You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 18. We’re talking all about Sunday self-audits. You ready? Let’s go.
Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach, Olivia Vizachero.
Hey there, how we doing? I am so good. I hope you are, too.
I have so much that I am celebrating over here. I’m going to tell you all about it, for just a second. First of all, I am celebrating the completion of the Mastermind Live event that I did last week; you guys, it was so amazing! It was absolutely wonderful seeing everyone in person, getting them all in the same room with me and with one another. That was so neat. I just loved it; the dinners were great. The learning was great. The camaraderie and the collaboration were so incredible, as well.
I just loved all of it. I’m already looking forward to the next one. And if you’re like, “Damn, I don’t want to miss out on all the action next time,” make sure you’re on the wait-list for the next round of the Mastermind.
You can get on the wait-list, for the next round of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, by visiting my website, TheLessStressedLawyer.com, or by going to the link in my Instagram bio, and my handle’s @thelessstressedlawyer. So, either of those ways; you can get on the wait-list, so you stay up to speed about all of the details.
You know what else I’m celebrating? I’m like, so excited about this. I finally achieved something huge that I’ve been working on in my business for about a year now. This is the first week that I have achieved and will enjoy a four-day work week. What? I know, how amazing is that?
I set this goal in motion about a year ago. I decided that I wanted to only work Monday through Thursday. I didn’t want to decrease my income at all, but I didn’t want to work Fridays; I want to just have Fridays to myself. And I started making small tweaks and changes over time, in order to accomplish it.
It took me a while. I had to set some boundaries in place. I had to allow myself to feel some discomfort, some guilt, some worry, a little anxiety, all of that was fine. I was able to gag-and-go my way through feeling those feelings. And I finally made it here. I finally blocked off every Friday for the rest of the year, no more work. I do, do webinars on the last Friday of the month, but aside from that, no more work on Fridays.
So, I’m celebrating the living daylights out of that. It’s truly something I couldn’t have imagined for myself a couple of years ago. And, now it’s done. Give that some thought.
Maybe there’s something in your life that you can’t imagine for yourself, right now. Maybe it’s a four-day work week, maybe it’s something totally different. But whatever it is, I just want to offer you, you can make small tweaks and changes over time, and eventually get yourself there. It’s totally possible. If you want my help, that’s what I’m here for.
Now, speaking of help, I’m introducing you to a tool that I use with my clients all the time; something that I teach, that I find to be so helpful. It’s called a Sunday self-audit. Now, what is that? What are Sunday self-audits?
They’re weekly evaluations that you complete. And they’re really simple and straightforward. This is not a complicated process. I call them Sunday self-audits because I love a good alliteration. But if I’m being really honest, you can do them absolutely any day of the week. If you’re not working weekends right now, or that’s something that you’re working on, not working weekends, I might recommend doing your weekly evaluations on Friday afternoons.
Some people that I work with wait until Monday mornings to do them. I don’t love Monday mornings, I’d prefer either a Friday afternoon or a Sunday, probably the middle of the week doesn’t make much sense. But the world is your oyster, you get to pick what day you do your self-audit. I like to do mine on Sundays. That feels good for me.
Now, regardless of what day you pick, you do want to make sure that you stick with doing the self-audits weekly. I find that, that is a frequent enough evaluation cycle for them to be detailed and specific, for you to really be able to use them, and make incremental changes as the weeks go by.
You can do them monthly. I just personally don’t think that’s frequent enough. And most people don’t want to do them daily. I think that’s a little bit of overkill, unless you’re really working on time management, time blocking and not procrastinating. That might be an instance where you do want to do a daily evaluation.
But I like weekly; I think it’s frequent enough. It’s going to be detailed enough because not too much time has passed, so you’re gonna get a lot out of it. You’re going to really drill down into the weeds, identify the problems that are coming up for you, and make very pinpointed, specific changes in order to address those problems and solve for them.
Okay. So how do you do a Sunday self-audit? The process is super simple. It just consists of three questions, and you may have heard me mentioned these before on the podcast. But I did want to devote an entire episode, just a short and sweet little episode to Sunday self-audits, so you know why I suggest doing them, you know how to do them, I walk you through it.
The self-audits consist of three questions: First question is what worked? The second question is what didn’t work? And the third question is what will you do differently?
