Episode 38: You Don’t Need Their Support

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | You Don’t Need Their Support

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | You Don’t Need Their Support

When you make a big decision in your life, other people might not be too happy about it. For instance, when I left my career in Big Law to become a coach for lawyers, my parents weren’t the most supportive. We can joke about it now, but at the time, they didn’t feel comfortable supporting me in making this shift, and I didn’t feel great about it.

It became clear that I’d have to start this journey without their emotional support. However, I’ve learned that I never actually needed their support. So, if you’re thinking of making a big change in your life and you find yourself wanting other people to cosign, validate, and be on board with your decision, you need to tune in this week.

Today’s episode is short and sweet, so tune in to discover why the only person who needs to believe in you is yourself. Whether it’s your parents, spouse, friends, or anyone else whose opinion you’re struggling with, I’m showing you how they’re doing this from a place of love, but that doesn’t mean you need to listen to them.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

I have a few masterclasses planned for the remainder of 2022! November 29th is all about how to be confident. And December 16th, we’re going to work on setting the pace for 2023 by learning to stop tolerating the parts of your life you don’t love. All of the masterclasses are at noon Eastern Time, so mark your calendars.

If you enjoyed today’s show, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why you don’t need anyone else’s support in order to follow through on your vision for your life.
  • A story from my life of not letting my parents’ beliefs influence my behavior.
  • Why trying to convince others to be supportive of you is never effective.
  • The problem with taking advice from people who haven’t actually done what you’re trying to do.
  • How to see that, whoever ‘they’ are for you, you don’t need their support.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast, episode 38. Today, we’re talking all about how you don’t need other people’s support. 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.

Hi, my friends. How we doing today? I hope all is well for you. Things are going super well for me too.

I’m prepping for the upcoming holiday for Thanksgiving, and right now I’m kind of bopping around the U.S. I just left Phoenix. I went to Phoenix for this life coaching event called Life Coach Live, with my coaching school, the Life Coach School. And man, let me tell you, it was incredible.

I always think that you’re either a conference person or you’re not a conference person. I am definitely a conference person. This is why I host my own live events twice a year with the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. I just love being there in person. You get to meet everyone, make new friends, get to reconnect with the old friends that you’ve made if you’ve gone to previous events with them, which that’s what this was for me, it was a big reunion.

And my cousin Emily came with me this time, so I got to introduce her to a ton of my friends in the coaching industry, which was just really great. We had so much fun, and we learned a ton. I got to see my coach, Brooke Castillo, coach at a really expert level. So it was super inspirational. And after Phoenix, I hopped on over to California, where I’m here to connect with a good friend of mine who’s also a coach. We’re going to go to dinner. And then, I’m going to fly back home and celebrate Thanksgiving.

Now, I’ve done a couple long episodes recently, so I’m going to keep today’s really short and sweet. But while I was in Phoenix, a lot of people there who weren’t coaches yet, they made the decision to become certified life coaches. And it really made me think of when I made that decision several years ago, back in 2018. And I actually made a little bit of a speech at a luncheon while I was in Phoenix, to talk to the people who had just made that decision about what their experience might be like when they come back home. Because when you’re at a conference, you’re really hyped up. You’re just riding the adrenaline. You’re in this immersive environment, and it’s so inspiring, you’re really motivated.

And then, you go home, back to your regular life. And you’re going to tell people that you’re making probably a significant change. Now, you could, of course, get certified to be a coach and not do anything with it, but most of these people want to do what I did, which is to change careers and run a business. And when I made that decision, my parents were not the most supportive people. And we joke about it now, my parents are really lovely and we’re really close. So they tell everyone, they shout it from a rooftop, they’re like, “We were not on board with her decision to quit Big Law and make this change.”

But one of the things that I had to come to terms with when I did make that decision to get certified and ultimately leave the practice of law to start this business, was that I was going to have to do it without their support. And I’m not talking financial support, and I didn’t get that either, but I didn’t need that. I’m talking about the emotional support that comes from making a really big change in your life and wanting other people to co-sign it, wanting them to be on board, wanting them to support you, wanting them to cheer you on. They were not doing that when I decided to make the jump.

And for a little while, I’ll be really honest with you, I was very frustrated and really hurt that they didn’t believe in me, that they weren’t being supportive, that they didn’t have my back. And of course, think about the model, think about how you show up in your relationships when you’re frustrated and hurt and discouraged, not good. So this really impacted my relationship with my parents for a couple years, while I was getting this business off of the ground.

Like I said, now that I’m successful at it, they have no problem with it. They’re really supportive. They’re definitely on board. But in the beginning, before I had successful results from making this shift, they were really nervous for me, so it showed. They acted nervous, they acted worried, they acted scared. Now, for a while, I tried to convince them to be supportive. And I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to convince someone else to be supportive, but it was not effective. I promise you, it did not work.

So I kind of stewed in my frustration and disappointment for a little while. But then I coached myself and I finally got to the point where I recognized I didn’t need their support. The only person who had to support my dream and my vision was me. And when other people make big changes in their lives, I always want them to know that. I always want them to know that you don’t need their support, whoever they is in your life.

Maybe it’s your parents, maybe it’s your spouse, maybe it’s your siblings, maybe it’s your friends, whatever the case is, you don’t need their support to make a change. So if there’s some change that you want to make in your life right now, and you’re hesitating because people aren’t behind you, they’re not supporting you, they don’t have your back, and you’re really frustrated and disappointed and hurt, just like I was, I want you to know you don’t need them to support you.

Now, would it be nice to have their support? Sure, of course. Yes, it would probably be lovely, but you don’t need it, all right? It’s not their job to believe in you. They probably have a hard enough time believing in themselves. The only person who needs to believe in you is you.

One of the guiding core principles of my life these days is that I never take advice or seek advice from anyone who has not done what I am looking to do. So in this example, neither of my parents had ever quit their jobs and gotten certified as a coach and started a coaching business. And my dad, he is a business owner, but he didn’t start his business from scratch. He works in a family business.

Now, he runs it exceptionally, but the startup thing is a little bit different. So even that, he’s successfully run a business, but he didn’t start it. So to listen to them and have their beliefs inform what I’m capable of, that’s a recipe for disaster, simply because they don’t know. They don’t know how to start a business. They don’t know how to make that big type of change. They’ve never done it.

And if you are contemplating making a change and you are listening to people who also haven’t done it, you’re probably going to experience something that is really similar to this process that I went through, where people don’t support you, they don’t have your back, they’re giving you all of their limiting beliefs, all of their fears, all of their worries. They’re probably telling you that you’re crazy and that you can’t do it and that it won’t work and that it’s a bad idea.

And they’re doing this from a place of love, for sure. My parents love me. I had a very prestigious job that they didn’t have to go to every day. So easy for them to say that I shouldn’t leave it. It looked really good on paper. They thought it provided a lot of financial security. And I stopped believing that it did, because I knew that running this business would provide me with more financial security. But again, they weren’t in the circles that I was in. They weren’t consuming the content that I was consuming. They weren’t listening to the coaches and the entrepreneurs that I was listening to. So of course, they lacked belief. Of course, your people will lack belief too, whatever change that you are contemplating making.

If you are craving someone else’s support, you do not need it. Like I said, the only person who needs to believe in you is you. Make that your business. I want you to take that on as your full-time job. You don’t need their support. You can and will be just fine without it. I want you to believe in yourself and what you are doing enough for both of you, enough for you, and enough for them. Build your beliefs so strong that it’s unwavering, impenetrable, impervious, resolute.

A few years ago, when my business was starting to get a little bit of traction, but I wasn’t really making any money yet, my dad called me and he floated this idea by me, to start a side hustle. And in his mind, it was such a safer bet than the business that I was running because he understood it. The side hustle was to create a tangible product that I would sell on the internet. And he was so excited about it because in his mind, it was the safer, more secure choice. And he offered to support me doing that. He offered to back me financially. He offered to do all of this stuff.

And I remember I really felt the momentum in my business at that time. I knew that I was just a few weeks away from starting to make money as a life coach and to get things going in my business, be off to the races, so to speak. And he called me twice. He was so enthusiastic, and I finally realized, I was like, “Oh, he believes in this side gig so much more than in what I’m doing.” And I just asked him that. I was like, “You don’t think what I’m doing is going to work, do you?” And he was really lovely. He was honest. He’s like, “No, I don’t think it’s going to work, and I don’t understand it at all.”

And I just took a deep breath. I felt so calm at the time. I didn’t get frustrated. I wasn’t disappointed or discouraged or hurt. And I just dropped into my own belief. And I studied myself, and I said, “I’m going to believe in this enough for the both of us. I’m going to believe in me enough for the both of us. I’m going to believe in what I’m creating enough for the both of us.” And I did. I let him be worried. I let him misunderstand and not understand what I was doing.

So there’s going to be people who don’t believe in what you are doing. They’re going to think that you’re doing it wrong. They’re going to think that you’re making a mistake, that you’re being foolish or irresponsible, and all of that is okay. You don’t need their support. You don’t need them to understand you. You don’t need them to cosign anything that you do. You get to believe in what you’re doing, the decisions you’re making, the path that you’re forging enough for the both of you.

You get to believe for you, and you get to believe for them. And what I want to offer you is that when you pursue something relentlessly like I have with this business, and you make it a success, which you will if you do not quit, and you gag and go, and you keep showing up, doing all the things, evaluating, taking action, auditing, and adapting, all the things that I teach you, if you keep doing that, you will be successful.

And when people see your success, they co-sign it then. They get on board then. And it makes sense, because then they don’t have to worry about you. So they get to drop their worry and their fear and their limiting beliefs, and then they get to support you. So the support is really just delayed. People will come around, I promise you. Success speaks volumes. But in the beginning, you’re going to have to do it without their support. And that’s 100% okay.

With that in mind, I want you to go out and do big things. You can do it scared, you can do it unsupported. The only person who needs to have your back is you. All right, my friends, have a beautiful week. I will 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

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Episode 37: Navigating Your Year-End Review

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Navigating Your Year-End Review

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Navigating Your Year-End Review

We aren’t at the end of the year just yet, but it’s time to start thinking about it seriously. Year-end reviews are a love-hate relationship topic. Whether it’s writing your end-of-year memo, highlighting your achievements, meeting with your supervisors, or processing year-end feedback, you’re probably not thrilled about what’s coming your way.

If this sounds familiar, you’re in the right place because I’m talking all about navigating the year-end review process if you’re the person being reviewed, as well as working through this process if you’re the one reviewing others within an organization, so you can show up with intentionality, whatever role you’re playing.

Tune in this week to discover how to navigate your year-end reviews with confidence and how to create a process for giving year-end reviews if that’s part of your role. I’m sharing the prep you can do as we near the end of the year, the mindset you need to be able to advocate for yourself, and how to create a process for selling yourself.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

I have a few masterclasses planned for the remainder of 2022! November 29th is all about how to be confident. And December 16th, we’re going to work on setting the pace for 2023 by learning to stop tolerating the parts of your life you don’t love. All of the masterclasses are at noon Eastern Time, so mark your calendars.

If you enjoyed today’s show, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The importance of having a personal process in place for your end-of-year review.
  • What the year-end review process looked like when I worked in Big Law.
  • Some of the common objections and problems that come up around advocating for yourself during year-end reviews.
  • How to create a year-end memo of your own, so you can navigate your year-end review with a lot more intentionality.
  • The preparation you can do throughout the year to get yourself ready for your year-end review.
  • How to cultivate the right thoughts and mindset to take into your year-end review process, so you can leave a remarkable impression on your superiors.
  • Some important things to keep in mind if you’re the one performing the year-end reviews for others and how to give effective feedback.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

 

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 37. We’re talking all about navigating your year-end reviews. 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.

Hi, my babes. How are we doing today? I hope all is well with you. It’s been a busy few weeks over here. I’ve been launching the Mastermind, and that’s been so exciting to see the new cohort coming together. I cannot wait to be in Charleston with everyone who joined. I think it’s really fun to think about what we’re going to create in the new year together; what we’re going to make out of 2023.

I like to say, you know, “Let’s make 2023 one for the books.” I really intend to do that with this group, and with all of my one-on-one clients, too. But I just really cannot wait to dive in and make the most out of the new year. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to wait until the first of the year to make plans for the next year. I really think the January 1st is sort of too late, you’re already behind the eight ball a little bit. So, I love to line up my year right now.

I actually just applied and was accepted to my business coach’s mastermind, which kicks off in January. And it’s just such a relief to have that squared away. To know exactly what I’m going to be doing for my personal development, my business development, in the new year. So, it’s not something I need to think about anymore. I just really love that.

If you’re looking to invest in yourself, which is what the last episode was about, and you really want to join a program where it’s kind of all figured out for you. So, you don’t have to do the heavy lifting, figuring out what you need to grow, what you need to learn in order to develop. I do all that work for you. So, if you’re looking to have your 2023 dialed in, go to my website, TheLessStressedLawyer.com, head on over to the Mastermind page, and join; join me in Charleston, in 2023.

Speaking of New Year’s and years that are coming to an end, one of the topics that I talk to my clients about a ton, especially this time of year, is year-end reviews. This is a hotly contested kind of like love-hate relationship topic. A lot of people dread this time of year. Whether it’s writing their end of year memo, highlighting their achievements, meeting with their supervisors.

Or, maybe you have to do reviews for someone else, because you’re a supervisor. Maybe you have to advocate for yourself, or you want to advocate for yourself, but it feels really uncomfortable. Or, you get feedback, and that process is really hard.

You probably might not be thrilled about what’s coming down the pike. So, if that’s you, if that really resonates with you, that’s what I want to talk about in this episode. All right, I’m gonna break this episode up into two different stages. I want to talk first about navigating the year and review process if you’re someone who is being reviewed. And then, I’ll get into how to navigate it if you’re someone who is reviewing others.

Okay, so if you’re being reviewed, the first place that we want to check in, is do you have some sort of formal process that’s in place for your annual review? And if you don’t, I really want to encourage you to come up with one. I think that this is actually a really meaningful part of your year. And, not a lot of employers think through and create a formal process.

So, if your employer doesn’t have that, I want you to think about it and come up with one yourself. Now, you don’t have to create companywide change. You can just make sure that you do this for yourself. So, you’re really taking advantage of any opportunity that you have to advocate for yourself, creating that opportunity, perhaps.

But you want to make sure that you leverage these annual potentials to make more money, to get promoted, to have better opportunity, all of that. So, create a formal process if you don’t have one.

If you do have one, now these might differ, the different ranges of a formal process. When I worked in big law, we had a really formal process. So, you had to, as an associate, draft a year-end memo highlighting all of your achievements and your contributions to the firm. And then, you met with your practice group leader, and you discussed your year-end memo. Then, they went to the compensation committee and advocated on your behalf for whatever your bonus was going to be.

As much as, if I’m being really honest, I dreaded that process while I was there, I really have come to appreciate it; how formal it is. And when supervisors are managing a lot of people it’s really hard for them to A; remember all of your accomplishments throughout the year, and to know, in detail, the level of contribution that you gave to the organization.

So, I talk to a lot of people who are like, “I shouldn’t have to do this. My supervisor should know.” I really want to caution you, if that is your mindset with this, they’re not going to know the same way that you know; it’s your life. It’s your career. You’re the person who’s best situated to remember these things, best situated to advocate for yourself. It is not a problem that you need to advocate for yourself, or that you should advocate for yourself.

Now, if your firm doesn’t require year-end memos, or your organization doesn’t require year-end memos, I recommend you create one. Either to submit to a supervisor, or at least, to have yourself, so you can navigate your year-end review with a lot more intentionality.

Okay, so go through and highlight: What are the big successes you’ve had? What are the areas of growth that you have experienced, or that you’ve encountered? What do you know how to do better than you knew how to do the year before?

If you’re in private practice, you might talk about originations that you had receivables, notable matters, any public facing media worthy cases or files that you worked on; you’d highlight all of that. And it creates this concise document where all of your accomplishments live.

I actually have a really good friend, she has a folder in her email inbox that she adds things to throughout the year, to make this process so much easier come year-end. So, you could send yourself emails when you do something that’s notable. Or, when you get praise from a client, or from one of the people that you work with. You drop it in that kudos folder, and then when it comes time to create this year-end memo, you’ve got everything right there; it’s so convenient.

Also, if you tend to beat yourself up, which a lot of my clients do, it’s really nice to have that kudos folder to review when your day is not going so hot, and you’re kind of down on yourself, and you’re feeling a little inadequate. It’s really nice to have that receptacle of all your noteworthy moments and all your praiseworthy achievements.

Now, let’s talk about mindset. Because if you go in to advocate for yourself, just orally, or you’re creating a year-end memo, like the one I just described to you, and you’re thinking thoughts, like; I hate talking about myself, this is stupid, I shouldn’t have to do this, it won’t make a difference, I don’t have time for this, and this is a waste of my time.

If you’re thinking any of those thoughts, then this is what’s going to happen: You’re going to feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, awkward, annoyed, probably pretty resentful, and definitely disengaged. You might even feel discouraged, or overwhelmed, or frustrated, or bothered.

If you’re feeling those emotions, when it comes to completing this year-end review process, even if it comes to not writing a memo like this, but just meeting with your supervisors and going through the year-end review process that way. If you’re thinking those thoughts and you’re feeling those feelings, then here’s what you end up doing: You squander an opportunity to sell yourself, all right?

You’ve heard me say it, time and time again, your thoughts create your results. Because your thoughts cause your feelings, your feelings drive your actions, and your actions produce your results. So, if you’re thinking these negative thoughts, and you’re conjuring up these negative emotions, because of the thoughts that you’re thinking, you’re going to take really negative action.

You’re not going to advocate well, so you’re really going to squander this opportunity that you have, to highlight your achievements. You aren’t going to make a compelling argument about you deserving a raise, about you deserving a promotion, about you deserving a bigger bonus.

You’re really going to undersell yourself. You’re not going to be inspiring confidence. You’re not going to compel people to advocate on your behalf. If people that you work with need to go speak to their higher-ups and make a compelling case for you, you’re not going to do that. So, you’re really going to undersell. You’re going to present yourself in an underwhelming manner.

And, that’s not going to leave a really remarkable impression on the people that are decision makers about your future; whether it’s income or opportunity. You really want to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward. And if you’re thinking all of these negative thoughts and feeling these negative feelings, you’re not going to make that compelling argument that moves people to support you, to advocate for you, to reward you, any of that.

Here’s what we want to do instead. We want to make sure that you are never squandering advancement opportunities. So, we want to make sure that you’re making the most out of any chance that you have to self-advocate.

The first thing we have to do, in order to do that, is change your thoughts about the self-advocacy opportunity itself. Because you won’t take it seriously if you keep telling yourself that it’s a joke, right? That’s what a lot of people think about this process; that it’s a joke, that it’s not meaningful, that it doesn’t matter, that it’s stupid.

I tend to think that that’s a defense mechanism if I’m being really honest. It’s like, if we make light of this situation, then if it doesn’t go our way, it doesn’t have as much of an emotional impact. But I like to tell people to take every opportunity that they have for self-advancement and self-advocacy very seriously.

If you don’t take yourself seriously, no one else is going to. So, you want to make sure that you do take these moments really seriously. I don’t mean so seriously that you obsess over them; and that becomes problematic. But seriously enough to where you show up meaningfully to these conversations; whether it’s in writing, or through oral advocacy.

But you’re taking it seriously enough to really put your best foot forward and make an effort here. All right. So, we want to overhaul the way that you think about talking about yourself. Because if you keep telling yourself that you hate it, or that it’s hard, or that you don’t want to do it, you won’t do it. Or, you won’t do it well. At the very least, you’ll do it but not do it well.

But a lot of people, when they think this way about it and they have that sense of dread, because of their thoughts about self-advocacy, they never self-advocate; they just avoid it altogether. And, that’s what we want to make sure that you don’t do this year.

So, you have to start believing that it’s okay to speak about what you’ve accomplished. I talk to so many clients who are super uncomfortable talking about themselves. It’s one of the things that I always ask people really new in our work together; how do you feel talking about yourself? And drama normally comes up, through like; I’m not good at it. I don’t like to do it. I got taught that it’s really rude and arrogant. I was raised to be humble and not conceited.

So, they think that it’s a really bad thing to talk about themselves, when of course it’s not, especially in your professional career. And there’s a huge difference between being arrogant and just advocating for yourself. So, don’t conflate the two.

But if you were taught this growing up, that it’s rude, or improper to talk about yourself, you really want to a question that. Where did it come from? Who taught you that? Where did they learn it? Does it serve you? If your answer is no, it doesn’t serve you. And you realize that the people that taught it to you also learned some messed-up stuff about self-advocacy, then you can politely return these negative beliefs about self-advocacy.

What I see a lot of times, is that people, especially women, learned that it was impolite or not gracious to talk about yourself. That just keeps existing structures of power in power. So, if you’re a woman and you’re listening to this, and this doesn’t just relate to women, this relates to a lot of people, but I see it most prevalently with women.

So, if you’re a woman and you’re listening to this, I highly encourage you to do an overhaul on what you think about talking about yourself. You need to see it as your job, as your responsibility, as something that is completely acceptable. But for you, then whom? Right? I really want to encourage you to think that it’s no one else’s job, but yours to sing your praises.

I watch a lot of people expect their supervisors to do this for them. And with love, I think that’s kind of phoning it in; you’re really not taking responsibility, or ownership over whose role this is. And, it’s your role. It’s your job to sing your own praises, to advocate for yourself, to make the case. Okay? No one else’s.

It’s amazing if someone else supports you, if they mentor you, if they sponsor you. That’s kind of the buzzword over the past couple of years; sponsorship. Where someone’s really willing to go to bat for you and advocate on your behalf. But we don’t want to rely on that. It’s amazing if it happens. We just don’t want that to be the only ticket in town.

You want to be advocating for yourself, and if anyone else joins in, amazing. But we’re not going to rely on that alone. Also, I can’t state this enough, but I really want you to be assured that you’re the best person to talk about yourself. You are uniquely situated to intelligently talk about your accomplishments; you are going to know them more intimately than absolutely anyone else. So, you are the best person for this job.

Now, once you’ve overhauled your thinking in these two ways; so, you’ve changed your thoughts about this being a wasteful, stupid, worthless opportunity. And you who are now thinking of it as a unique opportunity for you to really highlight your notable moments from the year, your remarkable moments throughout the year. Your contributions that added a lot of value to your organization.

Once you started thinking about it in that way, and then you’ve accepted that it’s your responsibility to be the person who advocates on your behalf. And you’ve made peace with the fact that it’s not rude or arrogant to sing your own praises, to advocate for yourself. Then, what we have to do is we have to address your self-concept, we’ve got to give it a tune up.

Because if you don’t think highly of yourself, very candidly, yourself advocacy is going to suck. So, you really need to be your own hype person. In order to be effective as your own hype person, you want to start by finding out what you currently think about yourself, and your abilities, and what you’ve accomplished. As you do that, as you flesh out what your current self-concept is; what do you think about you, and the job you’re doing?

If it’s negative, we’ve got to make improvements. Otherwise, like I said, your self-advocacy is really going to come up short. So, you want to start talking to yourself in a manner where you’re highlighting; how capable you are, how accomplished you are, how proud of yourself you are, all that you’ve done, how remarkable that it is.

