The Law Firm Survival Guide for To-Do List Intimidation

Lawyers, regardless of the size of the law firm they work in, can become victims of to-do list intimidation. You know, when those one or two (or five) matters or tasks continue to stay at the top of your to-do list day after day, week after week. While to-do list intimidation may not seem like anything more than a personal headache, not attending to client matters in a way that is timely can result in an ethics complaint filed against you. An ethics complaint is more than just intimidating. It has the potential to ruin your career.

Outside of career ramifications, to-do list intimidation makes it just plain hard to grow your law firm. Intimidation can happen for several reasons. Maybe you don’t feel like you have time to tackle the administrative side of things. Maybe you don’t feel like you have the knowledge to make decisions on legal technology, website design, or marketing. It could be that you simply don’t have the energy. In this post, Zavieh Law will walk you through the steps of how you can survive to-do list intimidation.

Step One: Figure Out What Is Causing Your Intimidation

Consider the honest reason why you’ve not tackled that to-do list item. Is it because you really don’t need to do it? If that’s the case, just drop it off of your list. Yet, if it is something that you really want to do (although you don’t have to do it yourself), delegate it to someone within the law firm who can handle the task.

Maybe you’ve not completed the item because you feel intimidated. If so, you must determine what it is about the task that causes you to feel that way. For instance, if you’re looking to find opportunities to speak at CLE events, it could be that you’re afraid of public speaking. It could be that maybe you want the recognition, but you don’t really want to give the talk. Maybe you feel like people will think you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Another common area where law firm to-do list intimidation exists is when dealing with web design professionals. If you’ve considered a website redesign for a while, think about why you haven’t followed through. It could be because you don’t know what to ask the web developer. It could be because you’re afraid that you can’t make educated decisions. Maybe you want to try to do it yourself, you don’t understand the processes involved.

Regardless of the item, identify the core reason why you feel intimidated.

Step Two – Understand That the Longer It Takes You, the More Intimidated You’ll Feel

Whether your feelings exist because of things you need to do to grow your law practice or because of client matters that you simply don’t look forward to doing, there’s something important that you must recognize. Your feeling of intimidation will grow over time if you do not attend to the matter.

Step Three – Start Over on the Project

Because the feeling of intimidation can so easily take over, you must have a plan in place to get rid of the feeling. One of the best ways to do that? Just start over. Yes, it could be a lot of work. However, even just reviewing the first part of the task at hand can make the item feel less foreboding. Take it off your list. Review the entire project. Start fresh and include notes on how you can tackle the entire project.

Step Four – Go Home

Yes, really. You know what’s bothering you. You know why it’s bothering you. Go home. Go to the lake. Go do something other than work. However, don’t just go home and watch television. Finish a project of some sort. Use that sense of accomplishment as fuel to take on the work project.

Step Five – Make It a Point to Tackle Intimidated Projects Every Day in Your Law Firm

The feeling you get when you take on a project that once intimidated you is empowering. Use the above steps and the feeling of success to power through intimidating projects every day so that they don’t stack up.

Step Six – Make Use of Resources

If it turns out that you have legitimate fears such as public speaking or being afraid that you don’t know enough about certain projects that should help your law firm grow, make use of resources that can help you learn what you need to know. And remember that if you can tackle even one intimidating project, you can tackle anything!

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