A few days ago some wisdom was shared with me that I can’t help but share with all of you here. While the advice was specific to my situation at the time, the message seems universal and applicable especially to the entrepreneurial attorney.
To quote the exact blog from which this wisdom was pulled (www.infomarketingblog.com), “…what you create after allowing yourself the time to ‘goof off for breakthrough ideas’ is usually your best work.”
To put some meat on those bones, let me give a little insight to the conundrum I found myself in. You see, my role here at the Academy is Marketing Manager. Which generally translates to writing. A LOT of writing. Writing that has the sole purpose of inspiring action. So that means I have to be inspiring, witty, charming, and credible — all before my second cup of coffee in the morning, and with simply my pen and paper (or, to bring it up to date, with my monitor and typed words). As with any job, hobby, or obligation, sometimes you feel it, and sometimes you don’t. We often refer to this as “being on” or “being off”. And on this particular day, I was the definition of “off”.
So the deeper message is this: No matter how much you enjoy what you do, whether it’s writing compelling copy for me, or connecting with a client in an Initial Consultation for you, some days you just don’t have that elusive “it”. And sure, you can force yourself to meet a deadline or to make a meeting that you have scheduled. Real life beckons, and some of the time, you just can’t help but have to turn “it” on even when you’re off. But ideally you should make time for yourself to let things sink in and let your subconscious stew on some information about a client or a deadline or an obligation that you have coming up. And that’s not to say that you simply sit in silence and think repeatedly over the same bit of information. Rather, step away from the desk, put down the legal pad, and go do something that allows you to completely free your mind and just let all that information come together subconsciously.
At the Academy, days like these are what we call R&R Days (rest and relaxation) — and yes, we encourage you to build them into your schedule. Much like you schedule meetings in preparation for an event or schedule seminars for potential clients, scheduling days of rest where you can let the myriad of things taking up space in your mind just take a back seat and stew is imperative to the success of your law firm and your own well-being. While I may be able to produce some half-decent copy after hours of hitting the grindstone, and while you may be able to generate some business for your firm after weeks (maybe even months) of not taking a break from the day-to-day operations, how much better might our performance be if we simply stopped every so often to do those extracurricular things we truly enjoy and those things that help our mind escape entirely and come back refreshed and with some renewed zeal for the project at hand?
So here it is Monday, the start of another work week. What did this past weekend look like for you? What part of your weekend was dedicated to letting the subconscious stew while your conscious mind played on the golf course or spent some time trying out a new recipe with your spouse? For me, this weekend (with any willpower) will have been spent catching up with my family and friends, practicing yoga, and maybe reading that new book I just bought — or whatever it is that refreshes my mind to do the work I love Monday through Friday.
Take a break. Walk away. Clear your mind. Your employees, family, and even your mind will be glad you did.
*In an effort to give credit where credit is due, my sincere thanks goes out to Academy Chief Operating Officer, Jennifer Price, who passed along this sage advice as she witnessed me floundering.*
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555