This isn’t to blow smoke up your “you know where”. But it’s to be a truth teller. To paint a picture of the ways that you’ve contributed, and the accomplishments that you’ve amassed throughout the year. You want to highlight all of that, and really sell yourself on how incredible you are.

Now, if you struggle to do this, what we want to start doing is defining what a good enough job is; we have to start there. I’ve done a whole podcast episode on “Defining Enough”. Because it’s really hard to feel accomplished if you don’t know what accomplishment looks like, or what you’re aiming for to begin with.

You want to define what a good enough job is, and then you want to evaluate yourself: Did I do it? Did I not? And you want to give heavy emphasis on all of the things that you did really well throughout the year. Okay?

Once you’ve done this, and you’ve identified what you’ve done well, how you’ve succeeded, your confidence is going to skyrocket. You’re going to become someone who’s so much less reliant on receiving external feedback and external validation. And really become someone who is able to provide that to themselves.

You’re gonna feel a hell of a lot more confident, more capable, more accomplished, more successful, more proud. How you advocate for yourself when you’re feeling that way, when you have a really high self-concept… Not an arrogant self-concept, just a confident, compelling self-concept, where you’re really sold on you. Where you’re sold on yourself, the value that you bring to the table, that is when you will be able to advocate for yourself in a really compelling way.

Now, once your self-concept is upgraded and your confidence is boosted, because you’ve changed the way that you talk to yourself, you changed the way that you think about yourself, and the story that you tell about all that you’ve done, then you’re in a really great place to start self-advocating.

From there, you want to make a self-advocacy game plan. All that is, is that you need to think about the information that you need to convey, and how you need to convey it, in order to advocate for yourself effectively. So, what do you want the people, who are in charge of your review, to know about you? What do you want to make sure they’re aware of? What is it that you’re asking for? What would you like to see happen?

You want to be really clear on the result that you’re aiming for. If you’re clear on the result that you’re aiming for, you’re going to make a more compelling argument that you deserve it. So, you really want to spend some time going through, asking, and answering yourself, some really commanding, powerful questions like:

Why am I a value-add? Why do I deserve X? Whatever it is; a promotion to make partner, more money, a bigger bonus. Make a compelling argument from that place of really grounded confidence.

Sell yourself on why you’re deserving of it. And then, when you’re in that place when you’re sold on you deserving it, sell yourself. Advocate. Go to town, all right. Now, speaking up for yourself is not going to feel super comfortable, at first. And, that is not a problem.

You can take action and speak up for yourself, in spite of and despite the discomfort of doing so. I always like my clients to identify the negative emotions that they anticipate that they’ll feel when they advocate for themselves. And, just build it into your plan. Decide; I’m going to feel those feelings on purpose. Whether it’s embarrassed, or arrogant, or rude, or impolite.

Whatever the case may be, whatever negative emotions come up. Maybe exposed or judged, because you think someone else is going to disagree with the way that you’re advocating about yourself; the things that you’re saying, the things that you’re highlighting.

So, there’s going to be some discomfort, and that’s totally fine. This isn’t going to feel intuitive or comfortable, at first. But that’s not a sufficient reason not to self-advocate. The truth is, and you hear me say this all the time, but there’s discomfort both ways; in speaking up for yourself, and not speaking up for yourself.

Only one of those two ways gets you closer to your goals. So, I highly recommend that you pick the path that gets you closer to the results that you want, over the one that doesn’t. If there’s discomfort both ways, don’t pick the path that maintains the status quo, pick the one that doesn’t; that gets you to the end result that you’re aiming for.

Now, once you’ve built your self-concept, and you have advocated for yourself; whether it’s in writing, or via a meeting with your supervisors, then you’re going to have the chance to probably receive some feedback. I’ve recorded a whole episode on receiving feedback. But what you want to do is really manage your emotional state as you receive feedback, and come to it in a really curious way.

Not with offense, and not with frustration, and not with anger, and not feeling attacked; we don’t want to do that. That doesn’t create intentional, positive results. So, instead, try and maintain a sense of curiosity as you receive feedback. And, be willing to ground yourself in that moment. Have a conversation with your supervisor to flesh out what’s gone wrong, to problem solve, how will you guys course-correct in the new year, moving forward, next quarter, over the next six months, over the next 12 months.

People tend to make review conversations a ‘me vs. them’ ordeal, and it doesn’t have to be that way. So, I want to encourage you to approach these conversations as if you’re on the same team, because you are. Be prepared to not love everything that you hear. It doesn’t make you a bad attorney. It doesn’t make you a bad employee. It doesn’t make you inadequate in any way, for you to receive some feedback that isn’t positive.

This is so cheesy, but they call it the practice of law for a reason; there’s no perfect way to do this. And, you’re always going to be improving. So, of course, people with more experience than you are going to give you some ways that you can improve. That isn’t a problem. You don’t need to take offense to it; you get to just receive it and use it as a learning opportunity. Leverage the feedback that you get, okay.

Again, like I said, whole episode on “Accepting feedback”. Go listen to that so you can really manage your mind as you do it. Now, I feel like I didn’t mention this, so let me just rewind for two seconds. If there’s not a formal meeting, we talked about that formal process in the beginning, like to write a memo and submit it. But also, if there’s not a formal meeting, I highly encourage you to request one. Create the structure.

That may feel really awkward and uncomfortable for you, but I find that a lot of leaders, a lot of business owners, law firm owners, law firm managers, they don’t think this stuff through. So, if you have the expectation that they’re going to be really intentional, it’s not that they don’t care, they just might not have put thought into this yet.

You can be the person that thinks up things for them. Request a meeting so you can have this conversation. So, you can come in with that strong self-concept; be your own hype person. Communicate your accomplishments, make your requests for what you think you deserve, what you think you’ve earned, value that you think you’ve added, and how you should be compensated for it.

And then, be willing to have that conversation and engage with that person. What do they think? Ask questions. Answer their questions, and receive the feedback that they give you. This can be a collaborative discussion.

Now, if there’s room for you to make improvements, rather than getting the feedback and being like, “Yeah, okay, that sounds great. Thanks so much,” or storming off and being pissed, or crying in your office, which, no judgment on the crying, but I know that happens to a lot of people during this time of year. They get negative feedback, and then they don’t really do anything with it other than dwell and self-loathe. So, let’s skip that part. Let’s not do that.

Instead, leverage the feedback that you receive. Take it, accept it, really pick it apart, and formulate a game plan for how you will improve upon the items that were mentioned in the feedback that you got. Okay, how are you going to work towards making those improvements? You want to come up with a really clear plan of what you’re going to do differently moving forward, in order to get there.

If you don’t, and you just end up winging it, you’re not going to make the changes that you want to make, and you’re not going to see improvements. So, this is all just going to come up again at your next review. That’s not what you want. So, come up with a game plan.

You can even meet with your supervisor to check back in, you don’t have to wait another 12 months for this. You can do it more frequently, in order to measure progress. And last but not least, if you don’t get feedback as often as you like, I highly encourage you to not just depend on your annual review, ask people and take the time to meet with them.

Don’t worry about being a burden, they get to say no if they want to. Trust people to manage their own time, and you get to manage yours. But ask people for more consistent feedback, create those channels, so you’re able to receive it.

Now, if I made this sound a little bit more simple than you think that it is, I just want to offer you that I get it; self-advocacy isn’t as straightforward and as comfortable as a lot of people make it seem. There are a lot of skills that go into self-advocating effectively.

So, skills like: You need to know how to change your thoughts and manage your mind. You need to know how to embrace advocacy opportunities. You need to know how to rewrite your self-concept, and increase your confidence, and advocate effectively. Which means, taking action in spite of and despite your discomfort.

Those skills, a lot of us never learned. There’s no formal education, through law school or through our early careers, where we learn how to do those things. Now, that’s what I teach my clients to do; how to change their thoughts, how to manage their minds, how to embrace advocacy opportunities, increase their confidence, rewrite their self-concept, and advocate really effectively, in spite of and despite the discomfort.

So, if you haven’t considered working with a coach or working with someone else, some other professional, consultant, strategist, that’s able to help you with these things, I highly recommend, if you struggle with this, consider working with someone. Because these are essential skills that you’re not going to just stumble upon if you keep going it alone.

Now, if you are a supervisor and it is annual review season, here’s what I want you to do; you’re in a little bit of a different position, right? So, kind of touching on where we left off with receiving reviews, if you give reviews, don’t wait until the end of the year to give negative feedback.

That is one of the things that I hear from my clients most frequently. This causes immense frustration. So, avoid this altogether, and just gag-and-go your way through the uncomfortable conversation much sooner after it happens. Even if someone’s still working on a matter with you, be willing to have that conversation now instead of waiting till later.

It reduces resentment, and frustration, and hurt feelings, and surprise. And you’re really able to make much more meaningful change when the timeline between the incident and the review receipt is so much shorter. So, I encourage you, don’t wait until once every 12 months to give negative feedback, do it consistently throughout the year.

And also, don’t just give negative feedback. That’s another thing that I hear from people all the time. That lawyers are just famous for only talking about what’s not working, what’s not good enough, and not highlighting people’s accomplishments. So, I like a three-to-one rule for this: three positive pieces of feedback for every one negative piece of feedback.

If you are someone who gives feedback and that ratio seems really skewed to you, I want to encourage you to try it try; the three-to-one feedback technique. Now, just like people who are on the receiving end of reviews, people that give reviews, supervisors, also tend to have really negative thoughts about the annual review process.

So, if that’s you, if you think it’s a joke, if you think it won’t make an impact, if you think people won’t make improvements because they don’t take it seriously, you’re going to show up and really half-ass the feedback that you give. How you navigate this process, you’re not going to take it seriously. And you’re not going to utilize it as the meaningful opportunity that it is. So, if you think it’s a joke and it won’t make an impact, you’re right; it won’t.

Just like the people receiving reviews, you need to change your thoughts about this process, too. Why does it matter? What kind of impact can it have? Why is it important? Why is it essential? What good can come out of it? How is it valuable?

Answer all those questions. Really sell yourself on the import of this process. All right, I also want to encourage you to think of it as part of your job. I watch a lot of people differentiate between “real” work and administrative work, the non-billable stuff. Reviews are one of the things, just like billing your time, to get categorized into this not real work box. And if you think of it that way, you’re not going to take this seriously. You’re not going to give it the gravity that it deserves.

So, I want to encourage you to think about this as being part of your job; you’re a supervisor, this is one of your responsibilities. Now, from there, if you stop thinking of it as a joke, or that it won’t make an impact and that it’s not part of your job, if you change those thoughts, you’re probably going to slow yourself down to take it more seriously.

But I do want to remind you, if you still feel rushed to speed through this process, because you’re like, “Who has time for this? It’s end of the year; I’ve got to get on to my deals. I’ve got to close cases,” whatever. I just want you to take a deep breath and not rush this process.

If you rush through it, it won’t be meaningful. And it won’t be as impactful as it could be, otherwise. So, if you really want to see course-correction out of your teammates, and improvements out of the people that you supervise, out of the people you manage, you want to take this seriously, and you don’t want to speed through it.

Now, when you go to give feedback, and I’ve recorded a whole episode on this, too; one on accepting feedback, one on giving feedback. But you want to make sure that you’re out of a state of frustration. And you want to be in a state of curiosity, understanding, and showing up in service to the people that you supervise. That’s going to completely change the way you communicate your review; you communicate the feedback.

I also want to encourage you to be honest. A lot of people have a very hard time with being honest when it comes to annual reviews, because they don’t want to be “mean” or they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I just want to offer that that’s really not helpful.

The point of an annual review process is for people to learn what they’re not doing well and to make adjustments. And also, to celebrate them for what they are doing well and the value that they’re adding. But the purpose of an annual review is both, it’s twofold. So, be honest, and highlight what people need to work on.

Now, when I teach business development, I teach people a concept; I say, “Don’t post and ghost.” I tell them to post on social media, but then stick around and engage with other people on social media. So, I’m tweaking that concept today, for you. I want to say here, don’t give feedback, and then ghost. Stick around. Help people problem-solve.

The people that work for you may not know how to solve the problems that you’re bringing to their attention. And they’re definitely going to be inclined to people please you; to say, “Oh, yeah, I know. I need to work on that, totally. I’m going to do better.” If you are phoning in this process, you’re going to take their ‘yeah, I’ll do better’ and run with it, it’s not really a meaningful action plan, in order to get different results; in order to make consistent improvements.

So, instead of doing that, I really want you to take a deep breath and problem-solve with the people that you review. Help them identify a clear path forward, for exactly how they’re going to improve, to remedy the things that they’re not doing well; the issues that you brought to their attention.

And you want to make sure that you come up with measurable metrics, where you’ll both be able to see their improvements, and monitor the progress that they’re making. Is this time consuming? Yes, it’s going to take some time. It’s not going to take all the time. But it’s going to take more time than if you don’t do it.

But it’s worth doing it. It’s how you make your review process every year actually meaningful. It’s how you’re going to get improvements out of your team, rather than that lip service, which is what you don’t want. Okay? So, ultimately, whether you’re giving reviews or you’re accepting them, you’ve got to change your thoughts about your annual review process.

You’ve got to be willing to take action, in spite of and despite your discomfort, right? Whether you’re advocating for yourself or you’re giving feedback to someone else, it’s going to be a little uncomfortable, especially at first; that’s not a reason not to do it.

Alright, my friends, I hope this helps you navigate your annual review process; everyone’s. We’re gonna change our thoughts about everyone’s favorite time of year, I’m sure. It’s bonus season. It’s the part that comes right before bonus season. So, how could it not be your favorite time of year?

All right. I hope these tips helped. Have fun self-advocating or giving reviews to your team. I will 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

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Episode 36: Investing in Yourself

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Investing in Yourself

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Investing in Yourself

Last week, I discussed the impact coaching has had on my life and how I navigate everyday challenges using coaching tools. This week, I’m keeping the conversation going and talking about investing in yourself because, in order to make the shifts I talked about last week, you must be willing to invest in yourself and your growth.

I see a lot of people hesitate when it comes to investing in themselves. So, if that sounds familiar and you’ve always been interested in coaching, but it feels like there’s something stopping you from taking the leap, I’m going to explain where the apprehension comes from, and how you can put this feeling into perspective.

Tune in this week to discover why consuming content and information is great, but the real change comes when you invest in yourself. I’m sharing how my clients’ outlooks change when they start investing in themselves, the difference it made in my life, and what investing in coaching actually looks like in practice.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

I have a few masterclasses planned for the remainder of 2022! November 29th is all about how to be confident. And December 16th, we’re going to work on setting the pace for 2023 by learning to stop tolerating the parts of your life you don’t love. All of the masterclasses are at noon Eastern Time, so mark your calendars.

If you enjoyed today’s show, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The difference between self-care and personal development.
  • What it means to create a life that you’re obsessed with.
  • The critical skills you need to learn if you want to live your life on your own terms.
  • Why investing in yourself is the most effective way of increasing your emotional intelligence and transforming how you show up and make decisions.
  • How to know whether it’s the right time for you to start investing in yourself.
  • The power of having the help of someone who believes in you and sees endless possibility for you.
  • 7 of the most common defense-mechanism thoughts that prevent people from investing in themselves, and how to see that they’re not based in fact.
  • What it’s really like inside The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 36. Today, we’re talking all about investing in yourself. 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.

Hi, my friends, how you doing? It has been a wild ride over here the past week. One of the things that I’ve learned from my coach is that life is 50/50; 50% good and 50% not so good. And that you can really reduce the amount of emotional suffering that you experience when you just embrace that 50/50 split. Instead of, you know, going to war with it, and not accepting it, and wishing that things were different or better than they are. I’ve just been living the 50/50 lifestyle over here.

Things have been so amazing with the Mastermind launch, so far. Enrollment is open, and the next cohort has already started to come together. Applications have come in. Acceptance decisions have already gone out. So, there are still some spots left, but it’s just been so amazing to see the people that are going to be in the next round. I can’t wait to meet them in person in Charleston, that’s going to be so exciting.

So, while all of that’s been going on, though, I’ve been dealing with the 50% of life that hasn’t been that great. I’ve got a sick cat; my babe, Bear, has not been doing too hot. So, I’ve been navigating that. And it’s just always a really good reminder that, you know, things come in ebbs and flows in life. And you’ve got to be willing to accept that and to expect it. And if you do expect it, you’re going to be so much more capable of navigating the emotional ups and downs that come with those 50/50 shifts.

I just wanted to share that with you, in case you’re dealing with your own 50/50 splits, right now. And you’re battling between, and bouncing between, the good and the not so good. If you are, I see you. I’m with you; I’m in it too. I just want you to know that A; you’re not alone. B; nothing has gone wrong. That’s just part of the human experience. And you are capable, and resourceful, and competent to weather that storm. So, I wish you all the best as you weather it.

All right, today we’re continuing on talking about kind of like this two-part series that I’ve come up with. Last week, we talked about the impact of coaching, and all of the different ways that I apply the coaching tools that I teach my clients in my own life. And, the impact that knowing these tools and having the skill set has. How I navigate just everyday challenges, the little annoyances, the little unfortunate things that pop up in our day-to-day lives.

How I manage those so much differently, now. Now that I found coaching, and I know how to implement these tools myself, it’s the same exact stuff that I teach my clients to do. It’s how they navigate the world, now. It’s what they implement on a day-to-day basis to also experience the same shifts and changes in their own life. So, I wanted to give you some examples of that.

In today’s episode, I want to talk about investing in yourself. Because in order to get those changes, to make those shifts that I talked about in the last episode, you have to be willing to invest in yourself. In order to learn how to navigate the world in the different way that I teach my clients how to navigate it; the tools that I teach them, the skills that we develop together.

In order to get the benefits of coaching, you have to invest in coaching. And, I see a lot of people hesitate when it comes to investing in themselves. So, I wanted to record a podcast episode specifically about that hesitation. Explain it to you and teach you how to overcome it, if you are really eager and wanting to make a shift in your life, but you find yourself a little apprehensive, a little hesitant to move forward and invest in yourself.

Now, I think there’s an important distinction that I just want to highlight, the difference between self-care versus personal development. I definitely think personal development and investing in it is part of self-care. But a lot of people spend a lot of money investing on self-care that provides temporary relief and instant gratification, but doesn’t have the same long-term impact. So, going to get that massage, or that facial, or going on vacation.

I know I was guilty of this, back in the day, when I was really overwhelmed and dealing with all of the stress from working in big law. I traveled a lot, and I did it as a way to escape my stress. But if you do this, you know what I had to learn the hard way. You don’t escape it permanently, you come back to it. It’s there waiting for you at the airport when you get back from wherever you traveled to.

So, travel’s one way that people invest in self-care, but not necessarily in personal development. I also see this with things like taking a bubble bath, or maybe going for a walk, maybe going to yoga, those things are all incredible for you. But when you stop doing the activity that brings you some peace, the peace tends to go away. So, you have to keep doing it.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t keep doing it. If you’ve loved doing yoga, or working out, or taking bubble baths, or resting and sipping some tea, and just taking some downtime, all of that is so incredible and amazing. It’s just not the same type of investment that you’re making when you invest in your personal development.

Today’s episode is really about investing and working with a life coach. Now, why would you want to work with one? The shortest answer that I can come up with, is really just to do life better. I teach my clients how to live lives with less stress, and far more fulfillment. And I know you hear me say that all the time, but I want to talk today about what that actually means.

There are critical skills that you need to learn in order to do that. In order to live a life on your terms. In order to create a life you’re obsessed with. Which is, really, the commitment that I make to my clients, to the people that choose to work with me; we’re going to create lives that they’re obsessed with.

That’s what I’ve gone and done for myself. It’s what I help the people that work with me do, as well. But there are specific skill sets that you need to develop, in order to do that, in order to create that life, to live a life on your terms.

And it’s skills like learning how to manage your time; how to control your calendar, how to plan your schedule accurately, how to honor your plan, how to learn how to follow through and do what you say you’re going to do. It is utterly impossible to build a life you’re obsessed with if you don’t follow through. So, you’ve got to learn how to master that skill.

As I go through this list of skills that I teach my clients how to develop, how to build, how to master, I want you to pay attention to the fact that a lot of these skills were never taught growing up, okay. So, there’s nothing wrong with the fact that you haven’t learned them yet, that you haven’t mastered them yet. But you do want to be mindful that you haven’t learned them.

And that if you want to get the results that come from developing these skill sets, and executing and implementing these skill sets on a daily basis, you’re going to have to invest in an education in getting them, okay. The skill of following through, learning how to set boundaries, how to say no to other people and to things that you don’t want to do.

So, you can say yes to yourself. You’ve got to learn how to stop people pleasing, all right. How to stop doing things you don’t feel like doing out of guilt, worry, or fear. How to be able to honor what feels intentional and in integrity for you, and not sacrifice yourself for the sake of making other people comfortable.

I’m going to teach you how to care a lot less about what other people think, and to get very comfortable with their discomfort. Those are normally the two things that get in people’s way from living a life on their terms, and not people-pleasing.

You’ve also got to know how to increase your confidence. To identify where there are roadblocks in your confidence, where there are there gaps or holes. And, we’ve got to fill them in.

I do that by teaching my clients how to identify their limiting beliefs that they have about themselves, about what they’re capable of, about what’s possible for their lives. And we work together to dismantle those limiting beliefs, so they stop holding you back.

You also want to learn how to build self-trust. I teach people to go from a system of external validation, where they’re constantly relying on feedback from other people, to learning how to become someone who internally validates, who evaluates yourself and the job that you do. And you know what you’re doing well, what you can improve upon, and then you create a plan exactly on how to make those improvements.

I also work with people to define a couple of different things. We want to define what your role is, so you’re able to feel a lot more accomplished and satisfied with what you’re doing in your life; both at work and in the roles that you take on in your personal life. In order to live a life that you’re obsessed with, we also have to work on your relationships, and really give them an overhaul, improve them.

One of the ways that we do that is by learning how to let go of the past, and again, stop caring about what other people think. Being much more honest with the people in your life. Allowing yourself to be known. Allowing yourself to be seen. Being able to have difficult conversations respectfully. Being able to advocate for yourself. Being able to resolve conflict very intentionally. And, being able to problem solve more effectively with the people that you interact with.

You also want to know how to lead and manage others really well, and understand why people do what they do, and why you do what you do. So, we’re going to increase your emotional intelligence. So, you’re able to show up in relation to other people much more intentionally, much more powerfully, much more in control.

You also need to learn how to make empowered decisions. A lot of the people that come to work with me really struggle with decision making; they spin in indecision, they second guess themselves, they’re constantly seeking input or feedback from other people, they don’t trust themselves, they avoid making a decision.

The quality of your life is really directly impacted by the quality of your decision-making abilities. So, we want to make sure that you’re able to make really intentional, empowered decisions quickly. And then, being able to implement them, take action towards them, to create the results of the decisions that you make.

You also want to become the type of person who’s capable of making changes. Whether it’s switching jobs, or moving, or starting to travel, starting a business, getting promoted. Whatever it is, we want to make you the kind of person that navigates change really well, really seamlessly. Because if you’re resistant to change… I used to tell myself that I hated change. I don’t do that anymore. I love change, now. I embrace it fully in my life.

But if you’re someone who hates change, you’re going to maintain the status quo, and you’re not going to thrive in the way that you’re going to want to thrive in your life. If you have other goals you want to accomplish, like getting more organized, either at work or in your personal life, developing business, transitioning businesses, changing your practice area, any of those things.

