E166: The best way to set goals at your firm that generate long-term resultsJan 10, 2023
All lawyers have at least one process at their firm that seems to take too long or feels more complicated than it should. Is there one—or a few—that immediately came to mind for you? While you may be tempted to improve them all at once for greater overall efficiency, you’ll only burn yourself out by trying to complete a total overhaul. Instead, focus on improving one process at a time.
This week’s tip is to keep it simple. Improve your processes, one process at a time.
If you’ve read last week’s tip then we hope you’re motivated and already setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals for 2023. If not, don’t worry. It takes time to learn new habits and systems.
In his best-selling book, Atomic Habits, James Clear shares easy and proven ways to build good habits and break bad ones. The key: small habits make a big difference. James writes, “Improving by 1 percent isn’t particularly notable - sometimes it isn’t even noticeable - but it can be far more meaningful, especially in the long run.”
James Clear explains that if you improve by 1% every day for a year, you’d be 37 times better by the time you’re done. I know, weird math, but you can check it here. The same goes for your processes; improve them in little ways over time to achieve greater progress and success.
Your action item this week is to choose ONE process—it could be legal or business/administrative—then pick ONE small part of that process that seems to take too long or feels more complicated than it should. Sit down with your team (or your trusty cup of coffee if you don't have a team) and brainstorm a way to fix it. Then get it done. When it’s done, pick another small thing to improve.
These little improvements are what we call "Just Do It" improvements. Often, they’re the simple tasks that go undone because we procrastinate on fixing them. As an example, think about setting up an email template for a standard, repeated response that you send. Just do it, and save the time and energy that you historically have spent drafting that same email multiple times a day or every week.
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