probably on your mind a lot, even when you're not sitting down at a desk. So it makes since that your resolution for the new year benefits both you and your law practice.
Re-Energize Your Biggest Asset: Your Brain
Put down your phone and unlock the power of boredom
When you're scrolling through Facebook, shopping on Amazon, even listening to The Journal podcast, you classify the time as unwinding. Dr. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, WNYC's first guest in their 6-day Bored and Brilliant challenge, reveals a different reality to the smartphone-centric lives we all now lead:
"[After getting a smartphone] I began to feel like I was losing my ability to really concentrate seriously on the things I needed to do."
Dr. Soojung-Kim Pang is a smart guy; he earned a PhD in the history of science and technology and he has been a visiting scholar at Stanford for over 15 years. This shift in his attention alarmed him, and drove him to write his book, The Distraction Addiction. As an attorney you probably agree with his sentiment that losing yourself in complex problems is "one the most satisfying things" you've ever experienced. He urges you to put down your phone, so you can reclaim this ability and spend more time immersed in your thoughts.
Interested in doing the full boredom challenge? Follow Bored and Brilliant's 6 day boot camp to re-discover the benefits of boredom. The concentration and creativity you gain could lead to enhanced problem solving on your next difficult case. At the very least, you will actually be giving your brain time to relax, instead of keeping it constantly stimulated, even during your down time.
Ignore the billing clock for an hour. Instead, invest that time in being mindful.
Americans are stressed out. As an attorney, that stress can be even higher. "Mental wellness" and "mindfulness" have become key terms in legal conferences, and a quick search for stress-management CLEs turns up hundreds of results. The pressure attorneys feel -- from their demanding jobs, the never ending ticking away of the clock, and the emotional burden of many types of practices -- is what drove Harvard-educated lawyer and mindfulness expert, Jon Krop, to create his company. Mindfulness for Lawyers, is exactly what it sounds like: a program designed by a lawyer, for lawyers, to achieve mindfulness.
We're used to the term now, but mindfulness's new reputation as the end-all, be-all for stress management, energy revitalization, and mental clarity, was once regarded as 'new age' nonsense; so don't be surprised if you hear some guffawing around older legal professionals. Still, we're excited about the focus on stress management and meditation so often touted by Generation Y attorneys these days.
Renovate Your Day-to-Day
Take advantage of living in the 'future'
AI doesn't mean the same thing in 2020 as it does in The Terminator (or if you need a more emotional example, the tear-worthy movie from the 90's, A.I. Artificial Intelligence). Despite this difference in definition, AI is software, complex software that can help you and help your firm. We could write a paragraph about the benefits of automating (especially if you work in practices like Estate Planning, which are flooded in repetitive tasks and steps), but instead of reading about LegalTech in general, spend your time exploring specific pieces of LegalTech!
Make it your goal to commit to a single piece of software in 2020. Sure there is an initial time investment in finding and implementing it, but you'll see a great return in the next quarter as it helps automate your day-to-day tasks.
Clio | For document management, client management, accounting management, and much much more
Lawmatics | It's not just for the sales cycle. Put your clients in a systematic workflow and stop using brainpower to remember what step you need to do next.
Documate | Say goodbye to complex Word Document shorthand, and hello to legal document automation
Boosted | A time-tracker app on your phone! Organize by client name and break the work down by task for easier billing
Get some help!
We've met a lot of attorneys who are bogged down by work. You probably have too. Maybe you are one. The point is, when you're busy, it's hard to spend time thinking about how to make your life easier. You have to concentrate, focus on the immediate task ahead just to stay afloat. Even if you want to hire someone to assist you, the time input for posting a job opening, interviewing people, training someone, starts to sound like a major commitment in an already tight schedule -- and that doesn't include delving into your financials so you know how much help you can even afford.
If you need support, but don't have time to hire a new person, then we've got some quick ideas below. Or you can read our full blog How to Get Affordable Support for Your Law Firm.
Alternatives to hiring a new, full-time employee:
- If your team is only working 6-8 hours a day, then offer overtime to check more items off the to-do list
- Invest in an existing employee and pay for higher-level training for higher-level support
- Hire on-demand legal support! It's cost-effective and benefits your firm in intangible ways