As many return from summer vacation, or at least a long 4th of July weekend, we are again reflecting on self-care – this time in connection with maintaining a successful practice. Have you yet taken time off this summer? Are you planning on some kind of recreational break from your practice? Why do we ask and why is it important? There are hundreds of practice management applications – software galore – to help us. Case management, document management, all kinds of task automation, mobile apps, installed software . . . the list is endless. But what all of these products cannot do is manage us.
What are we talking about? No, wait, don’t roll your eyes . . . let’s talk about lawyer wellness in terms of our practices. Here’s our point – we can have all of the best equipment, resources – human and other – the best procedures and processes (OK, so we are being utopian), the best legal minds, and the best of intentions but none of them will work as well as they ought if we are worn out, either mentally or physically, or both.
Have you gone to the office when you are just dragging? Does it seem like you are slogging your way through quicksand? Or are you perhaps a bit cranky? It’s Arizona and it’s summer and even if you are fortunate enough to live in or around Prescott, Flagstaff, or points north where the weather is more moderate, don’t we all remember those glorious summer vacations from our school days? Is it time to take a vacation – even if it’s just a long weekend where you unplug and really relax?
Maybe a vacation isn’t the cure for what ails you. Maybe it’s rethinking the volume of your practice. Do you have too many clients? Do you need additional human resources – either on staff or contract help? Do you need to employ some of the time management suggestions we posted last week? In the thick of the action it’s sometimes hard to consider these issues. Many firms have official retreats to do strategic planning; even if your firm is small, or is just you, doing some strategic planning (what we in our family sometimes call “thinking deep thoughts”) is a worthwhile endeavor.
So here we are, suggesting that we each take a moment, a day, or a long weekend to think about what’s working for our practices and what isn’t; what we can change easily and quickly and what should be a long-term goal; whether we just need a little break at the beach, in the mountains, or wherever your person battery most easily charges, or whether we just need to make some changes to our day-to-day work practices. Let’s take the time to manage ourselves.