You want to be able to identify the result very clearly that you want to create, and plan for the future. I teach my clients how to reverse-engineer their results, so we get clear on exactly what we want to create. And then, we work backwards to create a roadmap, in order to make creating your results inevitable.

I also teach people how to simplify their lives. We constrain and cut out anything that doesn’t serve you, anything that’s not necessary. And we make decisions, that you make all the time over and over again, we decide on them one time, and then we just honor those decisions moving forward. So, your life becomes much more simplified, much more streamlined, much more routine, much more uniform. Not in a boring way; in a really sexy way.

In a way that makes everything feel a lot more effortless and easy, so you’re able to give your time, focus, and attention, to the things that really move the dial to create that life that you want. That get you closer to the unresolved that you’re aiming for.

Last but not least, I teach people how to set and achieve goals. Most people come to me, and they really don’t know how to do that well. They kind of think that they know how to do it, but they struggle with it. They set really ambiguous goals, and they don’t know how to work towards them. So, we’re going to do that together.

And through all of the things that I just covered, what you ultimately get is you’re able to feel so much better. You go from feeling overwhelmed, and stressed, and inadequate, and insecure, and uncertain, and guilty, and worried, and frustrated, and disappointed, and discouraged, and defeated, and confused, and stuck. To feeling in control, capable, competent, determined, committed, intentional, okay? That’s what you want for your life.

Because how you feel determines how you show up. So, we need you feeling better, so you can show up better, so you can create what you want in your life. All right, this is exactly what I teach people to do. I know that sounds like a lot, but it’s your whole, complete life. Right? It is a lot; it should be a lot.

Those skills are everything you need to know, in order to really thrive. And like I said, most of the stuff you’ve never been formally taught how to do any of it, so you struggle with it. My goal, in working with all of my clients, is to stop the struggle. To get you out of spin cycle and get you really clear on how to create what you want, and to arm you with the skills that you need in order to create it.

Now that’s what you do when you work with a coach; you learn to master those skills. So, if you’re asking yourself, why would I invest in working with a coach? In a program like The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind?

Here’s some reasons that might come up for you, to start: You might invest because you’re sick of squandering your own time, fumbling around, and trying to figure it out for yourself. One of the things that I hear in the coaching industry a lot is that people need to work with a life coach. And that’s absolutely not true, right?

You will make it through life, you won’t die if you don’t work with a coach. But here is what I find to be true. Number one, the progress that you’ll make on your own is going to take you a lot longer, than the progress you make when you work with an expert.

Number two, there are just some revelations and transformations that you get out of coaching that you’ll never get on your own. Because you can’t see your own roadblocks. So, the fastest way to create the life you want is to work with a coach. The fastest way to learn is to learn from someone else, instead of trying to figure it out all on your own.

If you want to be inspired, and get unstuck, and have support while you start curating a life that you love, one that you live on your terms, you want to invest in yourself. You want to invest in working with a coach and joining a mastermind, like The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, because it’s a container where you get to do all of this stuff at warp speed.

Another huge reason to work with a coach and to join a group program, like The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, is to become a part of a community and to surround yourself with really incredible people who are all committed to living intentional lives, just like you are.

Another reason to invest in yourself is to simply become someone who invests in yourself. To be someone who pushes themselves to do more than settle for the status quo. There is such an uplevel in your self-concept when you invest in yourself.

When you actually pay money to invest in your own personal development, it’s like you’re saying, “I believe in my future and what I’m capable of so much, I’m willing to put money behind it. I’m willing to bet on myself. I’m willing to invest in myself. I’m willing to bankroll my future success; the success that I’m going to make inevitable through making this investment.”

You start to see yourself as someone who is worthy of investment. Someone who has a future that is so valuable, that’s so remarkable, that you’re willing to put your money into it, in order to make it the best that it can be. And that is really a transformative way to think about yourself.

To be that intentional with your life, that intentional with your future. To say, “I’m not going to settle for mediocre. My life is worthy of this type of expenditure,” that is so powerful. Being someone that takes yourself and your future, and your life and your goals, and everything that you want to accomplish so seriously, that you’re willing to put money behind it.

I’m gonna go on a quick tangent here. I went on a date; I think last fall. And while I was on the date, the man that I was out with was talking about some of the goals that were kind of like pipe dreams, that’s how he talked about them. He was really wishy-washy when he was talking to me about them. He didn’t seem really confident; he didn’t really seem sure of himself. And he kind of joked about what he wanted to accomplish.

He didn’t have the same gravitas that I have when I talk about my goals. I take my goals, and my future, and the vision that I have for my life so seriously. So, it really stood out to me that he didn’t talk that way, that he didn’t speak about his future and himself in the same way that I do. I left that date thinking this; simply, that you have to be the person that takes your life, your goals, your dreams, more seriously than anyone else.

It’s got to be you. That’s your job. No one else is going to care about your dreams, your goals, the life you want to create, as much as you. Nor should they, everyone should be worried about themselves and creating their own lives that they’re obsessed with. That’s everyone’s individual job.

So, you want to check in with yourself. Do you take your life, your dreams, your goals, the things that you want to have in your life, the accomplishments that you want to achieve, do you take them seriously? Seriously enough to invest in?

If you don’t, I really want to ask you to question why. Why is that? And then, I want to invite you to start thinking about this differently. To start telling yourself, to start mentally rehearsing, that you and your future are worthy of investment. Now, why is it so important to invest in yourself?

Number one, and I kind of already talked about this, but you get further faster. And one of the things that I teach my clients is that success compounds. So, the further you get faster, the more time you give yourself for your success to compound. It’s just like interest in financial investments; there’s compound interests. So, when you start saving earlier, you reap the benefits of having made those investments earlier.

The same thing is true with what you accomplish in your life. So, the faster you start taking action, to get where you want to go, the further you’re going to ultimately get, because your success will compound.

By investing in yourself, you’ll also achieve things that you would never otherwise achieve. I’ll use myself as an example of this. I run a business now that blows my wildest dreams; I’m quickly scaling it to seven figures.

And, I know that that is truly just the beginning. And had I not invested in coaching and worked with coaches that held that vision for me before I was able to hold it myself, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have the future in front of me that I now have, but for me, investing.

Coaches also help point out your blind spots. And I really do mean this; they’re your blind spots, so you will not see them if you don’t work with someone else. You just won’t know what to look for. So, coaches will help you identify limiting beliefs that you have. And they will help you dismantle them. They know what questions to ask, in order to tear down some of the things that you’ve been believing about yourself and what’s possible for your life, that are really holding you back.

Another thing that my clients love about working with me is that they’re able to borrow my belief. I believe in you so fully and completely. I believe in how resourceful you are. I believe in how capable you are. I believe there’s nothing you cannot accomplish. And most people don’t have someone like that in their lives.

If you start to pay attention, you’re probably surrounded by a lot of negative people. And that’s not to, like, insult your inner circle. It’s just how most people operate in this world. So, investing in being surrounded by someone who isn’t like that, who is full of belief, who thinks the world is your oyster, and that the possibility is endless, the opportunity is endless, and that you are capable of creating whatever it is that you want in your life.

Spending time around someone like that, investing and being around someone like that, is so incredibly powerful. I truly believe that we are a direct reflection of the five people you spend the most time with. And when you work with a coach, one of the five people that you end up spending the most time with is your coach.

Even if we only see each other an hour a week. Think about it, most of my friends I don’t see an hour a week. If I see them like once a month, that’s a lot, or a couple times a year. So, I see my coaches more frequently than I see my parents, other friends, and family members. And as a result, they become one of those five people that has the biggest impact on my life.

Which is so great, because they have a mind that’s so different from anyone else in my life. So, I really learned to think so much differently, by exposing myself to the way that they operate, to the way that they view the world.

Another thing that my clients love about working with a coach and investing in themselves, is that they expose themselves to someone who’s completely non-judgmental. Working with someone who’s completely non-judgmental, and is able to help you navigate situations without putting their opinion and their own limiting beliefs into the situation, is so powerful.

We call this “holding space” in coaching. And it’s one of the most impactful things that you get out of investing in yourself; having someone hold space for you, not judge you. And help you explore all the options that you have.

Help you make decisions and figure out which direction you want to go in. Figure out what questions you need to be asked, in order to create awareness and really figure out what’s next. Figure out the direction you want to move in, to help you become the best version of yourself. Having someone who’s able to hold that type of space. without judgment. is so incredible.

I also just had a client reach out to me, and she said that one of the most incredible things that she’s experienced about working with me, is that I’m so honest. So, it’s so fascinating how these two concepts tie in together; being non-judgmental, but also being very candid.

And she explained that it’s not just with some of the “bad stuff” that happens; some of the things that she struggles with. But also, the things that she does well, that she celebrates, or would want to celebrate. But sometimes that inner critic in her own head would discount the accomplishments.

When you work with a coach, we cheer you on from a really honest, loving, supportive place. So, you have someone in your corner who’s here solely to support you. I tell my clients all the time, “I’m not your husband’s life coach. I’m not your mom’s life coach. I’m not your boss’s life coach, or your client’s life coach. I’m your life coach.”

So, I’m in your corner. I’ve got your back. I’m holding space for you. I’m going to be honest with you, and sometimes that requires me saying the tough thing. The thing that you might not want to hear, but that will set you free. That will really help you access your transformation, access the breakthrough, that’s going to get you to the life that you’re obsessed with.

We usually don’t get this from the people that are in our inner circle. They’re either people-pleasing us, or being too polite, or giving us their negative limiting beliefs, and their opinions based on their worldview and their experiences. A lot of that does not serve you, all right? So, I’m not going to be your parent, and I’m not going to be your best friend, and that’s the best news ever.

I want you to take a second and think about what are all of the thoughts that you have about investing in yourself? Does it feel unavailable to you? Do you feel hesitant or apprehensive to do it? Do you feel like it’s not for you? Investing in yourself isn’t something that you do. Isn’t something that you were raised to do.

It certainly wasn’t something that I was raised to do. I had to become someone who viewed myself and my life as being worthy of investment. And now that I have changed my beliefs and the way that I look at making that type of investment in myself, it has become a non-negotiable for me. Because I’m so committed to achieving the seemingly impossible, to living a life where I truly blow my own mind with what I’m able to create.

I’m so committed to exceeding my wildest expectations. And I know that I will never achieve that if I operate on autopilot. Operating on autopilot doesn’t create the results that I want in my life. I want next level results, so I have to invest in a next level way, in order to create them. That has just become a fundamental part of my life. I’m always going to work with a coach.

Whether it’s one-on-one, or to put myself in group programs that give me access to peer groups that I would never otherwise be around. Where I’m able to access their up-leveled thinking, and their brilliance, and their wisdom. To put myself in rooms with coaches who have the results that I want to have in my life. Who have achieved what I want to achieve, and I can learn from them. Because they lead by example, and they share their wisdom, they share their knowledge with me.

That has become a foundational part of my life, and it always will be. If you are someone who has never invested in yourself in this way, I want you to consider that now is the perfect time to do it. Especially, we’re coming up on the end of the year.

This is my favorite time to make investments in my personal life and my professional life, to decide what is my 2023? What’s the next year going to look like for me? And how am I going to support myself, as I work towards the goals that I want to accomplish over the course of the next 12 months?

So, be thinking about this. Don’t wait until January to figure out what you’re going to do, in order to get to the results that you want to get to in 2023. You want to be making those decisions now. You want to be lining all of that up right now, so that it’s done, so that it’s taken care of.

Now, as you explore your thoughts about investing in yourself, the other thing that I wanted to talk about is a couple questions that you can ask yourself to figure out whether it’s time for you to invest. So, number one, I went through that long list of the things that we work on together; with the skills that I teach you to master, that we develop, so you’re able to create that life you’re obsessed with.

If there are items on that list that you really feel like you struggle with, that you don’t know how to do right now, you feel like there’s skills that you’ve never developed, you were never taught, it’s time to invest. You want to put yourself in a room where you will learn those things.

The other thing that I see a ton of is that people are in consumption mode. So, if this is you, this used to be me, so I’m calling myself out here, too. But I’m giving you a loving call out, too; if you are in consumption mode, and you keep repeating the same behavior over and over and over again. You keep feeling the same way, but you keep consuming. You keep listening to the podcast episodes, and reading the social media posts, and watching the YouTube videos, and reading the self-help books.

But you’re not actually making changes, you’re consuming; you’re not applying. It’s time to invest in working with a coach.

Consuming isn’t learning; application is learning. If you are the type of person who identifies with saying, “You know, I know what I need to do, I’m just not doing it.” With all the love in the world, you don’t know what to do. I had this conversation with a client recently, we were talking about time management. And he was saying to me…

Actually, this came up a couple different times with clients recently; one on the topic of time management, one on the topic of weight loss. And both clients were like, “I know what I need to do, I’m just not doing it.” And I just took a calm, deep breath, and I said, “Respectfully, you don’t know what to do. Because knowing without doing, isn’t knowing.”

And we’ll repeat that again, because it’s really good: Knowing without doing, isn’t knowing. So, you may intellectually understand the steps you need to take, in order to get where you want to go. But you don’t know how to actually take the steps. And one of the things that I teach my clients how to do is to take the steps; the uncomfortable steps that make their success inevitable.

You need to learn how to take action, in spite of and despite the discomfort that comes from taking it. We don’t learn how to do this growing up. It may seem like it’s intuitive, but it’s not. It’s a skill that you have to learn how to develop. And it’s the thing that I’m an expert at teaching people, more so than any other coach that I’ve seen in the coaching industry.

This is really my sweet sauce; teaching people how to gag-and-go through the discomfort, in order to create the life that they want. So, be honest with yourself. Have you been in consumption mode? Do you keep taking in information, but not making any actual change?

If that’s you, you gotta invest in yourself to get out of that cycle. You want to put yourself in a room with people, where you’re learning and actually applying, where a coach is gonna hold you accountable, where they’re gonna push your toes to the edge. And get you taking action, auditing the actions you take and adapting, so you’re constantly improving. You’re not stuck in the same cycle of no development, of no progress, of no change.

If you feel stuck and confused about how to get where you want to go, that’s another great sign that it’s time for you to invest in yourself, and to work with a coach. Also, if you feel like you’ve plateaued. Maybe you’re not struggling as much as some people and things are pretty good, but you really feel like you don’t have access to that next up level.

If that’s you, time to invest and have someone push you outside of your comfort zone, and help you identify your roadblocks. So, you’re able to get to that next level of success.

Now, I want to talk about the common reasons that I see people not invest in themselves. And there are mainly seven reasons that I see come up for people. Number one, they’re afraid it’s not going to work. They don’t want to spend the money. They think that they should be able to figure it out on their own.

They think that they’re selfish for making an investment in themselves like this. They’re afraid they won’t commit to the program. They don’t want to feel exposed in front of other people. And lastly, they’re telling themselves that now isn’t a good time.

I want to explore each of these reasons in greater detail. Because if there’s one thing that you should have learned by now, if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, it’s this; your brain likes to lie to you. The primitive part of your brain is always attempting to sell you snake oil, to get you to maintain the status quo.

It wants you to seek pleasure, avoid discomfort, and conserve energy. I want to explore each of these reasons in greater detail, so you can see how your brain is telling you lies.

Investing in yourself is counterintuitive to those three agenda items: to seeking pleasure, avoiding discomfort, and conserving energy. Your brain serves you up excuses like the ones I just listed, in order to keep you stagnant. Because your brain mistakenly thinks stagnant is safe. Stagnant isn’t safe; stagnant is just stagnant, right?

I always think of like a gross, like murky pond; ick. And that’s not what you want for your life. That’s not where you want to be hanging out. You want like oceanfront real estate, not the stagnant pond, right? So, you want to be onto your brain. You want to see what it’s trying to do. You want to see how it’s trying to hold you back with some of these excuses.

Some of these reasons that might sound good or “look good on paper,” and seem really reasonable, but they’re really not good reasons to not invest in yourself. Once you realize what’s happening, you then get to interrupt this process and take intentional action, and move forward to create the results that you want.

So, let’s explore each of these reasons to not invest in yourself, and start to like, poke some holes in them and pick them apart. First things first, you might be afraid that investing in yourself won’t work, that working with a coach won’t work. All right? This is such a common defense mechanism that your brain loves to serve up to you.

It loves to jump straight into the doubt that it’s not going to work. But what I like to do is I like to break down the doubt, because ambiguity breeds anxiety. And this is a really ambiguous excuse. It’s like, okay, but Why won’t it work? Why are you afraid it won’t work? So, you want to flesh this out further.

If you’ve got this fear that investing in yourself and working with a coach won’t work, I want you to challenge yourself to figure out why you think that. Just know that your brain’s trying to protect you from the unknown. Because there is some unknown if you haven’t worked with a coach before, you haven’t worked with a particular coach before, there’s going to be a little uncertainty there. That’s normal. That’s okay.

But your brain is just trying to protect you from it, and you want to be onto that. That’s what’s going on here. So, if you’re worried that investing in yourself, making an investment like working with a coach, or joining The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, there are only three reasons it wouldn’t work.

You’re worried that I can’t help you, which I can. You’re worried that coaching doesn’t work, which it does. Or, you’re worried that you won’t follow through, which you will. All right, I am 100% in belief that this program will work for you.

Of course, you aren’t at 100% belief like me, you haven’t done it yet. That’s super normal. It’s just a decision that you have to make, feeling a little uncertain. And you can borrow my belief, in the meantime. That’s one of the amazing things that you get to do when you work with a coach. You get to borrow their belief when your belief isn’t as strong yet.

I know I can help you. I know that coaching works. And I know that you will help yourself get the results that you want. I remember the first time that I invested in working with a coach, I was so convinced that it wouldn’t work.

But I was really kind of desperate and exasperated, and I really wanted the results that they offered. So, I took a leap of faith. I didn’t think the modality would work. I didn’t think the coach’s methodology would work. I didn’t know if she could help me. I didn’t even know what I needed to do in order to help myself.

So, there was so much confusion and so much uncertainty, but I decided, for lack of a better term, to throw money at the problem, and to see if it could work. Because if it did, the slight chance, that I thought in my mind that this might work, it was worth me making the investment.

I’m so, so glad I did. That decision to invest in myself changed my life. I live a completely different life. A life that I love now because I made the initial investment. And I had to do it while feeling uncertain. I had to gag-and-go through the discomfort, through the fear of the unknown, and do it anyways. That may be what you have to do in order to invest in yourself.

I just want to offer you that you can move forward, despite some of that uncertainty. I always describe to people it’s like you feel 80% hopeful, and excited, and confident that this will work, and just 20% scared, or maybe 10% worried, or 15% nervous, right? It’s those small percentages where that discomfort lies. You just want to note it and move forward, and take intentional action, in spite of and despite it.

Another thing, if you’re worried about this investment, working with a coach joining a mastermind like mine, if you’re worried that it won’t work. The other thing that I want to offer you is that the mastermind specifically is designed to let you reenroll if you want to keep the momentum going.

So, if you’re like, “Olivia, I feel like I have so much to do, so much change to make during a six-month time period,” that’s okay. I modeled my mastermind off of the one that I’m in with my business coach. And she also allows us to reenroll, and it’s the best gift that she gives us. Because it takes the pressure off for me to have to like change my entire life, and do everything that I need to do or want to do in my business, all within six months.

I get more time to accomplish everything that I want to accomplish. So, I want to offer you that you get to do the same exact thing. And it can take the pressure off of you feeling like you need to fit everything in, all in the first six months.

We’ll make fast progress together, but you don’t have to feel pressured to squeeze it all in. I’m here to support you for as long as you have goals that you want to accomplish. All right? And when you achieve the ones that we said at the start, we’ll move on to different ones. And we’ll just keep that process going.

Also, for this concern that working with a coach won’t work. I think the better question is, do you like fear being the reason you don’t get the results you want? Because that’s really what’s happening. You can guarantee yourself more of the status quo, more of stagnation, if you don’t do anything differently; if you don’t make a change, if you don’t make an investment.

Or, you can buy yourself the probability that you will get the results. Again, I know that it’s not just probable, that it’s inevitable. But you’re not going to know that on the front end, because you haven’t done it before. And if you’re anything like I used to be, you love evidence to support your decision making ahead of time.

Again, this is just one of those things in life, you’re not going to have that evidence until you move forward and do this. But I really want you to think about it. Do you like your fear, your worry, your uncertainty, for being the reason that you don’t get the results you want? Because the only way to have a different life is to do something differently, like make this type of investment.

The second reason that I see people not invest in themselves is that they’re apprehensive about spending the money. I’d probably have to say, this is the most common reason people don’t invest. And here’s how I like to work through this reason. First, you want to get really clear on the actual data. Our brains love to tell us that we can’t afford to do something when we actually can’t afford to do it. The math actually works out.

But I like to say it’s just a knee-jerk no. We tell ourselves; it’s too expensive. I can’t do that. I don’t have the money; I can’t afford it. And then, we just shut down and don’t move forward. So, I really want to invite you to discern between what’s true and what isn’t.

Do you absolutely not have the money? Or, do you have it right now, or you have access to it, via savings or credit cards or, you know, something else, but you’re reluctant to spend it? Those are the two camps; you absolutely don’t have it, or you have it right now or have access to it.

I find that almost everyone that I meet with, that I talk to, that I work with, they fall in the latter category. They have it or they have access to the money, but they’re hesitant to spend it.

Now, if you truly don’t have it, I want to invite you to get resourceful. If you really want to work with a coach and you really want to join a program like my mastermind, I want you to tap into your own resourcefulness. How can you create the money? I once sold jewelry on eBay® to pay my bills when I was just starting my business. I was so resourceful. It’s one of the things that I talk about on the podcast a lot, how resourceful I am.

And it’s one of the things that I love and appreciate about myself the most. I also once used Upstart®, which is an online lending platform that allowed me to finance my coaching certification program, when I didn’t have the means to do it on my own.

I didn’t have the cash liquid, so I got resourceful. I was able to take advantage of a platform like that. You can do that, too. If you want to get resourceful and be inventive, and come up with different ways where you can finance an investment like this, there are a lot of different ways to do it.

But you’ve got to be able to discern what’s true and what isn’t. And tap into that resourcefulness, to search for options and different strategies that you may not have thought of originally.

Now, if you’re in the more common camp of currently having the money or having access to it in some way, but you’re reluctant to spend it, you just want to ask yourself “why,” and see if you like your reasons. Normally, people are hesitant because they’re afraid it won’t work. Which brings us back to the first reason that I talked about.

Or, you think that it’s selfish or irresponsible to invest in yourself like this. That especially comes up with a lot of parents that I work with, especially women. They really have a lot of guilt and shame around making these types of investments; I’m always fascinated by that, too.

That never happens with men that I work with. They’re just like, matter of fact about investing in themselves. They see the ROI (Return On Investment) and they have the self-concept of being people that invest in themselves, and do that in order to achieve their next level of success. So, they don’t hesitate in the same way.

It’s just something that I’ve been really fascinated by seeing. This is a generalization. I understand that not all of the women that I work with have these hesitations, but it’s just something that I commonly don’t see with the men that I work with.

