Discipline helps you get done what you plan and need to each day. This is part of doing what you say you’re going to do. This provides stability because it allows others to know how you act or respond in various situations.
This could be my clients knowing I try to return or respond to calls and emails within 24 hours at the outside, or that when they are communicating with me I’m focused on them and whatever they are dealing with. They are not my only clients, but I can make them feel like they are by exercising discipline to focus on them and their issues.
It’s my understanding the single biggest complaint made to the Arizona State Bar by clients is attorneys not timely communicating with them or responding to communications. This is such a simple thing even when you’re busy. When hyperfocused on a project we all need a break. When I am doing this, I often calendar time every hour or so to review emails and voicemails, as well as responding to a few for 10-30 minutes. It allows you to give that strong focus a break and stay up on what is happening in real time. Doing this takes discipline and planning and, for me, has bee a work in progress for years. Done in the right manner your other clients will never think about you spending most of your day focused on other clients’ matters because you timely respond to and interact with them.
These type of actions make you look stable and your business static no matter what you do for a living. Of course there will be times you can’t do this, but, with discipline, you can adjust. It you’re in trial, in a closing, or on vacation you can let clients with pending matters know ahead of time you won’t be able to respond as fast as usual. You can set up an out of office reminder for email and change your voicemail message too. Setting expectations generally and in relation to your current goings on will prevent misunderstandings and frustrations on the part of others.
The point is for you to determine where you can use discipline in your daily routine and work. Even when you think you have discipline, spend time thinking about how you can improve. We all can if we try.