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Finding Your One Thing

One of the main reasons we feel overwhelmed in our practices is that we try to do too much in a single day. We go from workday to workday trying to do as much as possible, often pushing ourselves way past 5pm, in order to keep abreast of everything.

But that’s not the right way to approach things!

Pick a Top 3

Right now, look at your desk (or your file cabinet), and make a list of everything you need to get done as the next step in each matter. It may be a long list, and it might seem intimidating, but you will find that once you have a clear idea of all of your tasks, you will feel more in control and less like you are missing something important.

Then look at that list and decide what absolutely, positively, has to be done today? What, if it doesn’t get done, will get you sued for malpractice, miss a deadline, or have your client fire you? I think you will find that, once you apply that filter, your list will be rather rather short. In fact, it’s probably no more than 3 things.

Once you have that list, then look at the things that can wait until tomorrow, or the next day, or the next. Then plan not just your day, but your whole week, or even month. Prioritize the Top 15 things that have to be done this week.

Then Find Your One Thing

Gary Keller, owner of Keller/Williams Realty, talks about finding your One Thing every day. Ask yourself, “What is the one thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” By determining the answer to this question every morning (or every evening as you plan the next day), you are gaining the focus that is necessary to be the most efficient and effective you can be.

I recommend doing this on Sunday evening (to plan your week) or every evening to plan the next day. Go through all of your matters and their most high priority tasks and find the Number One thing you need to do next that will meet Keller’s definition. Adding this layer to your Top Three could result in your not having to do some of the downstream tasks, or if you still need to do them, they will take less time.

If you are able to accomplish everything for that day with time left over, great! But if you look up from your desk and see that it is after 5pm, you at least know that your time was spent on the most important things you needed to accomplish. You may also have saved some time on other downstream tasks that have become easier or unnecessary due to your following this plan.

Need More?

There’s more you can do to take back your time and be home in time for dinner. Find out what they are by clicking here and downloading my Ultimate Guide to Taking Back Your Time. If you do, and you follow the advice it gives, you will find yourself with more time and less stress in your day!

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Steven J. Richardson

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