You don’t need a worksheet to do this, you can just do this yourself on a legal pad or a notebook. But because I love you, I’m putting my worksheet, that I give to my clients, in the show notes for you to download and print if you find it helpful. If you’re like me, and you love a good worksheet, you can go to the website for this episode, download it, and use it to do your own.
I promise you though, completing a Sunday self-audit is not more complicated than asking and answering those three questions. Now, although this is simple, I’ve got one caveat here: Don’t half-ass this process. I’m really tempted, I’m just gonna say it because I can’t stop thinking it, use your whole ass when you do a Sunday self-audit.
Actually answer each of these three questions really thoroughly. Assess what worked. Figure out what went well over the course of the past week. And don’t you dare say “nothing.” So many of my clients love to do that. They always want to say, when I asked them what worked this past week, they want to answer, “Nothing. Nothing worked this week, It’s all gone wrong.” And that’s simply isn’t true.
Our brains love to go to the negative here and bypass the things that did work. But, nope, I’m not going to let that fly. All right? And I don’t want you to let it fly either. I want you to force yourself to find the things that did work, to find the things that you did do well. I don’t care how big or small they are. I want you to make a list. What worked? Celebrate your wins.
Beating yourself up, I’ve talked about this time and time again, over the course of the episodes that I’ve done already, it doesn’t serve you. It doesn’t motivate you. Being mean, being a bully to yourself isn’t a motivator, contrary to popular belief.
You need to be your own hype-person here. You need to celebrate your wins. Focus on what worked, what you did well, and that’s going to set you up to go into identifying what didn’t work, over the course of the past week, from a much more positive place. You’re going to go into that second question with a curious mindset, not a discouraged mindset; not a defeated mindset, not a judgmental mindset.
You want to make sure you build yourself up first, so you can bring a curious, inquisitive mind to identifying and problem solving for what didn’t work. So, that’s where we move next; going to identify specifically what did not work over the course of the past week.
I want you to also ask, as part of that; why didn’t it work? For extra credit here, for my overachievers, you can begin to identify the negative thoughts that you were thinking; that caused problems, maybe the actions that you took that didn’t serve you, or any inaction that you indulged in.
You can also identify the negative feelings that you were unwilling to feel; that you resisted, avoided, or reacted to, that drove you to take actions that didn’t serve you, or to, again, indulge in that inaction. You want to be specific with what didn’t work here. The more specific you are, the easier it’s going to be to problem solve for it. I don’t want you to skimp when it comes to completing this step. Really flesh it out.
Lastly, be just as specific with figuring out what you’ll do differently. So, you’re going to take a look, at that list you made of what didn’t work over the past week, and for each item, you’re going to solve for it. For each thing that didn’t work, ask yourself; what am I going to do differently, in order to get it to work in the week ahead?
Don’t simply say you’re just going to do better next time, or something equally as vague or ambiguous. Be specific here. Come up with a plan that you’re going to implement. And if you aren’t sure what the solution is, for what didn’t work last week, just guess. That’s how you make changes and improvements, you don’t have to know all of the right answers, right?
There may not be a right answer. There may be a lot of different answers, and you get to pick one and test a theory. It’s like science class, experiment here, you guys. Come up with your hypothesis, and then test it out in the week ahead. Going forward, see if it works. And then if it doesn’t, you take another guess and see if that works.
Basically, the process I’m describing to you, is you act, and then you audit, and then you adapt: Act, audit, adapt. Act, audit, adapt. Over and over and over again. If you don’t get it right the first time, you get to take another stab at it. That’s the best news ever, right?
Now, why do you want to do Sunday self-audits? Number one, completing a Sunday self-audit prevents you from going on autopilot. Most of us just go through our day-to-day lives, really unintentionally, proceeding on autopilot. And honestly, how are you going to learn and improve, if you don’t evaluate? Most people just look at their week and say, “No, that didn’t go the way I wanted it to. That didn’t go so well, as I had planned.”
Instead of taking time to do a meaningful evaluation, they basically just shrug their shoulders and say, “I’ll just do better next week. I’ll just do better next time.” But literally, how will you do better? What changes will you implement? What theories will you test out? You want to be answering those questions. You want to know the answers to those questions.
That’s how you improve, instead of just proceeding on autopilot. Proceeding on autopilot really doesn’t pan out in the long run. You don’t get where you want to go. Or, if you do, it’s going to take you a lot longer to get there than if you’re meaningfully evaluating.