And I think it’s really important to note, like, if that’s you, if you’re a woman, and you’re listening to this episode, and you feel selfish or irresponsible investing in yourself in this way, I just want to challenge you that that is a lot of societal conditioning. And you get to return those limiting beliefs about investing in yourself, anytime you want. You get to unsubscribe. You get to opt out of that line of thinking.

You get to decide that your future is worthy of investment, and that you see the ROI on making this type of expenditure. Because the results that you want to create for yourself are so worth it.

Now, if those are your reasons, whether you think it won’t work, or you think it’s selfish or irresponsible to make this kind of investment, you just want to decide if you like those reasons or not. And if you are likely to create the results that you want to create in your life, without making this kind of change, without making this kind of investment.

If you like your reasons, amazing. If you don’t, also amazing. You get to do something different, starting right now. I also think it’s helpful to think about the cost of not making an investment in yourself. I think about that all the time. I spend a lot of money working with my business coach; her group program is $25,000 every six months. Which I think is expensive, and also very worth it.

And every six months, when it comes time for me to reinvest, for me to re-enroll, I think about what will I miss out on if I don’t make that investment. If I don’t put myself in that room. If I don’t expose myself to that type of transformation, that type of growth, that type of constant education.

I know the cost, the negative impact on my business, on my bottom line, is huge. And I’m not willing to suffer that negative consequence, just in order to save extra money. So, I know that even though it is a significant investment, I will gain more in the long run. The ROI will be positive; it will be worth it for me.

I’m not willing to miss out on the benefit that comes from being in that type of environment. So, think about that. Think about what is the cost in your life, of continuing to stay the same. I’ve learned that you can keep your money and keep your problems, or you can spend your money and learn how to solve your problems yourself.

And when you invest in yourself this way, you’re gaining an education that’s going to last you a lifetime, not just for the length of whatever program that you’re investing in. So, once I started to learn this, that you can either keep your money and your problems or spend the money and solve your problems, I started choosing the latter.

I started to choose to invest. I even invested when it was a stretch for me, because it was always the best investment I could make, even when it was a stretch. And it was always the best investment because it helped me up level significantly.

An investment may sometimes be a stretch for you, that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad reason to do it. It’s just something to take into consideration. And you want to think about what might you be missing out on if you stay the same, if you maintain the status quo.

Another reason that people don’t invest in themselves is that they think they should be able to do it on their own. If you think this, if you think you should be able to build all the skills that I listed out earlier, I want you to ask yourself; why it is that you think that? What do you make it mean that you’re seeking out help to improve yourself? Really give some thought to that. What do you make it mean about your capabilities? Or, about what you’re able to do and what you’re not able to do on your own?

Can you do this on your own? Yeah, maybe you can, but it may just take you a lot longer. I also want you to consider that. Maybe you can do it on your own, but you don’t want to. That’s a big reason that I invest in coaching, especially masterminds, especially group programs. I don’t want to do it alone.

I think entrepreneurship, especially, is very lonely. I also… That’s a thought that I think about the practice of law. And you don’t have to take on that thought, that’s just my opinion. But that was really true for me when I practiced. And it’s also been true for me as I’ve started and now run my own business.

I work from home, it’s pretty isolating. I love putting myself in rooms, in containers, where I’m surrounded by other incredible people that really support me, cheer me on, push me to be my best, help me in any way that they can. It’s so incredible to be a part of a community like that.

I also want to get my results faster. And by investing, I’m able to do that and make that available to me. Honestly, though, a lot of what I’ve learned from coaching, I would have never learned otherwise. So, yeah, is there the possibility that you can do this on your own? Yes.

But there’s also the possibility that you can’t. That you’ll never learn a ton of what you’ll get out of coaching if you don’t invest in it. Like, how to manage your time, or how to stop people pleasing, or how to take action in spite of and despite your discomfort, how to develop business, or how to believe in yourself.

All of those things, you will get out of coaching. Those are things that I got out of coaching. That I needed to invest in coaching, in order to learn. I would have never learned them otherwise. There’s no shame in working with a professional to learn how to do something that no one has ever taught you to do. It’s like judging yourself for not knowing how to do calculus, or write a legal brief, when no one’s ever taught you how to do calculus, or write a legal brief.

Or it’s like judging yourself for not knowing how to ride a unicycle when you’ve never tried to do it before. So, if you’re judging yourself for wanting or needing to learn from someone else, I just want to offer you that that is optional. You can put down that judgment and unsubscribe from it right now.

I also want you to check in with yourself; how do you feel when you think that you should be able to do this on your own? That negative feeling, that’s what’s driving you to not make an investment in yourself; to not work with a coach; to not join a program that helps you create the life you want to be living.

I want you to name that feeling explicitly if this reason really resonates with you, and then ask yourself; if you like that feeling, that negative emotion, as your reason for not doing this?

Next reason is that you think making this type of investment in yourself is selfish or irresponsible. If you think that it is, I want you to ask yourself, why? Investing in yourself isn’t selfish. Not only is it self-care, it’s also a gift that you give everyone else in your life.

When you invest in yourself, the people you love get the best version of you. So, it’s a win-win. I recently had a conversation with someone who was talking about investing in herself, and whether she should spend the money on a family vacation, or in working with a coach. And we just explored this from curiosity, to say; what would the difference be? What would the value be?

And for some people, they may not have to choose between taking the vacation and investing in a coach. But other people might have to make that choice. Identify the tradeoffs and the benefits that come from the vacation, and the benefits that come from working with a coach.

The things that this woman wanted to work on with me, they were everyday things like being less frustrated, and being less resentful. Saying no more often than she says yes. Showing up more intentionally and more positively. Having boundaries and following through all of the things that would make a huge impact on her day-to-day life.

We were going to work on reducing her guilt, and her disappointment, and her frustration, and her resentment, and her overwhelm. So, she could show up feeling a lot less pressured, a lot less stressed, a lot less anxious, and feel more in control.

We discussed what would it be like in her household if she were that person? If she were living that kind of life, instead of the one that she’s been living? And then, we talked about the value of going on vacation for a week, and what would her family benefit from more.

We reached the conclusion together; that it was way more meaningful to her to be a different person day in and day out, to have a better mindset, to have a better approach to her daily life, than to go to Disney® for a week. Disney’s important, don’t get me wrong. If you are a Disney person, and you want to take your family to Disney, that’s amazing.

But it’s one week versus 365 days out of the year of having a completely different experience. And the compound effect of being that different person, of having that different mindset, of feeling so much better, and being so much more intentional on a day-to-day basis. So, she decided to move forward.

That she wanted to prioritize that this year, and then next year would be an amazing year for her to take that vacation. And how much more enjoyable it’s going to be to take that vacation, when she’s in a better frame of mind, when she’s not feeling awful.

So, if this is a reason that you have for not investing in yourself, that you think it’s selfish or irresponsible, I want you to ask yourself; how is it not selfish? How is it, actually, responsible for you to make this investment? I see making investments in myself as the most responsible, mature move that I can make.

Normally, these fears and judgments come from old conditioning that got passed down to us. And like I said earlier, you get to opt out of that anytime you want to. I’ve changed my views on this entirely. I did not come from a family of people that would work with coaches, that would make these types of investments in themselves.

But I became someone who does. So, I no longer view asking for help, or paying for help, or seeking out coaching or guidance, with any type of negative judgment or shame. Now, I look at investing in myself as like the biggest flex imaginable. So, I want to invite you that you can look at it that way, too.

Now, if one of the reasons you don’t want to invest is that you’re afraid you won’t commit. And you’re afraid that you won’t commit to the process because you’ve made commitments in the past and you haven’t stuck to them, I get it. That used to be me, too. I would make commitments and not follow through. And one of the things that you’ll learn, in working with a coach, and joining the mastermind, and being a part of this group, is how to follow through.

That’s one of the skills that we spend the most time developing. That being said, I want to offer you this, we’re going to work on building the skill set together, but you get to make a decision right now. You get to decide to be committed. That’s a choice you can make. It’s a decision that’s available to you. You can decide to show up for yourself.

I don’t bombard you with busy work, when you work with me, when you join the mastermind. You just have to show up for the calls, and apply what you learn in our sessions in your day-to-day life. I teach you how to do this in small increments, so you don’t get bombarded and overburden yourself with too much and then quit.

I used to constantly bail on my commitments, especially the ones that I made with myself, because I take on too much. That’s not how I teach. That’s not what I do with my clients. We make it really implementable. If you’re someone who constantly bails on your commitments, and you’re afraid you’re gonna bail on this one, I want to offer you that you get to decide to become a different person, today.

One day I decided to stop bailing. I recognized that I was trying to do too much all at once, and I wasn’t being present. And I made the decision to be present, to focus wholly and entirely on whatever it was that I was doing at this time. I made this decision when I went through coach training; I was torn between working on work, and working on the coach training.

And I decided, in that moment, that I was going to be all in. I decided to be committed. I decided to be decided. And I continue to practice that, with the programs that I now invest in as a client with my coaches. I choose to give my commitments my full focus. I choose to be present. I choose to show up. I choose to not bail. And that is available to you, too. So, you just have to choose to do that intentionally.

Reason number six, you’re apprehensive about being exposed in front of a group of people. Especially if you’re choosing to invest in a group coaching program, in a mastermind, like The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, where you’re with a cohort of other people. And you’re afraid about being vulnerable, about showing your imperfections, about being seen and having people know that you’re not perfect.

If you’re a perfectionist, this may be uncomfortable for you; I get it. This used to be a big fear of mine, too. I hated not having everything figured out. I hated appearing like I didn’t have it all together. And if this is you, here’s what I want you to know. Truth is the antidote to shame. I believe that fully, and I practice it in my life.

That’s one of my guiding beliefs, one of my guiding principles. So, showing up and letting yourself be seen, and being honest about what you struggle with, will transform you. The members of the mastermind are so supportive, you’re not going to be judged for being you. You’re going to be accepted, you’re going to be held, you’re going to be supported.

Also, pretending that you have everything figured out is exhausting. So, being a part of a community where you don’t have to fake it all the time is so restorative. I’ve really learned that allowing myself to be seen has been the thing that has allowed me to create the most meaningful connections.

I finally feel like people really know me. I finally feel that I am connected with other people who like me for me, and not the version of me that I like to present to the world; the polished version that has it all figured out. I also learned that I’m not alone. So, this concept that truth is the antidote to shame, by me being honest about what I struggle with, I also give permission to other people for them to do the same.

I create safety for them for them to share their struggles, and they create safety for me; for me to share mine. And that’s where that connection, where those bonds are formed, where that comes from. Also, the amazing thing about being in a group is that you can learn from other people.

So, I get that it might be a little uncomfortable for you to feel exposed and to be honest about what you struggle with. But when you’re honest about what you struggle with, and other people are honest about what they struggle with, you will learn from one another. It’s so much easier to learn lessons when you see other people get coached on things that you struggle with. I know that’s been true for me.

I have benefited so significantly from watching other people work through the same issues that I face, the same struggles that I have, because I approach their issues from a completely different perspective. So, it’s easier for me to see the lesson, and to figure things out so much more quickly than when it’s the situation I’m dealing with.

It just feels so true and unshakeable for me. So, I want to offer that to you. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing about something, you don’t have to share. You can listen and just learn from others going through similar situations. But the more you share, the more you open yourself up. The more you’ll learn, the more other people will learn. And we will support you as you do that, as you go through that process.

Now, last but not least, reason number seven, is that you think now is not the right time. This is another reason that our brains serve up to us all the time. And it seems so, so reasonable. It’s sort of like the money reason, that you’ve got to explore the truth behind this belief of yours. Normally, the ‘now isn’t the right time’ objection is just a cute excuse that our brains love to serve up to us to prevent us from changing the status quo.

So, I want you to ask yourself, if you’re telling yourself now’s not the right time for me to invest in myself; what specifically is the reason that now is not a good time? Like I said earlier, ambiguity breeds anxiety. So, you want to get clear on what the specific reason that now is not a good time, what that reason is. What will be different in the future, that makes later better? And what’s the cost of waiting?

If you can’t articulate a clear reason, with a lot of certainty, as to why later is better, then you want to be onto yourself; that’s just your brain serving you up some snake oil to get you to maintain the status quo. It’s just your brain serving you up that natural defense mechanism to seek pleasure, avoid discomfort, and conserve energy.

With the time objection, after the in-person event with the mastermind, we meet for three and a half days in Charleston, which is gonna be so amazing. Once we do that, the time investment’s just an hour a week, and you have an hour a week. Even if you feel like you don’t have one hour a week, I assure you, you do.

When I have clients do time audits, we find, all the time, that they squander all the time that goes to things where they spend time in a really unintentional way. I assure you; you have an hour to devote to your growth each week, you just have to find that time.

And finding that time starts with you believing that you do, in fact, have it. If you believe you do, you’ll be able to find it. Now, my rule of thumb here, is that if you cannot clearly articulate why later is better, and you’re relying on hope that things will calm down in the future, or that more money will randomly become available to you, I want to offer you that hope is not a good strategy.

I always tell people, “Don’t let fear, guilt, or hope be the reason that you make a decision, or that you don’t make a decision.” They’re just not solid reasons. You want to have a much stronger conviction, a much stronger incentive or reason for the decision that you make.

I also want you to ask yourself; how will things be calmer in the future? You should have a clear plan of how you’re going to create calm, if you’re telling yourself that now’s not the right time, and that things will be calmer in the future. You want to make sure that you specifically understand how you’re going to create calm, how you’re going to get there.

If you don’t have a clear plan, this again, is your brain lying to you. Trying to protect you from making a change. Just be onto yourself. Also, if you don’t have a plan to create calm, that’s one of the things that you’ll learn how to do when you work with a coach. Like I said earlier, I teach people how to simplify their lives, how to constrain, how to make decisions ahead of time, how to make their lives more effortless and more seamless.

So, if that’s one of the things you want to accomplish, it may be time to make an investment in yourself so you can learn that skill set. Now, lastly, I just want you to ask yourself the opposite question. Your brain’s so sold on telling you that now is not the right time, right?

So, I just want you to ask yourself the opposite question; how is right now the best time? Ask yourself that question and see what comes up. What reasons does your brain offer up to you when you give it a better question to answer? You’ve probably heard me say before, “If you want better answers, you’ve got to ask better questions.” So, instead of asking yourself; why is right now not the right time? Ask yourself; why is right now the best time? And, see what your brain serves up to you.

Ultimately, you get to choose to wait if you want to. You just want to know exactly what your reasons are for waiting, and be sure that you like them.

Alright, my friends. Those are the seven reasons that people refrain and hesitate from moving forward, and investing in themselves, and working with a coach. If you are interested in creating a life on your terms, a life that you love, a life that you’re obsessed with.

If you want to master the skills that I outlined in the beginning of this episode, but you’re on the fence about whether or not to work with someone. Whether or not to invest in yourself. Whether or not to join a program, like The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, you want to think through what are the reasons to do it?

What are the reasons to not do it, and are your reasons just excuses your brain’s serving up to you to try and maintain the status quo? To keep you stagnant, not safe? And to get you seeking pleasure, avoiding discomfort, and conserving energy?

If those are your reasons, and you don’t like them, you get to interrupt this process, and make an intentional decision to make yourself your top priority. To invest in yourself in order to create the life you want to be living.

I also want to offer you this, you do not need to work with me. I would love to be your coach, and I would love to do this work with you, together, to get you from where you are to where you want to go. But if there is someone else that you think is more aligned to help you with the specific things that you’re struggling with, invest in working with them. All right?

Investing in the person that you feel can best support you to create the result that you’re craving, the results that you want in your life. I hope that you become someone who sees themselves as being worthy of investment. As someone who has a future that is worthy of investing in, because you are worthy of investment. Your future is worth investing in. And you get to start investing, right now.

I can’t wait to see what becomes possible for you when you do. If you want to invest in working with me, if you want to make sure you’re with me in February, inside The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind in Charleston for the three-and-a-half-day retreat, and then six months of coaching, growth, mentorship, and community.

Inside the Mastermind, after the live event; go to TheLessStressLawyer.com/mastermind and join now. I would love to have you inside; spots are limited, so don’t wait to enroll. The next cohort is already coming together. So, make sure you’re in it.

Join me in February. Join us in the Mastermind. You will be so grateful you did; your future self will thank you.

All right, my friends. That’s what I have for you this week. I hope you have a beautiful week. I will 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.

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Episode 35: The Impact of Coaching

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | The Impact of Coaching

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | The Impact of Coaching

One of the things I do with my clients is use examples from my personal life to teach the coaching concepts that have changed my life that will change theirs. Taking these teachings out of the hypothetical and seeing how they work in practice is so powerful, so that’s what we’re doing in today’s episode. I’m directly demonstrating the impact of coaching.

What I’ve found is that some people are interested in coaching one on one or joining my mastermind, but they’re hesitant because they’re not crystal clear on what coaching is, the impact it can have, and what results they’ll get from the experience. So, if you like what you’re hearing but you’re not sure if coaching is for you, listen closely.

Tune in this week to discover the true impact of coaching. I’m sharing stories from my personal life since I began on this coaching journey, and contrasting these experiences with how I’d have dealt with those circumstances if I didn’t have these coaching tools.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

I have a few masterclasses planned for the remainder of 2022! November 29th is all about how to be confident. And December 16th, we’re going to work on setting the pace for 2023 by learning to stop tolerating the parts of your life you don’t love. All of the masterclasses are at noon Eastern Time, so mark your calendars.

If you enjoyed today’s show, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The overall impact that coaching has had on my life and my clients’ lives.
  • How I use coaching tools to navigate everyday life situations with more intention.
  • Some of the ways I would have reacted to uncomfortable situations before I found coaching.
  • Why there is no benefit that comes from bullying yourself.
  • The importance of learning to gag-and-go through discomfort, negative thoughts, and anxiousness.
  • How coaching helps you dial down the guilt and worry you feel when you stop people-pleasing and worrying about everybody else’s opinion of you.
  • Some of those life-happens moments that, without coaching, could be considered a real nightmare.
  • Why coaching tools aren’t about being positive all the time, and what they’re really about.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 35. We’re talking all about the impact of coaching. 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.

Hello, how are you? Hope your week’s going well. Mine is off to an amazing start. Early enrollment for the next round of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind just opened and people have been sending in their applications. I just sent out the first batch of acceptance emails, and I can’t wait to welcome the next class of the mastermind. It’s going to be so amazing.

We’re gonna meet in Charleston to kick off the mastermind with a three-and-a-half-day live event. I’m just so excited to see everyone that’s gonna be in the mastermind in person. I just can’t wait for that, it’s probably my favorite part of the entire six-month group program. So, I’m excited to see the returning people. I’m excited to see the new faces and get to know everyone better. I just can’t wait.

That’s what’s been going on in my neck of the woods. Speaking of the mastermind, that is one of the reasons that I’m picking today’s topic, to talk about the impact of coaching. One of the things that I do with my clients in our sessions is that I use a bunch of examples from my personal life. In order to teach the coaching concepts that I teach. I find that people really learn by example, I know I do. So, I use a lot of examples of my coaching.

I will also use examples from other clients, anonymously of course. If it’s a one-on-one session and I’m talking about an experience that a different client of mine had, I keep it anonymous. But I love to share example because you get to see what it looks like in practice. We take it out of the hypothetical, and we get to see exactly how it works, what people struggle with, what people go through, how they overcome it.

And then, we can take what we learned from the example and apply it in our own lives, with all that really good context. Now, I’ve had a bunch of people over the years who are interested in working with me. Whether they want to work with me one-on-one or they want to join the mastermind, they’re interested in working with me, but they’re a little hesitant. Because they’re not quite crystal clear what exactly they’ll get out of coaching. They’re not quite sure, on the results.

So, I wanted to use some examples from my own life, to show you the results I’ve gotten through coaching. And obviously, there’s like the big picture example, right? Through coaching, I changed careers. I took the risk of starting my own business, even though I still don’t feel like it was much of a risk because I really believed in myself.

But I was able to do all of that, and not people-please family members and deal with feeling misunderstood, all those big things, because I had found coaching, and I knew how to navigate those emotional situations. But today, I want to talk about the more common everyday scenarios that I encounter. I’m able to use the coaching tools that I’ve mastered, the same tools that I teach to my clients.

I want to explain to you how I use them, in order to navigate those everyday life situations. In order to have a completely different experience in the world. A much more positive experience, a much more grounded experience, a much more intentional experience. Okay, so let’s dive in.

I’m gonna start with two recent scenarios, that actually happened just in the last week. So, the first one, is that someone reached out to me and asked me to write an article for a legal publication. And of course, super honored, I was so excited to say yes. So, as soon as I agreed to do it, I added the item to my to-do list.

That’s my rule, as soon as the need arises, the task goes on my to-do list. I talked about that in the time management series. I have one to-do list, and all of the tasks that I need to complete go on it. So, when I review my to-do list, I see it and I can add it to my calendar. Like, the time that I’m actually going to be writing the article. So, that’s what I did here.

I received the assignment before I went on my three-week trip, traveling all over the world. And I put the item on my to-do list, but I didn’t add it to my calendar, the actual writing time, yet, because I wasn’t sure when I was going to do it. So, I wanted to wait until I got closer to the deadline to add it to my calendar. And, that doesn’t present a problem for me. I am so intimately acquainted with my to-do list and my calendar, I check them both every day, sometimes multiple times a day.

So, if it’s on my to-do list, it’s not going to get missed. I wanted to wait until after I got back from my trip, when I had a better sense of what was on my plate, so I could calendar the task. When I was going to sit down and actually write the article, and be really realistic about it rather than reshuffling it around.

I finally reviewed my to-do list, the week of, and I found the chunk of time that I was going to write this article. I chose to write it on Thursday night; that’s when I had a decent chunk of time and I put it on my calendar and made the plan. Now, come Thursday, I had a full day of calls and then intended to write the article in the evening.

But the following day, on Friday, I had scheduled a branding photoshoot with my photographer to get some new photos for my website, for the mastermind launch, and for my social media accounts. And there were several things that I needed to do, in order to prep for the photoshoot. I underestimated the amount of time that it was going to take me to do them.

So, I hadn’t built that into my Thursday night game plan. And because that was pressing, I had to be somewhere, I ended up prioritizing those items. I didn’t, at any point in the day, check back in with my calendar. After I got started on the photoshoot prep, it was already pretty early in the evening. I didn’t check back in with my calendar to see that chunk of time.

Now, this is pretty uncharacteristic for me. I was just spinning too many plates; I had a little too much on my list for the day. So, my day was overly full. And like I talked about in the time management series, sometimes that happens, right? Sometimes you plan inaccurately and when you do that you need to go back, analyze what happened, evaluate, and make changes. Which I definitely did with this instance.

So, I didn’t write the article Thursday night. And then the next morning, I got up, prepped for the photo shoot, went to the photo shoot, and my day was like off to the races. And there was no other reminder or alert on my calendar about writing the article. It was still on my to-do list, but I knew I had the photo shoot for the day.

There was really no other point for me to check in with my to-do list that day. So, I went about the day. And again, it just completely slipped my mind. Now, I wake up Saturday morning, and the first thing, literally as soon as I opened my eyes, it dawns on me, “Oh my god. I didn’t write this article that was due on Friday.” And of course, like my stomach dropped. I was like, “Oh shit. Oh, no, this is not good,” right?

I took a deep breath, I grabbed my laptop, and I didn’t even get out of bed. I just open up my laptop and I cranked out the article. Like I said, I had it outlined already. I had done the prep work for it. I really just needed to write it. It wasn’t very long; it didn’t take me a long time to finish it. But I definitely had some negative thoughts about not having turned it in on Friday.

Now, without coaching, I could have had a fun time, I’m being super facetious here, I could have had a lot of fun going down a shame spiral. Really beating myself up, telling myself how unreliable I am. And that, how could you forget? And being really, really mean to myself about this. And feeling embarrassed. And I could have like apologized endlessly, over and over again, to the person who had asked me to write the article. All these things that I would have done, had it not been for coaching.

But because of coaching, I didn’t beat myself up. Instead, this is how I talked to myself: I acknowledged that I am a human, who was imperfect sometimes. Then I evaluated, I took full responsibility. I didn’t blame anything other than myself. But really not from a negative place of blame, just from taking ownership that I had created this result. And I asked myself, “How did I create this result?” From evaluating, I could figure out what didn’t work.

One of the things that didn’t work, is that I should, or could have, also calendared the deadline for a separate day as an extra reminder. I also, like I said, I didn’t check in with my to-do list the day of the photoshoot. Because I thought my day was already planned perfectly, to a tee, so that there was no reason to check it that morning.

So, those are two things that I could do differently going forward. I could calendar the deadline, too. Not just the time that I’m going to be working on the task, so I have security system, like an extra reminder. I could also make sure, no matter what, when I wake up in the morning, I default check my to-do list. Not just my calendar, but also my to-do list; just scan through it one time to make sure I’m not missing anything.

Now, another thing that I probably would have done pre-coaching, is that I would have avoided the task more. I would have felt really embarrassed. I would have felt really guilty. And I would have procrastinated, rather than just grabbing my computer immediately and starting on it.

Getting it done as soon as possible, and sending it off. I would have agonized while procrastinating. It would have been miserable, and I would have been a bundle of anxiety. Not a fun experience. But that’s probably what it would have looked like in practice.

Instead, I got right to work. I typed up the article, I edited it, and I sent it off. And guess what? It wasn’t a problem. The person was so lovely. They read through it, they edited it, and sent it back to me this weekend. And now, I get to review the final changes, and it’s gonna get published. Everything worked out perfectly.

If you make mistakes like this, too. If you have imperfections, and you forget something, by an honest mistake. Instead of beating yourself up, through using the coaching tools that I teach, learning that no benefit comes from bullying yourself, that it’s only going to lead to more negative things.

And learning how to gag-and-go through the discomfort of feeling that guilt, of feeling that anxiousness, you can finish the task and send it off, and shorten the amount of time that something’s late, rather than elongating it. So, that’s the first example that’s happened recently.

Another example, is that I recently went out to… I’ve got like a hole-in-the-wall bar that I go to sometimes, for a burger and a beer. Especially if it’s been like a long week, and I’m pretty tired, I’ll just go up there and get a quick bite to eat, and then come home and call it an early night.

So, I did that the other day. And when I went in there, I had a couple people, a couple guys, come up to me while I was there, and kind of try hitting on me and offered to buy me a drink. Because I’ve really cut back on my drinking, I really didn’t want any extra alcohol; I went up there to have a cheeseburger and a beer. And, that’s all I wanted to drink. I was really clear on that.

I was also working while I was there. I was on my phone, I was doing things on social media, specifically for the mastermind launch. So, they were really time sensitive, and I had no interest in being bothered. Now, had this happened before I found coaching, I would have people-pleased.

These guys would have come up to me, and probably, it wouldn’t even be plural. Because the first person would have come up to me and I would have engaged in a conversation with them. Even though I really didn’t want to be in a conversation with them.

I would have probably accepted the drink, and drank it to not be rude, to avoid having them think that I was impolite. I would have consumed more alcohol than I would have wanted to, out of that like guilt or fear that someone was going to be offended by my decision to turn down their offer. I would have talked to them, because I wouldn’t want to be rude and dismissive, all of those things.

And instead, I didn’t do that. People came up to me, one by one. And as much as like, I’m flattered that they thought I was attractive, and they told me so. They came up and wanted to chat. Like, that’s all lovely. I don’t need to be rude to anyone, and I’m not mad that they came up to me.

But I simply just didn’t want to engage in a conversation. So, when they came up, and they asked me if I was there alone, I didn’t lie, because I also don’t like lying. I can just own the fact that I’m by myself. I very expressly and directly said, “Yes, I am here by myself, and I want to be.”

A couple of them kind of like leaned their head sideways, and they’re like, “Oh, really?” And I was like, “Yep, I’m here just to grab a bite to eat and have a beer, and want to get some work done. So, thanks so much for the drink offer. I’m all set. I hope you have a great night.”

They were a little surprised that I turned down the drink. I think a lot of people aren’t used to being told no like that. But I didn’t have to be rude. I didn’t have to tell anyone to go screw themselves. It wasn’t like that at all. But I was so confident, and assured, and comfortable with me meeting my own needs. And me, taking care of myself in this moment.

And setting a boundary, that I didn’t want to drink more than I had already planned to drink. That I didn’t want to have a conversation that I didn’t want to have. Right? That I wasn’t going to do either of those things. So, I really owned it, and was just very direct and very honest. Again, not rude, but I did not beat around the bush. I resisted the urge to people-please.

So, if you’re a people-pleaser, and you find yourself in conversations you don’t want to be in, because you’re afraid to have people think that you’re rude, or impolite, or inconsiderate, coaching will really help you with this. It helps you dial down the guilt you feel, dial down the worry you feel. You will learn to allow yourself to feel misunderstood by other people. You care so much less about other people’s opinions of you because you like yourself and you have a strong opinion of you.

I have such a strong opinion of myself, not a hubristic opinion of myself, but I really like me, and I’m very certain about the decisions I make for myself. I love my reasons for making them. I loved my reasons for saying no, when people wanted to approach me and engage me in a conversation I didn’t want to have. So, I honored that decision because I knew my reasons, and I liked them.

Again, if this is you, if you’re used to people-pleasing and doing things you don’t want to do, coaching is the solution for that. Speaking of people-pleasing, another thing that I recently encountered, it was actually about my trip to Italy, that I just got back from.

When I originally agreed to go on that trip, I planned to go on it with a really good friend of mine. I talked to her about this already. She knows that I’m going to talk about this situation on the podcast. We had discussed it, in my last night in Italy, that I wanted to mention it on the podcast because it’s such a good example of not people-pleasing.

So, I agreed to go on this trip, and it was supposed to just be me and her, and we were going to spend two weeks in Europe. We were going to spend a week in France, and a week in Italy. And later on, probably several months, after we originally decided to go on a trip together to celebrate her 40th birthday, she let me know that her sister was interested in going.

I’d only met her sister I think one time, but I was all for it. Her sister’s really great, super sweet. And then, I later learned that her sister’s roommate also wanted to go. So, now there were four women going. I was totally fine with that; more the merrier.

But the one thing that I communicated, was that it would be my preference to have separate rooms, if possible. And at the very minimum, for everyone to have a separate bed. Or, at the very least, for me to have a separate bed, because they get to do whatever they want to do. But I didn’t want to share a bed with anyone.

When I communicated my preferences, there were no problems. My friend was like, “Not a problem. Love it. Got it. Good.” But as we got closer to the departure date, and we started making the final arrangements, my friend sent out an email with suggestions on where we should stay. And in her email, what I noticed, was she had circulated several options for Airbnbs® instead of hotels.

In a lot of the places that we were going to be staying, we would be sharing beds. Now, nothing against Airbnbs, I’m all for them; they’re lovely. But I’m a little bit of a hotel snob. I love a hotel. I love room service. I love a concierge. I love that someone comes and tidies my room every day, and makes the bed, and maybe they do turn down service, depending on where you’re staying.

I really love a five-star luxury hotel experience. It’s just like an extra little pampering that really makes it feel like a vacation for me. I love an amazing hotel robe. I am on like a consistent quest to find the places with the best hotel robes. So clearly, I love a hotel. Now, when I saw this list, I was like oh, that’s not what I wanted to do, the Airbnbs and the shared beds, right?

Now, instead of getting upset and sending off a sassy email back, I took a deep breath. I recognized that all that was happening, at that point in time, was that my friend was asking for input on the suggestions that she had circulated. So, that’s exactly what I did, I gave my input.

So, I responded. I was really direct, and said, “Hey, I’m a hotel girl. My vote is for us to stay in hotels in every city that we stay in. And you already know where I stand on no shared beds. So, that’s what gets my vote.” I also included that I understood that that would probably be more costly, and that that was my preference; to spend more money to have that type of travel experience.

Several days later, I learned that the group had voted, kind of behind the scenes, I wasn’t really privy to those conversations. But the group had voted, and they wanted to do several Airbnbs. There was a little bit of a compromise, some hotels, but mostly Airbnbs. And again, there would still be shared beds in some of the places that we stayed.

Now, prior to coaching, I probably would have been pretty disgusted. And I would have gotten really frustrated, and either been passive aggressive, or confrontational. That wouldn’t have been good. Also, prior to coaching, I would have been pissed about it. But I also would have people-pleased. I wouldn’t have communicated my preferences.

I would have agreed to go on it, because I wouldn’t have wanted to be “ridiculous” by honoring my own preferences, my own wishes for the trip. So, I would have people-pleased, and then I would have gone and been super resentful, like the whole trip.

Every time something happened that wasn’t to my liking, it would have fed into this narrative; that I didn’t get to pick. That I was right, we should have done it my way. And, this was awful. I can’t believe I’m spending all this money to be in Europe for several weeks, and I’m doing it this way, in the way that I didn’t want to. I would have had this victim narrative about; this was happening to me, and I didn’t get a say. I can’t believe that they chose this, and how unfair. This wasn’t what I agreed to, yadda yadda yadda.

But because I have found coaching, and I live and breathe these tools that I teach, I didn’t do that. I took a deep breath, I got myself to clean space, and I recognized the only person in this scenario that I could control was me. So, I asked myself, “What do you want to do?” And my honest answer, was that I did not want to travel with them. I didn’t want to stay with them. I didn’t want to stay in the Airbnbs. I didn’t want to share beds.

I felt like there was this conflict between the way I wanted to do the trip, and the way they wanted to do the trip. I was clearly more comfortable spending a lot more money on lodging than they were. And, that’s okay. Now, I decided at this point, that I was going to politely back out from going on the trip. And when I reached that decision, I had a ton of resistance to it. Because I’m a human, and my brain immediately went in to protection mode.

It was afraid that I’m going to risk my relationship with my really good friend, because I agreed to go on this trip. And now, their trip was going to be a little bit more expensive. Even though they were doing it like the less expensive way, by staying where they were staying. But it was still going to be more expensive because they would be splitting things three ways, not four ways anymore.

So, I thought about all of that. And I was like, “Is it worth it? Can I just suck it up?” Right? I still… I’m a human, I had that urge to people-please. But again, I grounded myself. I recognized that there was no scenario in which I go on the trip, and have an amazing time staying where we were going to stay, how we were going to stay.

That wasn’t a realistic option. I know me, that wasn’t going to happen. So, the only two real options were to people-please, and go and be miserable. Or, to not people-please and do the trip my way. So, I decided to gag-and-go through my worry. I felt worried that my friend wouldn’t handle it well. I love her. I expected her to be pretty good with it. But like, you never know when you back out on something, how someone’s going to take it.

So, I was hopeful, but not completely certain that it would go over well. But I decided to politely back out of the trip. Now, as a consolation, this is what I was willing to offer. I told her that it felt like there was conflict between the two ways we wanted to travel. Between the experience of really decadent travel and things being affordable; it felt like there was a conflict there.

I felt like I was the only one pushing in the comfort direction. I wanted to make things easier. And that the trip was different than the one I had agreed to go on. So, for those reasons, and to avoid having a bad experience, actually on the trip, I was going to politely decline and not go with them.

But I added that I was willing to meet them in Rome. I wouldn’t stay with them. I’d come for the second half of the trip, the Italy portion of the trip. And I would stay in my own hotels, in my own rooms where I wanted to stay, in the types of hotels that I wanted to stay at. And we could meet up for lunch, dinner, seeing the city, all of that stuff.

I also knew we were going to go to the Amalfi Coast. I’ve been there before; it’s very hard to get around. And I wanted to stay in a particular location close to the beach, because of all the stairs there. And I also didn’t want to share rooms there. So, I was gonna stay by myself there, as well.

Now, prior to coaching, I would have been afraid of people thinking that I was ridiculous, and just too over the top, that I wasn’t being fair. I would have had so many fears around communicating my preference. But because I have these tools, I chose to honor what I knew I wanted to do.

I still really did want to go to Italy, and I wanted to be with my friends. I wanted to spend time with them. I wanted to go to dinners together, I knew that would be so much fun. And by doing the trip my way, it would enable me to show up as my best self; not resentful, not annoyed, not frustrated, not righteous, right? I’d get to show up and have fun and be delighted. And, that’s exactly what happened.

So, I told my friend how I was going to do the trip. And she was like, I totally understand; she was amazing. She handled it so well. And, that’s what I ended up doing. I stayed in super luxurious places. I had my space all to myself. So, I had plenty of alone time to decompress, to recharge my batteries. I was able to show up and have so much fun with the three girls that I met there.

We laughed, just completely laughed our asses off at dinner every day. Had so much fun bopping around the different cities. I got to really show them Rome, which was so much fun. I’ve been there several times, so I was able to kind of be like a little tour guide for them; that was amazing.

I was actually able to spend more time in Rome, which was really important to me. Because I went there earlier than they were going to get in, coming from France. So, everyone had the best of both worlds. The only reason people were able to have the best of both worlds, is because I have learned the skill set of how to be honest with myself about what I want.

I’ve also learned the skill set of how to provide that to myself and not compromise it. That is what I have gotten out of coaching. That, on a consistent basis, creates you living a life on your terms. A life you enjoy. A life you prefer.

If you are not living a life you prefer, if you are people-pleasing instead, and you are constantly doing shit you hate and feeling resentful about it, it is time to get coached. It is time to learn the tools that I teach my clients every day, so you stop doing that. So, you can live a much more enjoyable life. And so, other people can experience a better version of you.

Because, you know what none of my friends wanted? They didn’t want to be on vacation with a resentful, bitchy Olivia. That’s not fun for anyone. So, if you’re people-pleasing, you’re probably not showing up as the best version of yourself.

You’re doing things because you feel like you should do them. You’re doing things out of guilt or out of fear. And then, you’re probably not showing up as your most fabulous self. You’re probably showing up frustrated, and annoyed, and resentful, and super righteous. And, no one likes that. It’s not fun for anyone.

You’re not doing people any favors when you people-please. If you’re a people-pleaser, it’s time to figure out how to stop. And I promise you, the way to figure out how to stop is to get coaching.

All right now let’s switch gears a little bit. I want to talk about a couple like life happens moments that I think a lot of people, without these coaching tools, would like really lose their shit over. The first one, is when I was in New York, before I went to Italy.

I love how recent all these examples are. It’s like, so the point of this podcast episode. It’s that I use these tools every single day in my life, and they make a monumental difference. What’s really wild to think about is like, think of the compound effect of this.

If every single day, I’m using these tools to create a completely different experience for myself, think about the opposite. If in every single one of the instances, that I’m talking to you about, I was in victim mode, and I was angry, and frustrated, and reactionary, and doing really awful things that don’t serve me.

The compound effect of that, versus the compound effect of being able to manage my mind, manage my emotional experience, and manage what I do and don’t do. It’s just incredible. It’s like a completely different life. All right. So, when I was in New York, I met my friend Shari, for lunch. I was so excited to get to meet her in person. We became friends through the pandemic, really good friends.

I met her for lunch on my last day in New York, before I was going to catch my flight to Rome. I took a Lyft from my hotel to meet her where we were meeting for lunch. I got stuck in quite a bit of traffic on Madison Avenue, so while I was in the back of the Lyft, I was going through my purse, kind of getting organized, getting some things situated.

And then, we finally, after like being super late because of traffic… And just a side note there, I am not normally ever late because of traffic. Old me used to be there’s another benefit of coaching, is that I know how to manage my time. So, I plan for traffic when I’m making plans and thinking about my commute time.

But I’m not used to New York City traffic, so I had typed in on my map’s app the evening before how long it should take me to get to the restaurant. And then, I just didn’t know that there would be way more traffic the next day. So, lesson learned, that it doesn’t take 15 minutes to get from my hotel to the restaurant that I was meeting her at during the day. It takes like 30 minutes, or 25, whatever.

Anyways, I was running behind because of traffic and I was in a hurry. I felt bad that she was waiting for me, even though she was so lovely about it. I was just really upset that someone was waiting. I don’t like to make people wait; I really love to respect people’s time. Again, another amazing consequence of coaching.

And when I finally got in front of the restaurant, I was like so excited to finally be there, that I jumped out of the Lyft and went, ran up to her and said hi, big hugs, all of those things. We had the most amazing lunch together. Finally, after like several hours of talking about all the things, we hugged goodbye. I left her, I jumped in another Lyft, went back to my hotel, picked up my bags, and got into another car and headed to JFK.

Now, it was Friday evening, and the ride to JFK was like an hour and a half, in traffic. I had budgeted a perfect amount of time. I was actually going to be at the airport even a little bit earlier than I normally am. But I wanted to give myself plenty of room because of the traffic, and I had talked to Shari about how long it might take, so I’d planned appropriately.

When I get to the airport, I go to check my suitcases; I was traveling for three weeks, by the way, don’t judge me for the two suitcases. I go to check my two suitcases at the curb. And it’s always my preference, to check at the curb, if I can. So, I go up to the gentleman who was checking the bags and he says, “Ma’am, your bag’s overweight.”

Most of the time now I fly first class, but because I’m not a millionaire yet; working on it, but not quite. I’m not gonna splurge for the DELTA ONE first class luxury experience yet, to fly to Europe. So, I didn’t qualify for my bag to be free when it was overweight. Which ultimately, for the story, is like a huge blessing in disguise.

Anyways, the gentleman tells me, “Ma’am, you owe $100 for your suitcase.” I asked him, I was like, “Oh, it shouldn’t be. I thought I had, you know, priority,” and turns out I didn’t; not for it being overweight. If it was underweight would have been fine. Anyways, I digress.

So, I go to hand him cash; I had a bunch of cash on me. he’s like, “Oh, I’m sorry, we don’t take cash out here.” So, I go in my purse, and I go to grab my wallet, in order to pay with a card. And as soon as I started looking for my wallet, my stomach drops. And you know when you just know in those moments, like just hits you immediately. I knew exactly where my wallet was, and it was not in my purse.

It was in the Lyft that I had taken to meet Shari for lunch. So, I’m like, oh, my God, this is a horrible, what am I going to do? So, the gentleman, who is trying to check my bags for me, he’s like, “Oh, is it in the Lyft or the Uber that you just got dropped off in? Just call the guy back, he can just turn right around.” I’m like, “Oh, it’s in a Lyft, alright, but not the one that just dropped me off.”

So, I took a deep breath, and rather than panic and freak out, and indulge in self-pity, and feel sorry for myself, I took a deep breath and I got resourceful. I immediately went into the Lyft app on my phone, and I tried to track down the driver who had dropped me off. I was able to contact him, and I bribed him to come to JFK, to drive the extra hour and a half to come see me with my wallet.

He had my wallet, which is amazing. I offered to pay him whatever he wanted, in order to come bring it to me. And he, there was a little bit of a language barrier, and he was like, “I’ll come tomorrow.” And I was like, “No, no, you have to come tonight.” So, he was gracious enough and offered to come that night.

I get off the phone with him, and I’m like, alright, now what are we going to do? I knew, by that point, because it had just taken me an hour and a half to get from downtown Manhattan to JFK in traffic, that it was going to take him an hour and a half. And if that was the case, there was essentially no way for me to make my flight.

It would have been like; I had an hour and a half just before the plane was like leaving. And that wasn’t gonna work, right? Because I would still have to check my bags, go through security. JFK is huge, so it would take me a while to get to the gate. I just knew, in that moment, that that was not going to happen; no matter how fast he drove, no matter how tight the timing was, I wasn’t going to make my next flight.

Now, I also could not go up to the Delta counter and ask them to change my flight for me, because the next ticket would have been more expensive than the one I originally paid for. And, guess what? I didn’t have any credit cards on me, so I wouldn’t have been able to pay the difference. And I highly doubt they were just gonna like, be like, yeah, we’ve got you on the honor system; not gonna work.

So, what were my options? First thing’s first, I really didn’t think that there would be another evening flight from JFK to Rome, flying direct, and I was really hoping to avoid a layover. I didn’t think there’d be another flight offered that evening direct to Rome. But I searched for it just to be sure.

And lo and behold, there was another flight that evening. I was flying out at night already, like 7:30. But there was another direct flight to Rome on an Italian airlines plane, and they’re affiliated with Delta, so that worked. I was absolutely blown away; I was so excited.

The problem was, because I didn’t have a credit card, I needed to just buy another ticket, like a brand-new ticket. So, that’s what I did. Thankfully, I have Apple Pay. Like my cards are stored in my phones, so I was able to purchase just an entire new ticket through my phone.

Now, it was not an inexpensive ticket. It was way more than my original ticket. And I could have been really furious about having to pay more, but I wasn’t furious about having to pay more. I was delighted to pay more. I also recognized that my other option was to wait and not leave for Italy that night, and to spend the night near JFK. And like, that sounded terrible.

So, those were my two options. I could spend the night at JFK, or I could pay extra 1,000s of dollars, that had this not happened, I wouldn’t have had to spend. Those were my two choices to make. I chose to buy the ticket.

I chose to buy the ticket, not begrudgingly, I was truly thrilled. I was so grateful. I was so excited that everything was working out. This was like the best-case scenario. And I remember thinking for a split second, that I kind of wished it would have happened, I would have like realized I didn’t have my wallet once I got to Italy, so I could have just gotten on the flight and avoided all of that.

But that’s crazy, because I wouldn’t have been able to check into hotels that I had reservations at, so thank goodness this happened exactly the way that it did. Thank goodness, that I checked a bag, and I wasn’t flying DELTA ONE, so I had to pay for it by card; that’s the only reason I realized that I didn’t have my wallet.

Thank goodness, there was another direct flight to Rome; that’s amazing. Thank goodness, I also have my credit card number memorized. But I didn’t even need to use that because it was already stored in my phone. And thank goodness, I am successful enough to have the ability, I’m so grateful for this, to have the ability to spend 1,000s of extra dollars on a plane ticket, and not worry about it.

Just to be able to make that purchase immediately, not think twice, and get it done. And then, have the peace of mind that I was just going to end up in Rome, like two hours later than I otherwise would have, had I made my original flight. And then, once I booked my new flight, I just sat patiently and waited for the wonderfully generous man to come bring me my wallet. I paid him when he asked me to pay him. I was so delighted to do that, as well. And, this situation really couldn’t have gone any better.

Now, had I not had coaching tools to help me navigate the situation, what would this have looked like? For a lot of people, it would have looked like thinking; I can’t believe this happened to me. This is so unfair. I hate traveling. Traveling’s so hard. This is the worst. Nothing ever goes well, for me. This is ruining my trip. I’m not going to be able to have a good time, now. Everything’s ruined. This is so unfair.

They would have shut down. They wouldn’t have gotten resourceful; they wouldn’t have figured it out. They would have just felt sorry for themselves, and really spun in indecision, and the overwhelm, the confusion, about what to do in this situation.

Or, if they did figure it out, they would have been in a super negative mindset about spending the money, about thinking that they shouldn’t have to spend the money; just being so pissed. And then, they would have let that ruin their vacation, the entire time.

Or, I’ve seen people just like, pack it in and give up. Like, I guess I wasn’t supposed to go on this trip. Oh, well. Maybe they would have canceled entirely and just gone home. I’ve seen people do that before. It’s bananas crazy to me. But people do that. Because they’re feeling sorry for themselves. Because they’re in that state of victimhood.

But that wasn’t me. I was having a great time, because I have tools like this to help me manage my mind. I know that how I feel is caused by what I think. And therefore, I don’t think negative thoughts in situations like this. I think really positive thoughts. I think about how it’s working in my favor, and things are going well, and how lucky I am, and how fortunate I was.

I was able to take really swift, calm, intentional action. Because my mind was managed as I was going through this scenario. So, the lost wallet was no big deal. Even if it had worked out poorly, I would have figured it out. Like, would have been a little bit more disappointed? Yeah, of course. If I wasn’t able to recover my wallet, it definitely would have impacted my trip more. But this was like the best-case scenario under the circumstances. And, I treated it as such.

Another recent example of life’s inconveniences, is that every year… I don’t know if this happens to any of you, but every year I have a heat sensor on my furnace, and I don’t know, there’s like this residue that gets built up on a heat sensor. And it causes your furnace to cycle on and off, on and off, on and off, repeatedly. So, it’s hard to keep your house warm when that happens, because the furnace wants to turn on but then it shuts off, because of this heat sensor not working.

Now, every year I call a heating and cooling company to come out, and I ask them to replace the heat sensor. And every year they tell me that it’s not necessary to replace the heat sensor, that it just needs to be cleaned. So, after a couple of years of this, I learned that this was what the problem was, and I learned how to clean it myself.

Now, the last year, I guess just last year, I tried to clean it myself and it didn’t work. I either didn’t clean it well enough or whatever, but I wasn’t able to get it to stop cycling on and off. So, I called the heating and cooling company, again, told them, “I need you to replace it.” And they were like, “You probably don’t, we just have to clean it.”

So, the guy came out and he cleaned it for me, and sure enough, it worked again. He just told me that I wasn’t rough enough with the abrasive material that you have to clean it with. So, this year, at the start of the year, this is like a week ago, I noticed that my furnace was cycling on and off.

I went downstairs and I opened it up. I went to clean up the heat sensor, and sure enough, I break the heat sensor because I was extra rough and they’re quite brittle. When you break the heat sensor, your furnace will not work. It tries to turn on and literally nothing happens; it won’t turn on at all.

So, when this happens, your furnace is essentially broken until you call someone out to replace the heat sensor. Which under this scenario, at least I get a new one now. But this is a really great example of everyday stuff that just doesn’t go in your favor. Right?

Life happens, shit happens. One of my coaches, Brooke Castillo, she says that everything in life is 50/50; 50% good, 50% ass. And when you break your heat sensor, or you lose your wallet in a Lyft in New York City, that’s the 50% of life being assed part. Okay?

So, instead of getting all bent out of shape about; oh, I can’t believe this happened. This sucks. Oh, my God, this is the worst. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Like, tons of negativity about this minor inconvenience, I just owned it. I was like; yep, that’s what happens when you try and fix it yourself. You knew these were brittle. You knew there was a chance you could break it, instead of calling someone out to do it for you.

I just owned that it was my fault. And from there, I was able to very calmly make a plan to get my furnace fixed. I didn’t fly off the handle. It didn’t ruin my day; it was no big deal. I know a lot of you listening, you have every day annoyances, everyday inconveniences that send you over the edge.

And, it’s because you don’t have these coaching tools. It’s because you don’t know how to change your thoughts about things. It’s because you don’t understand how to discern circumstances, from the thoughts you think about them. You don’t understand how to control your emotional experience in the world. So, you think everything’s just happening to you, and you’re living at the effect of your circumstances. You’re very out of control over your emotional experience in the world.

Through coaching, you reclaim that control. So, you’re able to feel in control of how you feel every day. And you’re able to curate an emotional experience that’s much more positive, than the default one you’re experiencing right now.

Another really common everyday annoyance, is people’s non-responsiveness. So, I’ve been working on planning the live event, for the next round of the mastermind in Charleston. And when I was going through the early stages of planning, I reached out to a bunch of different places to inquire about hosting the event there; for venue space, for the meetings, for the hotel accommodations, for the welcome reception, all of that stuff.

It wasn’t just one place, it was several places that were, this is a thought, it’s my opinion, but they were extremely non-responsive. I mean, days and days after I emailed them. I followed up with several places, and it was still several days before I got an answer.

So many people I know, many of my clients, when they first start working with me would be so upset about this. They would feel so offended, so disrespected, so unappreciated; just really, really negative emotions if this happened to them. Now, was I surprised? Yeah, I was a little surprised. And did I have like super sexy, rosy thoughts about the non-responsiveness? No.

But I identified what my options were: I could be spiteful and just keep reaching out to other places, and not work with the place that I really wanted to work with, or the few places that I really wanted to work with. But that’s biting off my nose to spite my face, and that doesn’t make sense to me. So, I opted not to do that.

I also thought about just seeing how long it would take them to respond, and kind of being righteous about that and snooty. I also decided not to do that because, you know what? That would have been coming from a negative emotion. It would have been me being reactionary, and it definitely wouldn’t create the result that I want to create, which is getting a response from these venues, so I can finalize the plans for the mastermind live event.

So, here’s what I did. I decided to do the only thing that I could do that was within my control, that would potentially create a scenario that gets me my desired result. I decided to email them as much as I felt like it. I decided to be the squeaky wheel that got the grease. And. guess what? It worked. I was, what in my opinion, was like a little obnoxious with the emails, but people started responding to me. And, I was able to finalize the plans. So, it all worked out.

I see so many people get bent out of shape, when people don’t respond to them in the timeline that they want a response. Now, without coaching, you get all those negative emotions, right? But that’s a terrible way to go through the world. And the best news is, it’s optional.

But you have to learn these coaching tools, in order to create a different experience for yourself. This happens with email communication. This happens with text messages. Maybe you get super pissed at people who take a “long” time to respond to you. So many of my friends apology vomit for taking a long time to respond.

I never care how long someone takes to respond. If I really need to get a hold of you, I will get a hold of you. I will track you down. I will call you multiple times. I will text you. I’ll double text if I need to. I’ll do whatever I have to do to bring it to your attention that it’s urgent. And I still won’t get upset if you don’t answer, because we all get to decide how responsive we are for ourselves, whether or not someone else likes it.

I also see people not handle waiting and other scenarios; they don’t handle it well. Like, waiting a long time for a server or a bartender at a restaurant. People get bent out of shape about that. I never have my drama around that. I just always choose thoughts that served me. I have a much more enjoyable experience when I’m out, as a result of that.

So, if there are minor everyday frustrations like that… Ooh, here’s one more; traffic’s another one. I do not understand why people have negative thoughts about traffic. Traffic is part of life. Don’t go to war with traffic. Don’t get frustrated by it; it’s so unnecessary.

My last two examples are about situations that I’ve encountered with my parents, that I’ve had to coach myself on. One situation, I’ve talked about this on the podcast before, I think. But I call it the “cherry pie” scenario. I’ve talked about it on my social media accounts before. So, some of you may already be familiar with this story.

But a couple summers ago, I was on a weight loss journey. I was eating really healthy. I had also cut out alcohol. So, to say the least, I was experiencing a lot of deprivation. Now, this was during the pandemic, like kind of the early days of the pandemic. So, people really weren’t seeing one another. Yet, my parents were in my bubble. So, I would go out and see them on the weekends.

My mom normally cooks when I go out; we kind of take turns now, that’s actually more fair to say. But when she cooks, she really loves carb heavy dishes. And, that was so not aligned with my weight loss goals. So, I recognized, very early on, that it’s her house, she gets to cook what she wants to cook. But there are things that I can do to control what I eat.

So, I can ask her to cook different things, but she might not want to cook what I want to eat. So, in order to make it the most likely that I would be able to eat food that aligned with my weight loss goals, I started bringing food with me, and I offered to cook for everyone. Now, prior to coaching, I would have been super entitled. I would have thought that she needed to appease my desire or acquiesce to my game plan. Like, if she cared about me, she would do it for me.

Blech, such a negative mindset. Such a disempowered mindset, too, very victim-y. Anyways, that’s probably what I would have been thinking; that she needed to change what she was doing, in order to meet my needs. But instead, because I have coaching tools, I know the truth. That the only person that I can control is myself. So, I controlled myself, in the food that I brought, and I was able to, most weekends, basically every weekend for a while, eat what I wanted to eat.

And then, there was this particular weekend. I went out there and my mom told me that she wanted to make seafood pasta for Sunday dinner, and that she was insisting on it. That’s what she really had a craving for, that’s what she wanted to eat. And I still could have chosen to make my own food and eat my own thing, that had nothing to do with the pasta.

But I didn’t choose to do that. I chose to let her cook what she wanted to cook. I was a little upset about it, in the beginning. I was like; I’ll just eat the seafood. I won’t eat the pasta. And we normally have salad, so I was like, I’ll just eat salad. But I was not thrilled.

Now, earlier in the day, she also, I think she made scones, like more carbs. So, I didn’t eat those either. And I think maybe a quiche, which was like carbs from the pie crust, the pie dough. Just again, things that I wouldn’t eat with the plan that I was on.

So, I get through dinner, and I’m already not feeling jazzed about how the evening’s going. And then, I went down into the basement to take a Zoom call. The people who have been following me since the early days of quaran-times, back in 2020, know that I used to run a Sunday night meet-up.

And, this was Sunday night, so I went down into the basement to host the Zoom meet-up out there. And before the call got started, I ran back upstairs to grab a bottle of water. And while I did that, when I entered the kitchen, I saw my mom and my uncle eating this cherry pie.

Now, little backstory on the cherry pie. The cherry pie had not been there all weekend. It wasn’t even there this morning. My mom had run out to buy bread, more carbs, right before dinner. She had run to Whole Foods® and she bought a cherry pie, which happens to be my favorite. So, my mom was very aware, I had talked to her many times about my weight loss journey and my weight loss struggles.

So, she knew that I wasn’t eating food like this. She also knows that cherry pie is my favorite. Now, when I saw this, I lost my shit. I created this narrative that my mom and my uncle, were trying to hide the cherry pie from me. And I guess that would probably would have been a good thing, like had my head been screwed on straight at the moment, because then I wouldn’t have known about it. So, it wouldn’t have triggered any deprivation for me.

But I felt deceived, I guess is the best way to put it. So, I made up the story that they were trying to hide the cherry pie from me, and like eat it behind my back. And then, I also flipped out because I was like; how dare my mom bring this cherry pie into her house? I know how ridiculous this sounds. I’m very aware of that.

But that was really how I was thinking. I was like; this is so disrespectful. She clearly doesn’t care about me. She doesn’t care about what I’m working towards. How dare she? I can’t believe she did this. Just really selfish of her, is probably the line of thinking that I had. And, I felt outraged. I completely flipped out.

I finished the call; I could barely get through the call I was so upset. Probably just hangry because I wanted to eat some damn cherry pie. But I get through the call. And as soon as the call was over, I left immediately, like stormed off. Not my proudest moment, you guys, but I’m keeping it really real with you.

I stormed off, got in my car, called my cousin, and proceeded to have a vent session for 45 minutes. Now, I’m not one to vent. I normally don’t think it’s very helpful. I don’t think complaining is productive. I know it’s cathartic to some people, some of the time. I really don’t even think that’s useful, though.

But I was in a full-on human moment here, not being a coach, but just being a human being. And, I was pissed. So, I spent 45 minutes driving home from my parents’ house on the phone with my cousin, just losing my mind about the cherry pie ordeal.

Now, while I was driving, like literally as soon as I got in my car, I was intimately aware that I felt outraged. And, I was also intimately aware that I was the person causing me to feel that way. My mom’s actions did not make me feel outraged; my mom’s actions are neutral. The cherry pie’s a neutral circumstance. The fact that my mom bought a cherry pie is a neutral circumstance. The fact that my mom and my uncle were eating the cherry pie is a new neutral circumstance.

None of those things caused me to feel outraged. The only thing that caused me to feel outraged was my thoughts about the situation, the story that I was telling myself about the cherry pie. And even with the awareness that I was the one causing my negative emotional experience, I decided that I wanted to hold on to my negative thoughts for a little while. I wasn’t ready to get out of them. I wasn’t ready to get myself to a cleaner, more grounded place. So, I stayed pissed for a week.

I allowed myself to keep thinking my negative thoughts, about the cherry pie and about my mom’s actions. And, I continued to stay upset. But then, after a week passed, I decided that I didn’t want to be angry anymore. I didn’t want to feel outraged. It wasn’t productive. It didn’t feel good. I didn’t want to be arguing with my mom anymore. I wanted to get along with her.

So, I knew that the work that I had to do was that I needed to find a different thought to think about the incident. So, I racked my brain. I searched for a different thought. So many people asked me, “Olivia, how do you practice finding new thoughts?” It’s like trying on clothes; you got to try on different ones until you find something that fits.

So, for me, after I searched for a more positive, productive thought, and it took me a little while, I finally stumbled on this thought; I realized that my mom has a little bit of a dependency on sugar. She used to smoke; we both did. We’ve both since quit, and her vice sort of switched from smoking to sugar consumption.

Now, I have had my own issues with both Adderall and with alcohol. So, I am not here to judge anyone for how they respond to feeling deprived, how they respond to cravings, how they respond to urges, okay? I know what it’s like to want something, even if maybe you shouldn’t do it. I know what it’s like to want something, even when someone else might have an opinion about it. Okay?

I realized that what I was ultimately asking my mom to do… She wanted the cherry pie, obviously, she did. She bought it when she went to Whole Foods that day, because she wanted a slice of cherry pie. And what I realized, is that I wanted my mom to feel deprived, so I didn’t have to feel deprived.

When I realized that, I felt so gross. I was like; ugh, I don’t want to be that kind of person. Where I want other people to be uncomfortable, so I don’t have to be uncomfortable. That’s not how I want to show up in this world. That’s not how I want to treat the people that I love.

I want to love people and let them show up the way they want to show up. I want to love people and let them be who they are. And, for them to not feel deprived on my account. For them to have the things that they want in their life, whether that’s a cherry pie or something else, it doesn’t matter. I want them to get what they want.

Instead of needing my mom to feel deprived so I didn’t have to, in that moment, I decided that I could handle feeling deprived. That was my job in the scenario, was just to feel the deprivation and to calm the fuck down. So, that’s what I did.

I changed the story I was telling myself about the cherry pie incident, and I got over it in that instant. Like, no lingering resentment. I felt completely differently as soon as I jumped to this new thought and this new story about the cherry pie.

I know this stuff happens for you guys, too. I coach so many people on relationships with family members, with friends, with colleagues. Where they get so bent out of shape about what someone else does. And they make it mean all of these things; that people don’t respect them, that people are being rude, and inconsiderate, and it’s so unfair.

That line of thinking makes you feel terrible. And, it’s optional to think that way. And, it’s optional to feel that way. But in order to opt out of that experience in the world, you have to learn these tools. You have to get coached, master the emotional intelligence principles that I teach, in order to navigate these situations very differently.

All right, I could go on and on and on. But I’m going to give you one more example. Every year on Thanksgiving, actually on Thanksgiving Eve, I do a huge charcuterie board for my family. I have a meat slicer; I slice all the meat. I cut up all of the different cheeses. I probably have, like I don’t know, like 30 or some things on my charcuterie board.

I actually take my parents’ island, in their kitchen, and I wrap the entire thing in brown paper, and I label all of the things that I put on the board. But I turn the whole island into one big charcuterie board. It’s really over the top; it’s like everything you could possibly want on a board. And, it’s really fun. We all stand around and talk and snack, and it ends up sort of being dinner for the night. It’s so much food that you don’t need anything else; most people end up filling up on it.

Now, it takes me hours to put this together every year. I spend so much time pouring into it. I spend days before, running around town getting all of the things for the charcuterie board. I go to a couple of different meats shops. I go to a cheese place, in Eastern Market, in Detroit.

I have to go to a special place to get the prosciutto. I go to the open-air part of Eastern Market to get my honeycomb for the board. And then, I have to go to this other place to get my Marcona almonds. I go get a couple of different types of olives, and all the jams and chutneys. I really, I mean, I go all out. Gotta get the fruit, as well; grapes, different berries, things like that.

So, the board’s over the top; there’s truly no reason anyone would need any other food other than the board. In fact, by the end of the night, there’s still so much left over that we package it up. And that ends up being like the snack, while we cook Thanksgiving dinner the following day.

Now, like I said, the board takes me hours to make. And every year, my dad comes home from work on Wednesday night, and he brings home a pizza. Prior to finding coaching, this drove me fucking crazy. Every year, he’d bring home a pizza and he would offer it to people, after I had just spent like four or five hours putting together this charcuterie board. Getting everything prepped, not to mention the time that it took for me to go buy everything.

I would completely lose my shit. Now, my dad’s the kind of person that you don’t lose your shit with. So, I would internally lose my shit and be really upset, really resentful. And then, I’d bottle it all up and not say anything, because that’s just how I was raised. You don’t talk back to my dad, and he don’t let him know you’re upset.

So, I would hide it, abut I would be really, really frustrated. I would think all of these thoughts about him buying the pizza; I would think that it was rude. It was disrespectful. That he shouldn’t do it. That he was taking away from what I was doing. That he was ruining my experience, and the experience of other people. I mean, I really had a negative narrative around this entire situation.

So much so, that I ruined my own experience several years in a row, by getting so wildly upset about this. Now, I finally decided that, because I now know that I caused my own feelings with my thoughts, I learned and realize that my dad’s actions, nor the pizza, were causing my negative experience.

It was me. it was the way that I was thinking about it. And for a while, I think like an extra year, I decided to hold on to my negative emotions. Just like I did with the cherry pie situation and the outrage. Recently, I decided I didn’t want to be mad about this anymore. I didn’t want to let this interfere with and ruin the time that I get to spend with my parents, to ruin my holiday. I just don’t want to be upset about it.

So again, I started trying on thoughts that I could think about this, in order to feel differently about it. And I ultimately settled on the thought that my dad grew up in a family, with my grandfather, and were really proud entertainers. I like to entertain a lot more than my dad does, but he still is a very proud, generous host.

And as much as I’m a millennial, and I have grown up during the charcuterie trend, my dad didn’t. I don’t think he views it as like a full-on meal, like maybe, some of us millennials do. So, if I had to venture a guess, I think he’s afraid that our guests will be at his house, and that they will want something more substantial to eat.

That they’re not going to just want some slices of meat, cheese, and some crackers. Now, again, the board is very impressive, so that’s really not the experience. Like, we’re normally overly full after we’ve all snacked on it and eaten. But I really do believe that he thinks it’s not a real meal. So, he feels uncomfortable not offering his guests something else.

As soon as I was able to identify that thought… And I don’t know if that’s true or not, I haven’t had a conversation with him about it. I don’t need to have a conversation with him about it. I’m able to have a completely different emotional experience without him doing anything differently. I settled on this thought, and it is a thought that serves me so well.

I guarantee you this year he will bring a pizza home the night I do the charcuterie board on Thanksgiving Eve. And instead of getting bent out of shape and ruining my own night, thinking negative thoughts about the pizza, I’m just going to love him for who he is. And let him show up as who he is. Not ask him or need him to be any different.

The only reason I’m able to do that, the only reason I’m able to feel differently about the situation is because I have the emotional intelligence tools that you gain through life coaching. That’s it. Otherwise, I’d have a lot more negative experiences around the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, in my future.

But I don’t, I’m going to have amazing holidays in my future, because I know how to manage my own mind. I really cannot overstate the impact of coaching, of learning to apply these tools in your day-to-day life. Yes, you can make huge sweeping changes in your life, like I have, because of coaching.

I’ll do an entire episode on my story, on how I was able to drastically change my life and completely alter the trajectory of my career, of my life, because of these tools. But I cannot overstate the impact of these day-to-day differences. The compound effect of having these different emotional experiences every single day, day in and day out, is completely invaluable.

You will create an entirely different experience in the world if you learn to do this work. If you learn to apply these tools on your own. I invite you to do that with me. If you want to learn the art of navigating your life, and the things that you experience in a much healthier, more productive way, you’ve got to sign up for The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind.

It is the room where you will learn how to master these skills. You will be able to create this calm, grounded experience for yourself, day in and day out. Enrollment for the mastermind, just opened; do not wait to apply. The spots are limited. They’re going to be filled on a first come first served basis.

So, head to my website. You specifically want to go to TheLessStressedLawyer.com/mastermind. Go there, all of the details that you want to know about the mastermind will be at that link. Again, it’s TheLessStressedLawyer.com/mastermind. You can apply via that link. Get your applications in so you can start learning how to master this work, and completely change your experience in the world, as a result.

All right, my friends. That’s what I have for you this 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.

Enjoy the Show?

Episode 34: Time Management Evaluations (Time Management Series)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Time Management Evaluations (Time Management Series)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Time Management Evaluations (Time Management Series)

We’re back this week with the final episode of the Time Management Series, and this week we’re talking about time management evaluations. We have now established how to reclaim control of your calendar, honor your commitments, and plan your schedule, so now it’s time to establish how effectively you are managing your time. 

What I’m bringing you this week is a helpful way to evaluate how exactly you are managing your time, and this process can be life-changing.  I’m showing you how to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of a full day, from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, and breaking down the steps you need to follow in order to do your own time management evaluation. 

Join me this week and hear three important questions to ask yourself to help you evaluate your time. Discover why evaluating just one aspect of your day every day will change your life, and how to develop a deeper understanding of how to evaluate the way you plan your time, and how you execute your plans.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

I have a few masterclasses planned for the coming months. On October 28th, we’re discussing how to set and honor boundaries, and you can sign up for that masterclass by clicking here! November 29th is all about how to be confident. And December 16th, we’re going to work on setting the pace for 2023 by learning to stop tolerating the parts of your life you don’t love. All of the masterclasses are at noon Eastern Time, so mark your calendars.

If you enjoyed today’s show, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • 3 simple steps you want to follow to manage your time.
  • How to start paying attention to the lies you tell yourself.
  • Why you don’t need to get up super early in order to be successful.
  • The importance of getting enough rest.
  • How to understand how you are really spending your time.
  • A sure-fire way to find yourself always falling behind.
  • The problem with multitasking.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 34. Today, I’m gonna teach you how to do time management evaluations. 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 you doing? I am so excited to talk to you today about time management evaluations. It’s gonna be the last episode in the time management series. Of course, I will continue to talk about time management on the podcast in future episodes, but I wanted to create a really comprehensive series for you. And, that’s what we’ve done.

But this is the last episode in the time management series. And I’m really going to get into the thick of it with you. I want to give you a really deep understanding of how to evaluate how you spend your time, how you plan, and how you execute your plans. So, we’re going to do a deep dive on evaluations today.

In the meantime, couple of things. Number one, I want you to stay tuned for the next two episodes that I release. I’m really, really excited about them. I’m going to do an episode on the impact of coaching, and all of the real-life applications where you can use what I teach you. And, I’m gonna use examples from my own life.

My clients often tell me that they love how many examples I give them, from my own life or from other clients of mine, and how they work through issues and apply the coaching tools that I teach. I’m going to do a whole episode on some situations that I’ve recently encountered, and how coaching has helped me navigate them pretty seamlessly. So, you can start to see what it looks like to apply a lot of the tools that I teach you, a lot of the concepts that I teach on a day-to-day basis, like in the real world.

I’m going to do an episode on that. And then, I’m also going to do an episode about the importance, the value, the impact, of investing in yourself. The reason that I want to talk about that is because I am getting ready to open up enrollment for the next round of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind.

A lot of people encounter obstacles to investing in themselves, and they end up not doing it because of those roadblocks, because of those obstacles. So, I really want to talk about what those obstacles are and the impact of overcoming them, working through them, to invest in yourself and why you want to do that.

Kind of keep that in the back of your mind, mark your calendars. The next couple of episodes that I’m going to release are going to be really meaty, and really meaningful. I just want you to check back in and make sure you’re subscribed if you’re not already subscribed. Make sure you hit that subscribe button on whatever podcast platform you listen to this on, so you don’t miss those two episodes. They’re gonna be really, really good. I’m super excited to record them and to release them to you.

Speaking of the podcast, and subscribing and all that good stuff, I would also really appreciate it if you would take a second and leave me a review. They really make a difference in getting the content that I produce in front of more people. So, if you’re loving the podcast, if you think it’s really valuable and you haven’t yet, please rate. Give me five stars if you love it. Rate and review the podcast, it would mean the world to me.

All right. With that said, let’s dive in to time management evaluations. So, I’m gonna start by breaking down the actual steps you want to take, the process that you want to follow, to complete a time management evaluation. And then, I’m going to go into an actual example. I’m going to run you through a day, and how you would evaluate it.

To start, ideally, you would have made a plan for the day, right? As a refresher, I’ve talked to you about the three simple steps you need to follow in order to manage your time: You want to reclaim control of your calendar, plan your schedule accurately, and honor your plan. And in order to honor your plan, you want to start on time, work without interruptions, and end on time.

Now, if you are following those steps, you should have created a plan for the day, and you executed it, and now, it comes time to evaluate. If you didn’t make a plan, I want you to not skip evaluations. You can still learn so much if you evaluate whether or not you made a formal plan for the day, and stuck to it or didn’t stick to it. So, I really want you to be careful and don’t let your perfectionism get in the way of your learning, alright, of the progress you want to be making here.

Ideally, you would have made a plan for the day, and you executed it, and maybe it didn’t go perfectly, right? And you want to evaluate, so you can learn from what didn’t go well and make consistent, constant improvements. So, you executed your plan, and you’re going to answer three questions.

The evaluation process that I teach people is very simple. It’s just these three simple questions: What worked? What didn’t work? And what will you do differently, going forward? Now, I’ve explained this before, you really want to start with what worked. So many people have a tendency to skip this part and go right to what didn’t work. And that’s our brains being brains, and automatically seeking out negative information, faults, all that stuff.

You want to interrupt your brain’s desire to do that, to take you to the dark place, so to speak. And, you want to start with focusing on what worked. It’s going to help keep your evaluation process really positive. It’s going to feel a lot better; you’re not going to feel as badly about yourself. And it’s really going to set you up to move into the ‘what didn’t work’ part of the evaluation process, in a much more curious, less judgmental place. So, don’t skip that step.

Force yourself to make a list of what worked. A lot of people that I work with struggle with doing this. I want to offer you that that is also a skill. Learning how to evaluate and find the good is something that you can practice. I often help clients learn how to develop this skill.

They really struggle, you know, they’ll tell me, they’re like; nothing worked, absolutely nothing worked. And then, I’ll push back on that. I’ll actually help them identify some of the things that did work. Every win is a win to be celebrated. There’s no win too small to celebrate.

So, you want to catch yourself if you struggle with identifying your wins. Force yourself to answer that question, and really take it seriously. It can be easy to be dismissive about it. You want to make sure you’re not dismissive. Take it seriously, and come up with some good answers to that question; what worked? What’s going well? What did you do a good job with?

Now, when you go into what didn’t work, again, you’re going to go into that from a curious place, not a judgmental place. You’re going to identify all of the things that didn’t go according to your plan. All the things that felt like hiccups, or obstacles, or mistakes, or errors, throughout the day. Any divergence that came up from your plan. Any place that you made a detour that felt unintentional. Anything that you wouldn’t want to recreate.

So, you go through, and you identify the things that didn’t work. I also, to give you a little bit more guidance and a little bit more structure for this part of the evaluation process, you can answer these questions: What negative thoughts were you thinking that caused the results that didn’t work?

Your thoughts create your results. So, you always want to identify the negative thoughts that you were thinking, the thoughts that didn’t serve you, and you want to address them and replace them with better thoughts, if you can.

That starts with gaining awareness of what you were thinking, that led to the problem in the first place. Figure that out; make a list of the thoughts. What were you thinking about your day? What were you thinking about yourself? What were you thinking about time? What were you thinking about the assignments you were working on? What were you thinking about setting boundaries, in order to stick to your schedule?

You want to be really clear about all of that because those thoughts are creating your results. So, in the ‘what didn’t work’ section, you’ve got some negative results that you don’t love. You want to find the negative thoughts that lead to those results.

You also want to identify the feelings you weren’t willing to feel? So, that’s the second question you could answer: What feelings was I unwilling to feel? If you’ve identified the thoughts that you were thinking, you can just ask yourself: What’s the one-word emotion that I experience when I think this negative thought?

You’ll start to see how you avoided that feeling or reacted to it in an unintentional manner. That’s going to start to formulate this list, of the emotions that you would have needed to feel on purpose, very intentionally. You know, I always describe this, you have to allow them to ride shotgun with you in the car, so to speak. You don’t want them driving the car and determining what you do or don’t do for the day. But they’re going to have to come along for the ride, unfortunately.

What thoughts were you thinking? What feelings were you not willing to feel? And then, what actions did you take that didn’t serve you? And what actions didn’t you take, that you would have needed to take, in order to create a better result, the results that you wanted?

You want to make that list. That will help really flesh out your what didn’t work section? And then, from there, I want you to get curious: Why? Why were you thinking that? Why were you unwilling to feel these feelings? Why didn’t you do certain things? Why did you do others? You really want to explore and understand your reasons for all of the action that you took that didn’t serve you. Or, all of the action that you didn’t take that you would have needed to take.

Another amazing question here, to create additional awareness is the question: If there were specific actions you “should” have taken but didn’t take, you want to ask yourself, what negative emotions would I have been forced to feel, if I forced myself to take that action? And then, add those feelings to the list of feelings that you weren’t willing to feel.

Okay, that ends up becoming your roadmap for what you’ll do differently. You can use these three subcategories: What thoughts would you need to think, in order to create better results, your desired results? What feelings would you need to feel on purpose and allow? And then, what actions would you need to take? What would you need to do differently, in order to create your desired results? You want to make a list.

That might also include what you need to not do. Okay, so make sure you include that, as well. Now, one of the big things that I see people do, is they don’t get specific enough with their ‘what they’re going to do differently’ section. You want to be very, very precise with identifying what you’ll do differently.

The more precise you are, the more impact these evaluations are going to have. The more improvement you’re going to make, because you’re going to have a very clear plan of how to move forward and make these incremental changes, in order to move the dial. So, you want to be really specific about your ‘what didn’t work’ section and your ‘what you’ll do differently’ section.

Okay, that’s the overview. Three questions: What worked? What didn’t work? What would you do differently. You want to get really specific, and figure out the thoughts you were thinking, the feelings you weren’t willing to feel, and the actions you didn’t take that you would have needed to, and the actions that you did take that maybe you shouldn’t have, all right?

Then, you just want to get really specific with what you’ll do differently, with what you’ll think differently, and what feelings you will feel, in order to make improvement moving forward. So, that’s the overall evaluation process.

Now let’s walk through an example. I said, ideally, you would have made a plan for your day. This is the plan that you would have ideally made: You plan to wake up at 6:30. You plan to start working at 8:00. Let’s say you plan to go into the office, so you plan to be at the office by 8:00.

You’re working on a brief, or if you’re a transactional attorney, maybe you’re reviewing a contract or something like that. Maybe you’re drafting a contract, or terms, provisions, things like that. But whatever writing assignment you’re working on, you plan to work on it for three hours. And then, you’ve got a meeting at 11:00. You plan it to be an hour long. You plan a quick lunch at 12:00. You give yourself 15 minutes for lunch.

And then, you plan to work on the writing assignment for another two hours and 45 minutes. Later in the afternoon, you plan to complete a few other assignments; three specific tasks that will each take an hour a piece. You plan to stop working at 6:00. You drive home from work; that’ll take a half an hour. Then, when you get home at 6:30 you plan to do some chores. Then, you are going to do dinner from 7:00-8:00. And then, your game plan is to relax for the rest of the night and be in bed by 11:00. Okay?

Now, I want to be really clear on something here; this plan that I just walked you through, has you starting work at 8:00 and ending at 6:00. I am not suggesting that you need to work 8:00-6:00. If you want to work 10:00-4:00, work 10:00-4:00. If you want to work 8:00-8:00, work 8:00-8:00. If you want to work 9:00 to 5:00, work 9:00 to 5:00. It is up to you.

There is no right and wrong answer for how much work you should be working. You get to decide what that number is for you. I’m just using this as a for instance. You get to pick the schedule that feels right and in alignment for the results you want to create.

So, I always let people decide how much they want to work for them, what feels right for them. I certainly don’t start working at 8:00. I, at least, don’t start client sessions, normally, not until 10:00. I’m actually changing that, to start my days at 11:00. And, that’s what works for me. I do social media from 8:30-9:30 every day, and then, I get ready for my calls.

But you get to decide what works for you. That’s what works for me, right now. I am not suggesting you need to start working at 8:00. So, please don’t misunderstand me here, it’s just an example.

That’s the example schedule. Now, let’s take a look and see how your day actually went. Instead of what you planned, here’s what your day looked like: You set your alarm for 6:30, but you ignored it and hit snooze until 7:30. And then, you grabbed your phone, and you laid in bed scrolling on social media, until 8:32. At which time, you were like, “Oh, shit, I’m behind schedule. I need to hurry up and get ready.”

So, you rush to get ready. It feels like a frenzy. You spend extra time, more than you would have liked to spend, picking out what you were going to wear for the day. And then, you finally leave. You get in the car. You hit traffic because you left later than you anticipated. And, you don’t get to work, into your office, until 9:28.

You start to work on that brief that you were planning to work on, that writing assignment. But instead of the three hours that you plan to spend on it, now we’ve only got about an hour and a half before that 11:00 meeting. You end up being late to that meeting by like eight minutes, because you didn’t leave your office, and stop working, and doing your legal research until basically 11:00.

So, the time it took you to walk down the hall, get into your colleague’s office for that 11:00 meeting, you didn’t factor that in, so you were late. The meeting runs over; you budgeted an hour for it, but it runs over by an extra 37 minutes. So now, it’s 12:37. It’s almost 1:00 and you’re like, “I need to have lunch.”

You end up actually spending an hour on lunch, because you go out to lunch, instead of bringing something with you. So, you spend about an hour doing that. While you do it, you kind of leisurely look at your cell phone, and now it’s 2pm. You were supposed to spend two hours and forty-five minutes on that brief, right? So, you try and get back into the brief, but you actually spend most of your afternoon in your email, instead.

Someone swings by your office unexpectedly at 3:20, and they hang around for like, 25 minutes. So now, it’s 3:45, and you really haven’t spent any time on that brief. And, you also haven’t gotten to those three other tasks that you planned.

Finally, the person leaves your office, and you start attacking the brief. So, it’s 3:45, and you’re really just starting to make headway on it. You do some research towards the end of the day. You promised your spouse you’d be home by 6:30, but that would require you to leave the office by 6:00, like you planned. But you’re in the middle of some research, and you really don’t want to stop.

So, you don’t stop, and you don’t end up leaving the office until 6:52. You get home by 7:20, and you haven’t figured out a game plan for dinner, yet. You spend some time talking about that. You don’t get the chores done that you planned. You decide that you’re really trying to be healthy, so you want to cook dinner instead of ordering out. That ends up taking about an hour and a half, for you to prep and prepare dinner.

And then, you have to take time to eat dinner. So, by the time you’re done, preparing dinner, eating dinner, it’s now 10:00. You wanted to be done hours ago, but it’s now 10:00. You started to watch some TV with your partner while you were eating dinner, and you tell yourself, “We’re just going to watch like one more episode,” and then, one more episode.

You’re feeling guilty, because in the back of your mind, you’re telling yourself you should be working because you didn’t get nearly enough done on that brief, and you didn’t get to those other three tasks, so you are “shoulding” on yourself, feeling guilty, while you’re watching TV. Not really enjoying yourself. Not really able to be present. But you still watch TV instead of going to work on the brief.

Eventually the guilt really starts to consume you, so you log back on, to work, and you work on the brief a little bit more. You go down a Westlaw™ rabbit hole, and you stay up till 2am doing research. You haven’t typed up anything, you’ve just been researching. Finally, at 2am, you’re exhausted, and you crash. And the whole process starts again the next day, right?

So, that’s how your day actually went, and you want to do an evaluation. Now, I am going to do a very full, complete evaluation with you just so you can see what it looks like. But if you find this process overwhelming or too time consuming, here’s what I want to offer you. You can do the lite version of an evaluation. Which is just picking one answer to each of those questions: What worked? What didn’t work? And, what would you do differently? Pick one thing.

If you evaluate one aspect of your day, every single day, you will change your life. The compound effect and impact of doing that is so transformative. So, don’t let yourself get perfectionistic, and say, “If I can’t do the complete version of an evaluation, it’s not worth doing it at all.” That is total malarkey, and excuse that your brain is serving up to you. So, I really want you to be onto yourself here, and don’t let yourself get away with those excuses.

We’re going to start with what worked, because we always want to start there in order to highlight our wins. What worked? You went into the office. Maybe that’s something that you had been struggling with, and you had to have a lot of resistance to going into the office. So, you did get into the office, amazing. You had a successful meeting with your colleague, and maybe a client, if it was a client meeting. So, you had a successful meeting.

You made time for lunch. Maybe that’s something that you’ve been working on, too. Actually, feeding yourself throughout the day, so you can maintain your energy. You also enjoy cooking, it’s something that you do as a form of self-care and leisure. So, you cooked dinner, and you ended up eating healthy. That’s what worked, too.

You had dinner with your spouse, which is really nice; some quality time with someone. And you got to watch a little TV with them, and relax with them, and just enjoy their company. So, that’s a what worked. You responded to X number of emails in the afternoon.

You had a couple that you really wanted to get out, and you made sure that you got those out. You did conduct some legal research for the brief that you’re working on. So, those are all wins that you want to celebrate. Those are things that you did that worked.

Now, we’re going to turn to what didn’t work. And I think it’s really easy to do an evaluation where you go through what didn’t work, and then figure out what you would do differently, for each thing that didn’t work. Rather than doing all of what didn’t work, and then doing all of what you’ll do differently. I like to go one by one by one. So, you get really specific solutions for what didn’t work.

We’ll just start at the beginning of the day. You didn’t wake up on time. That’s something that didn’t work. Now, we want to explore that, there’s a couple different avenues to go here. Are you waking up earlier than you actually prefer? If you constantly try and force yourself to wake up earlier than you prefer, you’re going to encounter the struggle every single day.

So, you can do one of two things: You can adjust the time that you wake up, to be more in line with your preferences. Like, I’m never going to wake up at 5:00 in the morning, that is not who I am. I’m not a 5am person. If you are, amazing for you, if that’s what works for you. If you’re not, you don’t need to be, in order to be successful.

But you want to be really honest about the time that you actually want to wake up, because you’re much more likely to stick to it. So, are you waking up too early or trying to wake up too early? And are you not getting enough sleep? If you’re going to bed at 2:00 and trying to wake up at 6:30, that’s only four hours of sleep, four and a half hours of sleep. That’s not enough, more than likely.

So, you want to be onto yourself, and that you’re giving yourself enough rest. You also, the second part of this, is that you’ve got to resist the urge to snooze. So, you’re going to have to feel some negative emotions and stick to it anyways. There’s going to be some discomfort involved, in getting up when you say you’re going to get up, and you just need to be willing to feel that discomfort and stick to your plan.

Maybe what you’ll do differently, is that you decide to set your alarm for 7:30 instead, it gives you a little bit more time to sleep. And it’s more in line with when you’re actually getting up anyways. So, you make that plan. And you’re also going to plan to feel your negative feelings at 7:30, when your alarm goes off, and you still don’t feel like getting up. Okay.

Now, the second thing that you did, was you scrolled on social media for a little over an hour. That’s going to be something that didn’t work, as well, because you didn’t plan to be on social media. If you like to spend a time on social media, there’s nothing wrong with that. You just want to plan it into your schedule. Be really intentional about it.

Don’t plan to be doing something else, and then be on social media. That’s a recipe for disaster. That’s a way to always find yourself falling behind. Okay, so plan your social media time. You can plan all of the things that you do for leisure; TV, reading, sleep, social media, all of that. Conversations with friends, you want to plan that into your schedule.

Because if you don’t plan that stuff, what you’re doing is double booking yourself. You’re spending time doing those activities, but you’re planning to be doing something else. So, you’re double booked. Even though you probably don’t think of it that way. You probably think double booking only as like, double booking meetings at the same time. There are a lot of ways you can double book yourself.

This is one of the ways that I see this happen most frequently. You plan to be doing one thing, but you’re actually doing something else. And the thing that you are doing instead, you never planned to do, but it’s something that you do all the time. So, you want to factor that in.

You’re scrolling on social, and it’s really a way that you’re avoiding your day, right? So, what thoughts are you thinking that are driving you to buffer with social media? Maybe thoughts like; I don’t want to go to work. I have so much to do, I don’t know where to get started. I’m never gonna get it all done. Just one more minute, just one more scroll, just one more post, and then I’ll get started. I’ll get off and I’ll start my day.

Those are the thoughts that are really going to present as obstacles for you to stick to your schedule. So, you want to be aware of them. And you want to think, really specifically, what do you need to think instead? For me, whenever I’m thinking the thought; just one more, just one more minute, just one more episode, just one more cocktail, just one more potato chip.

Like, just one more, I’m always on to myself. That is a really sneaky thought that creates a lot of negative results, that I don’t love. So, I know that is a little whispery lie that my brain likes to tell me. And, I know not to believe it. Just one more begets just one more begets just one more. So, you want to be able to interrupt that.

You also want to identify the negative feelings that you were feeling that you avoided by scrolling on social media. So, ask yourself with those thoughts that you had just identified, what were the negative feelings that you felt, when you thought each of those thoughts? Maybe you felt dread about work for the day. Maybe you felt overwhelmed. Maybe you felt deprived with the thought of thinking; I’m not gonna be on social media anymore. I’m gonna put the phone away and get started.

So, you’d have to be willing to feel dread, overwhelm, and deprivation. That would need to go in your ‘what you’ll do differently’ moving forward, gameplan. And maybe you make just a hard and fast rule, speaking of what you’ll do differently. Maybe you make a hard and fast rule, no social media in the morning, because it just ends up sucking up way too much time. And it creates too much temptation, and triggers too much deprivation. And it’s just too hard to stop once you’ve started.

Maybe you make the roll no social media in the morning, so you can have a more streamlined, smooth start to your day. Okay, so from there, you started to get ready. And it was kind of a scramble. If you don’t like how that felt, what you want to do differently, is figure out exactly how long you need to take to do all of the things in your morning routine.

So, maybe you budgeted in your head, it only takes you 30 minutes to get ready, when in actuality, it takes you 45 minutes to an hour. So, you need to build that in to your schedule. Also, you noticed that you spent extra time kind of spinning in confusion about what to wear for the day. So, you want to address that, as well. What can you do differently there?

I like to create a work uniform, or make decisions ahead of time about what I’m going to wear. It gets me out of indulging in devoting extra time to decisions like that, right? When we make in the moment decisions, we really waste a lot of our mental energy. So, those are decisions that you can make ahead of time, and really constrain what you wear to work, in order to make that a lot more seamless and streamlined.

Now, you didn’t get to work until 9:28, when you planned to be there at 8:00. So, obviously, that’s going to be something that didn’t work, either. You want to ask yourself a couple questions: Was 8am too ambitious? Again, if you’re planning your day out of alignment with what you’re most likely to do, with what your preferences are, you want to be onto yourself there, and see if you need to adjust your expectations.

So, maybe you decide 8am is too ambitious, because you want to start and wake up at 7:30. And again, it’s going to take you about an hour to get ready, and then a half an hour to get to work, to go into the office. So, you’re going to change your game plan to get in at 9:00, instead. Like I said, which means you need to leave by 8:30.

So, part of this planning, you want to start working backwards so you see exactly how long you need. What are the negative emotions you’re going to have to feel, in order to get to the office by 9:00? You’re probably going to need to feel constrained. Most people don’t love following a schedule because it feels restrictive. So, you’re going to have to change your thoughts about following a schedule.

You want to make sure you’re thinking positive thoughts about doing it. Maybe you need to think that that’s how you get the most done. And, that sticking to a schedule creates a lot of freedom for you. You’re also going to have to be willing to feel feelings like constraint and restricted.

Same thing goes for being late to that 11:00 meeting, right? You didn’t give yourself enough time to stop the work that you were doing, and to make your way down the hallway or to a different floor, in order to attend that meeting. So, you want to build that time in. It might take you longer than you realize. You want to be really clear about how long that travel time takes you, and factor it in to your plan.

Again, this may require you to feel constrained or restricted. Or, I find a lot of people struggle with feeling unfinished. They don’t like to feel interrupted and what they’re doing. So, they will devote longer to something than maybe they should, in order for their plan to work. But they don’t want to stop what they’re doing, so they don’t stop what they’re doing. And then, they wait until it’s too late or at the very last minute, and then they make the switch.

When, ultimately, you’re going to interrupt yourself anyways. So, you can figure that out ahead of time, and make your plan accordingly. Another thing you could do, it would be up to you, but you could also decide, when you’re working on a brief, you don’t do meetings on those days. You really can exert a lot more control over your schedule, and when you meet with people, than you probably realize.

So, this may be an area where you need to control your calendar a bit more, and set some boundaries and push back, and not agree to the meeting, and put it on another day that works better for you. You’ll probably have to allow yourself to feel guilty, or worried, or ashamed, or exposed, or judged, if you do something like that.

You just want to build that into what you would have to do differently. All right, the meeting ran long, right? So, you were late for it, but it also ran over time. So, when that happens, you want to ask yourself; what’s the solution here? Do I need to just plan more time?

Did I really underestimate how long that meeting was going to take? Did I need more than an hour? Should I have known that I needed more than an hour going in? Or, was that sufficient time and you just let it run long? Was it a meeting that took almost two hours, but it could have been an hour?

And you’re gonna have to trust yourself to know the answer to that question. If the answer is you needed to plan more time for it, then you know next time you have a similar meeting, make it two hours instead of one, or an hour and a half, instead of one. If you decide that you should have just ended it at an hour, that that was sufficient enough time, then what are the feelings that you’re gonna have to be willing to feel?

