We have all run into people who have real trouble with commitment. And NO I don’t just mean men about marriage.  I find the ones even more irritating that say YES to a goal or project but only last a week or so before being no longer committed.  Even more frustrating are the passive aggressive types who keep saying yes but never do any work on the goal or project.

We all sometimes commit to too much and we have to withdraw.  It is perfectly acceptable to explain your reasons once you see the error of taking on the assignment in the first place.  This is the adult way of handling the escape.

But let’s look at the mere fact of a belief that you could never be over committed.  What a thought!  There is that saying that “it is best to give a job to a very busy person because they will get it done”.  This holds true because that “very busy person” is usually brilliant at TIME MANAGEMENT.

I love the concept that we all have as much time as President Obama or Beyonce. That means that each of us has 24 hours in a day.  What we do with those hours is our choice.  Even more importantly, lawyers sell their time.  Even those lawyers working for a set salary, work for a certain number of hours every day producing results which are services, not products. How they arrange those hours results in what they produce.

Always being fascinated with the Renaissance, I have trouble equating how little new ideas, art, music, etc. we produce today with what they were able to produce during that time period. How could Michelangelo paint, sculpt, invent, design architecture and do all the things he did in the same amount of time that we have today?  And what about Napoleon who as commanding an army at 19 years old? Do you think either of those two felt over committed?

Let’s take a look at your life.  Sure, you probably played  a lot more and have a better life balance than these two gentlemen but what more could you have accomplished if you had better organized your life?  Someone said (and I don’t remember who) that a life unexamined is a life not worth living.  That’s a little harsh but I would challenge you to take a few minutes each day to examine your life.

  • Are you doing what you want?
  • Do you have growth goals in place?
  • Are you taking care of yourself?
  • Are you doing important things?

That’s your job this week.  Next week we will look at how each of us might find a better way of organizing or live so that we, too, can create extraordinary results.  What FUN!


Sorry, I missed yesterday.  I know you are all waiting with bated breath (that’s holding your breath in fear. I just looked it up) for my new blog.  So here goes:

I asked myself as I coach more and more attorneys, what holds back attorneys from working their goals.  You have to understand that as a collaboration, the client and I set goals that are derived from what he or she wants to accomplish.  That is the client’s decision in coaching.  So if he or she and I have an agreement that working those goals will make the client richer, happier, more successful, have more leisure time, or whatever else they want, why doesn’t the attorney work them?

What happens time after time, that many clients have some reason that the goals are not even started.  Not to instill guilt because that is not healthy, but I ask myself what the heck is going on?

Now, we do know that some people don’t really like to set goals. The Myers/Briggs Temperament system can spot those people and we can work with them a little differently.  However, still if a person is scattered and not focused , it is extremely difficult to be successful.  For example if a solo is trying to practice in too many areas of the law, this can be not only unsuccessful but very anxiety producing.   Think of all the different target markets to solicit and all the different laws to learn.  It is a disaster waiting to happen.

Good time management needs to be leaned and used.  The discipline to plan a calendar out the week before seems overwhelming to some but is the bedrock of getting a lot done without a great deal of anxiety. Everyone who is a lawyer found a way to get through law school and pass the bar.  This took the same kind of time management. So why are many attorneys so resistant to learning and using time management on a consistent basis?

Probably the answer comes in very personal ways, such as:

  • To be held accountable for accomplishing something in a given time produces anxiety when its not done. Better to never start at all.
  • Better not to start something that they might not finish.
  • Better to keep putting goals off to do when there is a “better time”.
  • Better to fail so that people can’t expect more.

These are just a few of the answers I’ve come up with.  I’m sure there are plenty more.  Do you see yourself in any of this?  If so, let me know.  I can help. 


While watching 60 Minutes, I saw the President’s then  Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel being interviewed about his life and work. He happily told the public that he works 7 days a week and only has time to see his three kids at 5:15am during his morning swim. He didn’t even mention his wife. He went on to tell us that he has been told that Chiefs of Staff never last out their terms and that he should be interviewing his successor now ( buuuuurn outttttttt).  Of course he did go onto become governor but I don’t think he slowed down.

