Fresh Start for the New Year

The new year offers each of us the chance to make changes. Not by setting lofty goals, but by committing to small adjustments that can make a big difference in attitude, health, and resilience. Here are 7 micro goals that anyone can follow.

Micro Goal 1 – Cut Your Work Hours

Several years ago I reported on a study from the Annals of Internal Medicine that found people “who work an average of 11 or more hours per day have a 67 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack or dying from heart disease than people who work a standard seven- to eight-hour day.  Those who work between 10 and 11 hours per day have a 45 percent higher risk.”

Your micro goal: Commit to a 9 hour (or less) work day. The occasional exception is fine, just don’t backslide.

Micro Goal 2 – Stand, Move, Stretch

Sitting in your chair for hours on end shouldn’t be the norm. Stand, move, stretch. Consider a treadmill or standing desk. Better yet, leave the office for a few minutes and walk around the block! Your joints and muscles will thank you.

Your micro goal: Move at least once an hour. Use a cheap timer, an app, recurring task reminders, or whatever it takes to remind yourself to get up. No one will care if you stretch during a deposition or walk to the back of the room during a CLE.

Micro Goal 3 – Just Say No

Find it hard to turn people away? You aren’t alone. I don’t really have a choice. I need the money. Family, friends, or former clients are depending on me. These are things we tell ourselves. Follow this advice to turn the tide.

Your micro goal: Say no at least once a month. As you gain confidence, don’t hesitate to say no whenever necessary.

Micro Goal 4 – Say Goodbye

Too much to do and not enough time? Cull the herd.

  • Review your current client list for matters you regret taking.  If feasible, say goodbye to those clients.
  • Farm out work or delegate to others in your firm. If you’re a solo/small firm practitioner, reach out to colleagues for referrals to a contract lawyer who can get you over the hump.

Your micro goal: Apply your newfound client/case criteria to future matters and screen out cases that aren’t a good match for you.

Micro Goal 5 – Protect your Priorities

What do you want to get done? What are your priorities? When is the last time you even thought about what you wanted?

It’s easy to get pushed around by interruptions: phone calls, texts, emails, pop-in clients, or colleagues.

Your micro goal: Block out time on your calendar for work you want to get done. Treat this time as if it were a client appointment. (No interruptions allowed.) Stay off the Internet unless the task at hand involves being on the Internet. Give the matter your undivided attention.

Micro Goal 6 – Put Your Calendar First

If your calendar contains your personal and business commitments, including time blocks to get work done, let it determine the scheduling for all new promises.

Your micro goal: Check your calendar before promising completion of a time-related task. If there is no “deadline” per se, determine when you can reasonably fit the new project into your schedule. Add it to your calendar and back it up with a task reminder. You gain nothing by promising a quick turnaround if you can’t keep your word.

Micro Goal 7 – Triage When You Know You Can’t Meet a Deadline

If you’re in a pickle – a deadline is approaching and you know you can’t meet it  – the best approach is to face it head on. I know this can be hard. We assume clients or other lawyers will yell at us. The truth is, people are more understanding than we give them credit for. Everyone has been there. They get it.

Your micro goal: Renegotiate deadlines you can’t meet.

You can start over. You can make changes. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

All Rights Reserved Beverly Michaelis 2020

 

Automate Something – Anything!

Automation is the answer to improving workflows and productivity. If a given action requires entries in multiple systems – say opening a new client file – automate it. Tired of performing the same redundant task? Automate it. Want to save time? Automate! To learn how, read the story of Joe Lawyer.

Virtually anything can be automated – document production, emails, marketing, or client management. Avoid overwhelming yourself or staff by starting small. Pick one area of office operations. Diagnose what works and what doesn’t. Get staff input. Identify any steps you may be performing out of habit that no longer serve a purpose and eliminate them. That alone will improve efficiency! Now that you’ve whittled it down to the essentials consider how technology can help. Do some research, starting with a better understanding of what your existing software can do. Check out Joe’s story for ideas, then visit the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center. You can also call your friendly practice management advisor for suggestions.

All Rights Reserved Beverly Michaelis 2019.

Don’t Miss Out on the Latest Tech Tips, Workflow Hacks, Apps, and Gadgets

Don’t miss out on the latest technology tips, workflow hacks, apps, and gadgets for the busy legal professional. Register now to attend Technology Tips for Busy Legal ProfessionalsDesigned for lawyers, legal staff, and office administrators – anyone interested in law office technology and automation.

Here are just a few of the topics

3 ways to automate workflows, the importance of practice management integration, better email management and document drafting with apps, ink-to-digital notebooks, specialty legal keypads, a smart conference room camera that tracks and follows speakers, creating a free online profile, ethically-compliant business texting, online contract lawyering resources, four legal research options using artificial intelligence, creating a 30-minute mission statement, rewarding referral sources, benefitting access to justice, and outsourcing in 5 minutes.