The second thing that doing a Sunday self-audit does, is that it forces you to focus on the good, not just the bad. Your brain loves to go directly to what doesn’t work. It likes to bypass what’s working. It has a tendency to go into the negative and focus on that, to spend its time there. You want to direct your brain and focus, be a truth teller, and give equal airtime to both stories.
So, you’re going to start by focusing on what worked. That’s really important. You’re going to feel a lot more confident and feel better about the job you’re doing in your life, when you give equal airtime to what’s working, what you’re doing well, and not just focus on what you’re not doing well. It’s gonna be a big competence boost for you.
This process also makes you look at what you did, that didn’t serve you, other than avoiding it and burying your head in the sand. Sometimes we don’t like to take a look at our behavior, it’s easier to just ignore it entirely. This doesn’t let you do that. It makes you look under the hood of the car, so to speak, and figure out what’s going on, why there’s problems in the first place, what’s causing them.
It makes you become very aware and take a look at what you’re doing, that’s leading to the results that you have, that you may not like. So, again, it’s keeping you intentional. And it also gets you focused on solutions instead of problems. Because of the third question, what are you going to do differently to fix what didn’t work?
You’re focusing on those solutions; on coming up with those theories, testing a hypothesis, implementing, tweaking, improving constantly. Rather than, just dwelling or spinning in what’s not working, and kind of chasing your own tail; not making any improvements, not making any progress.
This process gets you out of that. It forces you to focus on finding a solution and then working on implementing it, and then evaluating again. Also, last but not least, the best part of this process, it keeps you from failing; everyone’s least favorite F-word, certainly mine.
One of the things that I teach my clients is that there’s no such thing as failure. That’s a hard concept for people to grasp. I’ll do an entire episode on it. I’ve just unsubscribed from failure; that it’s something that you can do. I don’t believe in it anymore.
What I teach people is that so long as you don’t quit, you can’t fail. Because failure requires an endpoint from which you measure. So as long as you don’t create an endpoint, by quitting, you can’t ever fail. You’re always just winning or learning. Winning or learning. Winning or learning.
By evaluating each week, you’re staying in that winning or learning process. You’re evaluating, and then constantly taking action, auditing, and then adapting. And the action that you take, you evaluate it again, audit, adapt: Act, audit, adapt. Over and over and over again, so you stay in that winning or learning cycle. You’re just constantly improving.
That way, you’re never failing, right? You’re either winning, or figuring out what’s not working, learning from it, and improving as you put that into practice. It’s a constant self-improvement cycle. That’s what you get when you do these Sunday self-audits.
Now, I know this seems overly simplified, so much so, that you may be tempted to think that doing a Sunday self-audit won’t make a difference. I assure you, it will. Sometimes the simplest, most straightforward processes are the most effective and impactful. This is one of them.
I use evaluations in my business all the time. When I do something big, like the live event that I did for The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, that gets evaluated through this process; what worked? What didn’t work? What will I do differently? I also do this with the webinars or the public speaking that I do; what worked? What didn’t work? What will I do differently?
I do this with my weeks, generally, on Sundays, like I told you. That’s how I make improvements to the way that I manage my time; how I treat my calendar, or interact with my calendar, how I set up my business, how I split my time between coaching and working with my clients, and doing things like business development, or working on my business behind the scenes.
I also use this process with other goals I set. I’ve used this with; losing weight, or getting organized around my house, decluttering things, reaching financial goals in my life, learning to drink less and change my relationship with alcohol, that’s something that I’ve worked on a ton.
So, you can use this evaluation process both with work and in your personal life. Just evaluate your week, really comprehensively. Focus on work and the personal stuff because it all blends together; one impacts the other and vice versa. But you can use this process to evaluate and make improvements on absolutely anything that you have going on in your life.
Think about it for a second: What goals are you working on right now? What are you working towards accomplishing? Whatever those goals are make sure you make weekly evaluations part of your goal accomplishment process. Figure out what’s working; do more of that, whatever’s working, always do more of it. Then, figure out what’s not working, and very specifically determine what you’ll do differently to solve for what’s not working.
Completing these self-audits is a surefire way to live a much more intentional life and to get further faster.
Alright, that’s what I have for you this week. I hope you have a beautiful week. I’ll talk to you in the next episode.
Thanks for listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. If you want more info about Olivia Vizachero or the show’s notes and resources from today’s episode, visit www.TheLessStressedLawyer.com.