Hufffff, I said to myself…..Time Management’s reward is BALANCE in your life. This man is actually proud not to have any balance in his life. He simply works and stays healthy with a little exercise with an early morning swim so he can keep working.

Then I said to myself….”How many of us as lawyers have wished our family, friends and obligations other than work would just disappear, so we could WORK IN PEACE?” I certainly have. The burden of work can sometimes displace all other rational thinking and leave our lives so unbalanced that we wake up one day without a family, friends or all the other goodies life has to offer. Frequently the excuse is that I will just finish this piece of work and then I will have time for all the other things.

The problem, however, is that lawyering can become addictive because we frequently get a lot of goodies from practicing. We get money, colleagues admiration, and feelings of accomplishing something on a regular basis. Sometimes we are so appreciative of work that we have produced through our own marketing efforts that we extend ourselves way too far in trying to accommodate our clients.

So what’s the answer to “I wish I had more time to balance out my life”. As the song goes “all you have is time, time ” and choices. Perhaps it might help to not look at time but to look at the energy that it takes to accomplish something. How much energy does it take to prepare a Summary Judgment compared to taking your kids to the zoo? It might take about the same amount of time, but the energy needed to concentrate on writing and research is way more than getting in the car and spending the day at the zoo.

So maybe part of the answer is to increase your energy, not your time. If you can prepare the Summary Judgment in half the amount of time it used to take you, then you have that increased time to spend with the family, which takes less energy. Actually taking the kids for an outing might give you more energy for completing the required work because you have given your brain a rest and it can now focus better, allowing you to do the work in less time.

Certainly planning, goal setting and good time management can increase your energy, because it takes the worry out of what to do next. Just indicating what areas of your life are important is the first step. Setting goals and indicating which goals will take a lot of energy or little energy is the next step.

Unfortunately for most of us, increase in energy also has its basis in the dreaded EXERCISE. I know, I know, everyone tells you to put it in your daily calendar, just like an appointment( good luck with that one!). However, maybe if you can look at it as increasing your energy (which it does) you can look at it as giving you the ability to do your high energy tasks more efficiently and with less time. How many studies have we read that shows how exercise affects every area of your life. UGH! It’s the awful truth.

So take care and have a really high energy life …..and be sure to make that trip to the zoo so you can watch the monkeys doing funny tricks while you’re bonding with the kids.


It’s called Time Management and anyone can learn it with a little perseverance. You definitely need to take control of this now before it gets worse and you wind up burnt out. First, you need to look closely at just what your “jobs” are. You are at least a husband/wife/partner, attorney, marketer, financial planner, net worker and whatever other roles are important to you. As you work your time, you need to be aware of these roles and balance them out. By deciding each week what you will accomplish in each category, you will have an overview of that week’s time.

Now I would imagine that your “Attorney” role is bloated and swollen when you look at it beside all your other duties. So let’s cut that down. What work is Urgent and Important? What is Important but not Urgent? What is neither Important nor Urgent? Start with the last category and slash everything that can be dropped, delegated or delayed.

      The secret to Time Management is in the planning. If you take the time to organize your time, you are far ahead. Plan also for emergencies. In other words, don’t have such a tight schedule that emergencies are on top of everything else.  Be sure you plan each week ahead of time so that you can decrease your stress.  If you know exactly what you need to accomplish on Monday, you can relax on Sunday.  To start always add 30 minutes to every task and at the end of the week review how you did with your planning.  Underestimating time is the most frequent error made by attorneys.

Last, I have a few hints for Family Law Attorneys. Always have a “partner”. This is someone who also does family law and would like to have a reciprocal relationship and cover for each other. This way you can actually go on vacation. Because your clients can be highly emotional, it is important to tell them about this person and that they might be filling in for you in an emergency. You can even show them a picture of the attorney, to make them more comfortable. This actually works for all attorneys but especially important for attorneys practicing in very emotional fields.

Also educate your clients about what exactly is an emergency and when it is important to call you after office hours (which, in reality, is almost never). You need to set some boundaries and not be swept away by people who are very needy. If this is difficult for you, you might want to get a little coaching to help.

I hope this helps and remember: You, Beyoncé and President Obama have the same amount of time in each day! It’s all in how you use that time!