When & Where: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time. This is a live, online webinar.

Group Discounts: Available to firms who wish to register 5 or more attendees. Contact me for more information.

Participate in Polling & Ask Questions: Questions are welcome during the live event. Attendees are also encouraged to participate in live, anonymous polling.

How to Register

Click herechoose the image above, or visit the Upcoming CLE page. Secure payment processing powered by Eventbrite. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Program materials included in the $25 registration price.

Can’t Attend?

Video and audio recordings will be available to download along with the program materials shortly after the live program event.  Price: $25. Contact me or visit my online CLE store to place an order.

Don’t Miss Out!

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis

 

 

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis

 

Organize with OHIO

OHIO” is the pinnacle of the “touch it once” principle. It literally means:

  • Only
  • Handle
  • It
  • Once

When applied to physical and digital clutter, the idea is to act on requests, messages, or documents in the moment. The alternative being that you read the same messages or shuffle the same papers repeatedly. Perhaps while mumbling, “I gotta do that.” Then the process starts over again.

Next time try OHIO

Ask yourself:

Can I take care of this now?

If the answer is yes, do it.

Does it need to wait?

Not a problem. Create a calendar or task entry to circle back to the item when you have time. Meanwhile, get it off your desk and into the client file.

Can I delegate this?

Great! Forward the message or create a task and assign it. In Outlook, you can keep updated copies of assigned tasks on your task list and request status reports.

can I toss this?

Fortunately, we do receive messages and material we can toss, shred, or recycle. When something arrives that fits this description, dispose of it.

Don’t let clutter accumulate, whether it’s digital (clogging up your inbox) or paper (old bar journals and magazines). If it doesn’t serve you, get rid of it.

If you have more than 3 months of reading material in your office, you likely aren’t going to get to it. Bite the bullet, get over the guilt, and recycle it. The information exists online and can be retrieved if necessary.

Managing email

Someone once said “email is like a treadmill that never stops.” No kidding!

Reduce the burden email poses:

  • Apply OHIO. Act on each message by responding, delegating, or tasking it for the future. Don’t need it? Hit delete.
  • Eliminate unnecessary copies (cc, bc). Send messages only to those who actually need the information. Use “Reply to All” sparingly.
  • Unsubscribe to unhelpful lists, ads, or announcements.
  • Create rules and folders for email that is helpful but not client-related. Many lawyers find useful information in listserv message threads, but the sheer volume can be overwhelming. Create a rule that directs these messages to a folder so it doesn’t fill up your inbox. Set up a task that prods you to review and clean out these messages on a recurring basis.
  • Keep personal email separate. This will protect your privacy and keep email volume down.

Change your default setting

Email tends to be a lawyer’s default mode of communication. But as we learned from the legal trends report, it isn’t always the right tool.

Before you shoot off that next message, ask yourself whether you would be better off calling or scheduling an in-person meeting. As it turns out, clients often prefer that we communicate by phone or in-person.

Learn more

OHIO” is one of 30 ideas and strategies addressed in the CLE, “Practical Time Management.” If you missed this program, order the video and audio files on demand. Learn how to take control of your workload, manage your busy schedule, focus on your priorities, and make your workday more productive. Cost: $25. Includes program materials with presentation slides and resources, audio and video files, answers to polling questions addressed during the live CLE, and MCLE Form 6 to self-report CLE credits.

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis

Technology Tips for Busy Legal Professionals

Join me on May 1 for a fast-paced and entertaining CLE covering the latest in technology tips, workflow hacks, apps, gadgets, useful websites, and practice shortcuts for the busy legal professional. Designed for lawyers, legal staff, and office administrators – anyone interested in law office technology and automation.

Here are just a few of the topics

3 ways to automate workflows, the importance of practice management integration, better email management and document drafting with apps, ink-to-digital notebooks, specialty legal keypads, a smart conference room camera that tracks and follows speakers, creating a free online profile, ethically-compliant business texting, online contract lawyering resources, four legal research options using artificial intelligence, creating a 30-minute mission statement, rewarding referral sources, benefitting access to justice, and outsourcing in 5 minutes.

When & Where: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time. This is a live, online webinar.

Group Discounts: Available to firms who wish to register 5 or more attendees. Contact me for more information.

Participate in Polling & Ask Questions: Questions are welcome during the live event. Attendees are also encouraged to participate in live, anonymous polling.

How to Register

Click herechoose the image above, or visit the Upcoming CLE page. Secure payment processing powered by Eventbrite. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Program materials included in the $25 registration price.

Can’t Attend?

Video and audio recordings will be available to download along with the program materials shortly after the live program event.  Price: $25. Contact me or visit my online CLE store to place an order.

Register Now!

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis