If your practice is anything like mine was, each day was a struggle to get the work done during regular working hours. You end up working late, skipping dinner, missing time with your family, and generally feeling stressed. If your practice is growing (and I hope it is), then that means more cases are coming in the door than are being concluded, and the workload continues to get bigger.
Gaining Focus By Saying No
Gaining focus and getting more done is all about mindset, so you need to step back and look at the bigger picture here. Are you over-committed? Have you been taking on cases and clients that you later regret because the potential fee isn’t worth the aggravation? If so, then you need to say No a lot more, even if you might not want to.
If It Isn’t a “Hell, Yeah!” It’s a “No”
To start, try this simple test for gauging your response every time you are asked to do something or deciding whether to take on a new client. In short, “If it isn’t a hell yeah, it’s a no.” Ask yourself: Is it something you’ve always wanted to do? Something that, when asked to do it, you want to just jump up and kiss the person that asked you? Will it not take time away from something else that is more in alignment with your purpose, goals, or mission, either professionally or personally? If so, then yes, do it. It’s a good use of your time. If not, just say no.
But be nice about it. Remember, it’s “Hell yeah,” not “Hell no!” Try saying to the person, “Thank you for asking me! I am honored that you thought I would be the perfect person to do this (or the right attorney for you). However, with the projects I am currently committed to, I would not have the time that would be sufficient to do the quality job we would both want me to do, and I would ultimately be doing you a disservice by saying yes. For that reason, I must say no.” In this way you are not turning them down, you are trying to help them by saying that you are not the right person for the job.
Laser Focus: The Steve Jobs Test
But this test is only one strategic metric and is indicative of an even bigger philosophy. Steve Jobs of Apple was famous for his focus. At the Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) of 1997, he stated that “Focus is about saying no.” He said that people often say “Yes” because they don’t want to be the bad guy. They don’t want to upset other people by saying No. But only by saying No to most things are you truly able to focus in on the most important tasks and projects that need to get done.
He would ask people on his team, “How many things have you said no to?” One of those team members, former head of design Jonny Ive, said in an interview with Vanity Fair, that saying No involves sacrifice. Focus is “saying no to something that you, with every bone in your body you think is a phenomenal idea, and you wake up thinking about it, but you say no to it because you’re focusing on something else.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
The bottom line here is, don’t be afraid to say No. Say no to yourself; say no to others who would steal your time and dilute your focus; say no to everything except that which is most important. This will allow you to free up some of your time, gain better use of that time, and be the most successful with the time you use.
Need Help to Gain Focus?
Are you looking for more ways to get more done in less time and be more efficient? I coach people in better time management in their professional practices, so that they can get more done and make more money. Give me a call at 856-345-9699 or shoot me an e-mail to discuss how I can help!
Want great business and professional practice tips in your inbox every week? Then subscribe to my newsletter!