I use routine to try and stay organized. This can be my general morning routine, to how I go about things when I get to the office. The Groundhog Day mentality definitely helps me stay on track. I have found that if I stick to certain routines, as much as possible, it allows me to accomplish the goals I’ve set for each day or each week. And this is both my professional and personal lives. But this doesn’t mean each day is the same because I am talking about general organization, not scripting all of each and every day.
A good way to dip your toes in the water of organization is to pick one area to script. It could be your morning routine, a to do list for each morning of work or choosing to work out on specific days at specific times each week.
For instance, my wife and I each have routine manners in which we start each day during the week. She starts with a cup of coffee. I start by meditating and doing some stretches. Our different routines work for each of us even though they are different. The point is we have that first thing or two that we just do without having to think about it, which makes it easier to get our days going.
I recommend finding one area in your life where a routine will help you meet your goals or do a better job at something. I think it helps to break your day down into smaller chunks of time and see where organization may help. Even if you are organized and use routines, you should revisit them every so often to see if they still are working for you or could use some new thoughts. The idea and goal is to continually be thinking of how to improve in all aspects of your life.
Despite the participation medals or trophies our kids get for seemingly every activity or sport, in most everything in life there are winners and losers. This obviously includes in business. The baseline is easily a business surviving versus a business failing. If you speak with someone whose business is going to fail, they don’t want a pat on the back or to be told “good try.” They wanted to win.
Of course we all lose. When you lose, how do you react? Do
you get upset? Do you blame others? Or do you take responsibility for your part
in the loss, if any? I ask because I am used to seeing people make excuses.
Conversely, how do you act when you win? Do you gloat? Do
you put down whoever lost? Or are you complementary to the person who lost?
In what I do there are winners and losers all of the time.
It could relate to a motion being considered by a court or at trial. No
attorney can win them all. And there can be real excuses because we are hemmed
in by the facts in each case and the law that applies. The excuses I have heard
over the years for these types of losses are many, such as “the judge made a
mistake” or “the jury just didn’t like my client,” etc. The list goes on and
When I have lost I chalk it up to experience and try to look
back on what I can learn. I also try to be a graceful loser, where it makes
sense and is appropriate. When I communicate a loss to a client, such as when a
court issues a ruling months after a hearing or trial, I make sure to do it in
person or on the phone, and not by email or text. I don’t make excuses. Doing
so never helps the situation and is not how I would want to come across.
When I win, I am, of course, happy. Who isn’t? But I also maintain a professional decorum with any opposing attorney or party. I save the celebration for my client and the attorneys I have worked with on my side of the case.
Knowing how to win and lose is important. It contributes to
how people view you and your reputation in your community. Next time you win,
or lose, think what you want your reputation to be and let it guide you to
Everywhere you look you are told hard work pays off. This is
true, as is the fact that hard work is required to become successful. But as
you gain experience and have success, the formula should change and you should
By working smarter I mean a few things. The first is that
you should be able to streamline much of what you do. This may be through
utilizing technology that saves you time or keeps you more organized. It also
could be that your experience allows you to complete certain tasks or types of
Second, you should be delegating work. This allows you to
push work down to younger or less experienced co-workers. In my world that
means having associate attorneys do certain projects such as research and
writing, which saves me time and the client money. It also allows you to focus
on higher-level tasks. By delegating work you can choose the work you enjoy
more or create the time to develop more work.
Third, choose to work when you have the most energy. When you are first working you it feels like you have to be in the office when your superiors show up in the morning and when they leave at night. As you gain experience and the people you work with and for know you get your work done, you hopefully can schedule how you work.
If you aren’t a morning person, having to be in the office and working by 8 am won’t help you get more done. I know someone like this who starts work after 10 am each day, but then works into the evening. If you are a morning person or the opposite, try working to your body’s rhythms and see if it helps you get more done. It also may help you feel more rested and maybe even experience a touch less stress.
These are just a few ideas for working smarter. We all should be open to trying new ideas and strategies that may help us do so. If you do, hopefully you will find a few ideas that will work for you.