Again, guilt for cutting it short. You might have to be willing to feel a little rude. Not that it is rude to cut a meeting short, you just might have to feel rude. That might be one of the negative emotions that comes up for you. Or, maybe worried about what other people will think. So, build that into your ‘what you would do differently.’

You’re going to have to feel those feelings, and cut the meeting short and end it on time. That also may change the way you show up in the meeting, right? You might be a lot less willing to make small talk, and you’ll be much more focused on getting through your agenda items. So, your meetings become much more effective and efficient.

All right. Now let’s take a look at your bad lunch plan. You took almost an hour, but you only budgeted 15 minutes for lunch. So again, you want to ask yourself; do you want to give yourself more time? Or, do you want to give yourself the amount of time that you originally planned, and you just need to stick to it? What would you need to do, specifically, in order to stick to your plan?

If you decide, let’s say you want to give yourself half an hour for lunch. And if you’re one of the people who says, “I can just prep my lunch really fast, it doesn’t take me very long. And then, I can eat it at my desk, and I just work through lunch.” This is you double booking yourself. You can only be doing one thing, meaningfully, at a time. So, if you’re eating lunch, you’re eating lunch. I wouldn’t budget the time that you’re eating lunch to do anything else.

Really allow yourself to be present with whatever it is that you’re doing. You will find, if you time yourself, that’s why we do time audits, that lunch probably takes you longer than 15 minutes. So, whether it’s half an hour or an hour, figure out the amount of time that you want to devote to lunch, and then stick to it.

A way that you can limit the amount of time that you spend on lunch is to eat the same thing every day, or to plan your lunches ahead of time. So, you don’t indulge in any confusion about what to eat and waste time there. How might you need to be willing to feel if you were to do that?

You might need to be willing to feel bored with your lunch selection, and a little deprived, if you want something that you didn’t plan for. If, like you’re craving a Reuben, but you planned to eat a salad from the place in your building, right, you might need to be willing to feel those feelings, in order to stick to your plan.

Now, you spent a big chunk of your afternoon reading and responding to emails, instead of working on that writing assignment. So, if you did that, I want you to take a look at your plan for the day. It didn’t include any time for email. Again, this is how you double book yourself. You, of course, are going to be reading and responding to email throughout the day, you need to plan that in your schedule.

Otherwise, you’re going to get to your end of your day and feel behind, because you read and responded to email when you should have been doing something else. Or, you didn’t read and respond to email, and now you’re doing email at the end of the day, or feeling like you need to get through email. So, you want to make sure you budget email time accordingly. You need to include that in your plan.

I like people to get very clear, by doing the time audit process, how much time they spend, on average, reading and responding to email. And, include that in your plan for the day. You can do it in one big chunk. You can break it up into a couple chunks throughout the day.

I don’t love people being half pregnant between their email and an assignment that they’re working on. You want to be very clear and present with whatever task it is that you’re completing. So, you’re either knowingly working on email, or you’re working on the assignment that you planned. But you don’t want to be doing both at the same time. Multitasking is really inefficient.

So, if you do that, you want to be onto yourself. You want to come up with a different plan. In order to work on the brief, instead of being in your inbox, by the way, you probably are going to have to feel guilty and worried. Guilty, that you’re not getting back to people as fast as you might like to get back to them. And, worried that they’re going to be upset about your response time.

Another thing that I teach people to do here, is to define what responsive means to you. So, you want to figure out how responsive you want to be. What’s your standard? What’s your expectation for yourself? And you want to use that to inform when you’re working in your inbox, when you’re responding to email. And, when you’re working on those more substantive assignments.

Now, in the afternoon, that coworker also stopped by, and they stayed and really, you didn’t have time to talk to them. So, that’s a ‘what didn’t work,’ too. What would you need to do differently there? You might need to set a boundary, and communicate that you aren’t in a position to talk, right now. So, you might need to tell them that you’re in the middle of something.

You’re probably going to have to feel guilty, rude, and worried, as you communicate that. Of course, you can change your thoughts, so you don’t feel those feelings. But you’re a human, and if boundary setting is something that you’re just learning how to do, it’s probably going to feel uncomfortable. So, you’re gonna have to be willing to feel those feelings.

And you would want to take a look at what were the thoughts you were thinking, about telling them that you didn’t have time to talk, that prevented you from doing it. So, maybe you thought that you couldn’t tell them no, or that you want to be a person who has an open-door policy and who’s really accessible. So, you’re gonna have to change those thoughts if you want to create a different result.

You need to think that it’s okay for you to have boundaries. And, that your work, that you’ve planned for the day, is your top priority, and then you help other people when you are able to. Their needs don’t come first, you come first.

Another thing you can do, is to schedule standing meetings with people, to really prevent them dropping by unannounced. You can also build some flex time into your schedule, and flex time is time you literally don’t plan to be doing anything.

So, when something unexpected pops up, it has a place to go in your day, rather than, again, you being double booked. By having a game plan and then tending to that emergency instead, that’s a double booking that you create. So, if you create flex time in your schedule to do nothing, and people love to put flex time in their schedule. And then, in their head, they plan what they’re going to do in their flex time. That’s not proper flex time.

Flex time is really blank. You don’t plan anything for that time. And, you just see what comes up through the day. If nothing comes up, move on to the rest of your schedule. But normally something comes up, so you want to have a place to put that.

You can also have office hours, so you can teach the people that you work with, whether it’s clients or colleagues, when you’re available for those swing-by sessions. Again, you can see how specific the ‘what you will do differently’ section is here. You want to have a very clear plan on how to prevent stuff like this.

Now, you also didn’t get enough done on the brief. You did start working on it late in the afternoon, but you didn’t get enough done on it. So, you want to assess that. Did you not plan enough time? Did you underestimate how long it would take?

Figure out the total number of hours you thought you needed to spend on it. If you thought you would be done with it by the end of the day, and then you ended up really not even making a dent, ask yourself why. You reshuffled a lot, right? You procrastinated, some. You didn’t control your calendar. Kind of the three main offenses, violating those three simple steps.

So, you needed to control your calendar, you needed to honor your plan, but also, maybe you needed to plan on more time to work on it. So, you want to be really clear about that. Maybe you needed longer than you initially gave yourself. And, you want to look at the very specific reasons that you didn’t get enough, done.

You reshuffled. Maybe in the afternoon, even while you were working on it, you stared your screen; you scrolled on Instagram®. Maybe you spent too long looking for templates, and that prevented you from getting started on the research portion. Maybe you went down some rabbit holes. Come up with your game plan, for what you’re going to do differently.

If you were staring at your screen, you might have been feeling confused about where to start, or overwhelmed. Or, feeling inadequate, worried that you’re not going to do a good enough job, and you started to spin, instead of moving forward. If that’s the case, you need to be willing to feel those negative feelings, and work in spite of and despite them.

You also may need to address your thoughts, right? What are some of the positive thoughts you would need to think? And what are the some of the positive emotions you would need to feel, in order to take positive, productive action working on the brief? You might have to feel bothered if you don’t feel like working on the brief. You might need to feel bored. You might need to feel deprived, to not go on Instagram, right? You might need to feel imperfect, if you pick a template, and it’s a little ill-fitting, and you just make it work.

You might need to feel incomplete or unsatiated, if you’re researching and you’re spending too much time going down rabbit holes. So, you want to be really clear about the things that you can do differently. Maybe also, you’ll ask for a template from the person that you’re working for. And maybe, they have a good idea of a great template for you, rather than you struggling to find something on your own.

So, that’s a specific ‘what you could do differently,’ in order to help with the situation. You can also make a much more specific list of the tasks you need to complete that go into the brief. That’s going to help you get a much more accurate time estimate for how long the brief would actually take you. So, you break it down. You’re going to have to have time to find a template, and then to identify the issues you need to research.

How long is it going to take you to research each one? Do you need to start by reading the briefs from earlier in the case, or any other materials that would be relevant to the brief? Maybe a transcript you need to read? What portions are you going to research, and when? How long do you want to spend researching? And, do you want to have work to show for the research you do?

That was another one of the things that didn’t work; you don’t really have anything to show for the work you did. You were just researching. But you didn’t actually put your fingers on the keyboard and type up any of the research, you didn’t summarize anything. You didn’t make headway on the writing portion of the brief.

So, if that’s something that you struggle with, you want to solve for it. What will you do differently? I like to teach people to summarize the research that they do, as they’re doing it. So, either at the end of the session, you don’t stop researching until you’ve summarized what you’ve found for the day.

You can also do case summaries. This is total perfectionism that comes up for people. They read something and they’re like, “Oh, I’ll go back through later, and I’ll make summaries of all these cases.” No, no, no, that’s duplicative. What you want to do, is summarize as you go.

So, even if you want to edit it later, you still have something to show for the work that you did throughout the day. You’d also be able to send that to someone else, to show them the progress that you’re making. So, that’s really good, too.

I also, this is just a little tip and trick, I also used to have two documents, the Word™ document that my brief would be in, and then I’d have a separate document where I’d dump my research. And that second document would become really unworkable and unhelpful after a while, it would just have all these quotes from cases without any context. And, that wasn’t great.

So, if you do that, I really want to advise you to combine the two, and drop your research into the brief document that you’re working on. the outline that you’ve started. That will keep everything all in one place, and it will save you a lot of time, and make you much more efficient in your writing process.

Okay, you also, another thing that didn’t work, is that you didn’t enter any of your time for the day. Because you ended up working later than you planned to, and then you scrambled and ran out the door. So, what do you need to do differently there?

Number one, you need to build in time, in your game plan for the day, to enter your time. I also advise people to plan when they’re going to enter their billable time, and to make a plan for the next day. So, you’re not scrambling the following morning trying to figure out what you’re going to do. So, you want to make your plan, and you want to enter your time.

If you have really negative thoughts about planning and time entry, you’re going to need to change those thoughts. You’re also going to need to feel the negative feelings that you associate with doing those tasks. You get to decide; do you want to put in your time throughout the day? Or, at the end of the day? Pick one and stick to it. Don’t be half pregnant between two different options. That’s a recipe for disaster.

And pay attention to the lies that you tell yourself, like, “Oh, I’ll do it later. Oh, I’ll do it first thing in the morning. Oh, I’ll do it later tonight, when I get home.” That’s your brain selling you snake oil. So, you want to catch those thoughts, be onto yourself, and come up with a specific ‘what you’ll do differently’ gameplan, in order to fix this.

You also need to identify the discomfort that you feel about leaving work when you say you’re going to leave work. Those negative emotions are emotions you’re going to have to allow, in order to stick to your schedule. So, what will you do differently? You’re going to leave on time. You’re going to feel those negative feelings. Maybe you need to feel overwhelmed or again, incomplete, because you’re not done with the work that you planned for the day. And you need to feel those feelings, and leave work anyways.

Now, when you got home, you had planned to do some chores, but you didn’t end up doing them. You want to ask yourself; Do I need to give myself more time? Do I need to force myself to adhere to this plan? Or, was my plan overly ambitious?

You also didn’t get to those three other action items that you had planned for your late afternoon. So, same thing; was your plan overly ambitious? It sounds like it was. Sounds like, if you were being really honest, you would have never had enough time to get to those three things, and work on and complete the brief.

So, going forward, you want to plan less items to complete in a day, when you’re working on a big brief like that. It doesn’t work; you just don’t have enough time. So, you were being overly ambitious about those three extra tasks and about the chores. So, maybe you make a decision to only do chores on the weekends. You might also decide to outsource what you can, right, maybe you hire someone to clean your house. Or, maybe you have a laundry service, rather than needing to do that.

And there may be some negative emotions that you have to be willing to feel, in order to leave the chores to the weekend, or to outsource them. Maybe guilt, maybe shame, maybe embarrassment, right? Maybe you need to feel inadequate.

You can, of course, change the thoughts that cause you to feel all of those feelings. And then, you will just get rid of those negative emotions, if you change your thinking. But if those negative emotions are sticky, you’ve got to be willing to feel them.

Now, one of the things that did work, is that you cooked dinner, you got to eat a healthy meal; amazing. But dinner took too long, so again, it goes back to this consistent question, you can start to see a theme here. Do I need to take less time to do something? Or, do I need to give myself a more honest, accurate allotment of time in order to complete the task?

Dinner’s probably going to take you longer than you budgeted if you’re going to cook. So, you want to make a decision: Do you order out and you plan something healthy to eat? You decide ahead of time. Maybe you have a hit list of places you order from when you order out, that all support your food goals and your nutrition goals. You can do that.

Or, you can decide, no, I do want to cook. But I’m going to give myself more time to cook, because I know, if I’m being really honest, it’s gonna take me a lot longer, probably an hour and a half to prep and prepare dinner. So, you get to make the decision there. But you want to make sure you are decided on how you will approach that moving forward.

Maybe when you’re working on a brief you decide that it’s not the best day to cook. Or, you figure out what you can make in the shortest amount of time, and you make that instead. All right, maybe you want to meal prep, that’s another option.

I find that meal prepping, for people, tends to be a perfectionistic thing that they would love to do, and they plan to do, and then they don’t do. You just want to be really honest with yourself. Are you likely to stick to that? Is it in line with your preferences? Do you like to eat the same thing every day?

If you do, amazing. If you don’t, but you want to implement that. What negative emotions do you need to feel? Probably bored with food. And that’s okay, you can feel bored and eat something that you planned to eat ahead of time, anyways.

Alright, so dinner took too long. You’re going to figure out what you’re going to do differently there. And you also buffered a little bit with TV, right? One episode turned into three episodes. So, you want to figure out what thoughts created that result. Maybe you were thinking; I deserve a break. Or, again, that lovely thought; just one more episode. Just one more, just one more.

And you were feeling entitled, and deserving, and tired maybe, and feeling dread about getting back to work, and just overwhelmed. Nothing good, and maybe guilty. And, you avoided guilt by seeking entertainment. So, you want to make that hit list, of the feelings that you’re going to have to be willing to feel, in order to cut the TV off after the one episode that you watched while you ate dinner.

So, you might have to feel deprived if you limit TV, or annoyed, or frustrated, or constricted, or controlled, or sad. Because you want to watch your shows and you wish you had more time. Again, those are all the different emotions that come up when you are not going to buffer, when you want to interrupt the buffering process.

And buffering is just any activity that you engage in, that allows you to temporarily avoid negative feelings, and provides you with that instant gratification. So, when you don’t buffer, you normally have to feel a lot of deprivation. So, that’s going to be part of your ‘what would you do differently.’

You also get to decide if you want to be someone who works late. You did work late, and maybe that’s something that you think is a ‘what worked.’ Because you did put in a couple extra hours of work on the brief that you’re already a little behind on. But you get to decide how late do you want to work.

You don’t have to work in the evenings, at all. And if that’s the decision you make, what will you need to do differently in order to create that result? You might need to plan better and stick to your schedule. Start work on time. Work without interruptions.

You might need to feel negative feelings, like unfinished, or guilty at the end of the day, because you’re not done with what you wanted to be done with. Maybe underwhelmed by what you accomplished. So many emotions go in to not working late at night.

So, you want to figure out how do you want to approach evenings. Do you want to work? Do you not want to work? I also think this is an area that is ripe for making decisions ahead of time. Like, what’s your drop-dead time for going to bed? If you make that decision ahead of time, you will be a lot more likely to stick to it.

So, maybe you decide what’s enough sleep. Enough sleep is seven hours. So, if you’re going to wake up at 7:30 instead of 6:30, what time do you need to go to bed? 12:30, right? If you want more sleep than that, you just need to work backwards. When do you need to go to bed, in order to give yourself enough rest?

You also want to take a look at the thoughts that you’re thinking, that lead to you staying up late. Some people, I think it’s called “revenge bedtime procrastination.” It’s this concept where, you know you probably shouldn’t stay up as late as you’re going to stay up, but you feel like you never get to spend your time doing the things that you want to do.

So, you kind of self-sabotage by staying up late. In order to do things that you want to do like, scroll on social media. Maybe you want to watch TikTok®; you want to watch TV; you want to read. Whatever the case is, you do those activities, even though you’re going to pay for it in the long run.

The only person you’re hurting is yourself, but you still rebel against going to bed earlier. So, if you do that, you want to make a plan not to do that. Also, if you tend to stay up late, you want to examine what are your thoughts about sleep and needing rest.

I used to have really negative thoughts about sleep. I used to think that it wasn’t important, that I wish I didn’t need it, that I should be able to operate with a lot less of it. And I used to pull all-nighters, as a result, and I ended up being really unproductive. So, you want to take a look at how you think about sleep and about rest.

And I’ve done a whole episode on that before. You can go back and listen to it. I’ll drop it in the show notes, a link to that, for you to listen to. It’s about the sweetness of doing nothing and learning how to rest. But if you’ve got a bad relationship with sleep and rest, you want to take a look at that, and think about what you would need to think, instead.

You also want to identify, like I’ve been saying, I know I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but what are the negative feelings that you’ve been unwilling to feel? And what are the emotions that you need to be willing to feel moving forward, in order to stick to your schedule and go to bed at the time you say you’re going to go to bed?

All right, that’s the full evaluation of your day, right? You went through; you figured out what worked, you made a really comprehensive list of all your wins. And then, you went in to what didn’t work, and what you’d do differently.

And when you do this, you’re gonna have a really comprehensive list. And a ton of awareness as to what you’re doing, why you’re doing it. The thoughts that you’re thinking that are causing the problems. The negative feelings you’re not willing to feel. And the actions that you were taking that didn’t serve you, and the actions that you need to take that you didn’t take. And then, you formulate that game plan for what you’re going to do differently, moving forward.

I told you already, in this episode, this is a very comprehensive evaluation. Because I wanted you to see how full and robust these evaluations can be if you choose to really invest time into this process. You will make massive transformations in how you manage your time, if you do these robust evaluations.

That being said, I am cognizant of the fact that doing a robust evaluation like this takes a decent amount of time. Doesn’t have to take a ton of time, I think you could do a pretty comprehensive evaluation in like 10 minutes; 10-15 minutes a day, where you’d be able to run through the process that I just walked through.

I gave a lot of explanation, but if you were writing this out yourself, you’d be able to do it a lot faster. So, it’s not going to take you an hour, like how long this episode is. That being said, if you just answer one item for what worked, and one item for what didn’t work, and you come up with one very specific solution for what you’ll do differently to remedy that one ‘what didn’t work’ item that you identified, you will still transform your life.

I actually think that that is a really effective way to go about leveraging these evaluations. Because it can be really overwhelming to try and attempt to make all of these changes at once. I love the robust evaluation, but if you pick just one change to make going forward, with each evaluation you do over time, you’re going to make really massive shifts.

So, it may not seem like enough change. It may not seem like you’re moving the dial enough. But I assure you, you will move the dial, even if you just do the simplest, smallest evaluation possible. Okay. I really want to encourage you to try this evaluation process. I think it will be life changing for you.

If you do it, reach out to me on social media. I can’t wait to hear how it goes. Again, it’s very simple: What worked? What didn’t work? What would you do differently? And then, figure out the thoughts, the feelings, and the actions, all right, that are getting in your way and that you would need to change, in order to manage your time more effectively.

All right, my friends. That’s what I’ve got for you this week. I hope this was helpful. I will 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.

Enjoy the Show?

Episode 33: Honoring Your Plan (Time Management Series)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Honoring Your Plan (Time Management Series)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Honoring Your Plan (Time Management Series)

During our Time Management Series, we’ve talked about everything you need to know so you can reclaim control of your calendar and plan your schedule accurately. But today, we’re bringing it all together with step number three: Honoring Your Plan. This is a simple step, but it’s everyone’s least favorite.

You’ve made an accurate plan, but actually going through with it is where the discomfort comes in. However, there are three simple things you can do to honor the amazing plan you’ve already made, and if you do each of these three things consistently, everything else starts taking care of itself.

Tune in this week to discover all the reasons you’ve struggled to honor your well-laid plans in the past, and how to tackle them head-on. I’m sharing the uncomfortable emotions that are going to come up when you start honoring your plan, and how to address the thoughts that make honoring your plans so tricky.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

I have a few masterclasses planned for the coming months. On October 28th, we’re discussing how to set and honor boundaries, and you can sign up for that masterclass by clicking here! November 29th is all about how to be confident. And December 16th, we’re going to work on setting the pace for 2023 by learning to stop tolerating the parts of your life you don’t love. All of the masterclasses are at noon Eastern Time, so mark your calendars.

If you enjoyed today’s show, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why honoring your plan is both the easiest and the hardest part of managing your time.
  • The important difference between comfort and ease.
  • What time-management gurus generally try to teach, and why I find it unhelpful.
  • 3 micro-steps you need to take in order to fully honor your plan.
  • How to see the thoughts and emotions that are currently stopping you from honoring your plan.
  • What you can do to deal with your emotions, understand your thoughts, and take intentional action despite and in spite of them.

 

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 33. Today we’re talking all about how to honor your plan. 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’s it going? I hope you are, well. I am coming at ya live, I guess not really live, because this is recorded. But I am recording this late at night from the comfort of my home. I’m actually home again after all of my travels. And, it’s so nice, was so amazing to see my cats for the first time in a couple of weeks. Shout out to my amazing cousin, Emily, who was kind enough to stay here with them and take care of them while I was gone.

I’m ready to kick things off and get back into a regular work week, which starts tomorrow. My sleep schedules a little wonky because I’ve kind of been all over the globe. Like I said in a previous episode, I feel like Carmen Sandiego. But aside from that, hopefully I get back on track, as far as sleep’s concerned, this week, but it’s good to be home. And it’s good to be getting back into my routine, back into the swing of things. So, I hope you’re about do the same.

By the time you listen to this on Tuesday, you’ll be kind of into your week already. But I hope your routine’s going well. And I’ll record an episode on that, just on routines in general, because I get a lot of questions about routines. But before we talk about routines, which isn’t the subject of today’s episode, I want to finish the conversation we’ve been having about time management.

One of the things that I did while I was traveling, I spoke at Clio Con, and man that couldn’t have gone any better. It was so amazing to speak in front of a live audience. I do monthly webinars, and I have an amazing, engaged audience, but I never get to see them. So, it was so great to be able to speak in person and be on a stage. I really, really loved it. I had a packed house, in the room that I spoke in, which was so lovely, and a virtual audience, as well.

The whole team at Clio Con was just amazing to work with. And, I was so honored to be a part of that team. When I spoke at Clio Con, I talked about how to make the most of your time and how to manage your time. And, that’s what we’ve been talking about here on the podcast for the past couple of weeks.

We’ve been talking about the three P’s; people-pleasing, perfectionism. and procrastination. And then, kind of dovetailing off of procrastination, I hope I’m using that phrase the correct way, but dovetailing, I’ll use it again, off of procrastination, we’ve been talking about time management. So, we’re in this time management series right now.

I’ve been introducing you to the three steps that you need to follow to manage your time. Step number one is you need to reclaim control of your calendar. Step number two is that you’ve got to plan your schedule accurately. And step number three, is the subject of today’s episode. And step number three, is that you need to honor your plan.

Step number three really is that simple. It’s not more complicated than that. You made what I hope would be an accurate plan, after everything I taught you, in the episode about step two. Which was the last episode that I released. So, you know how to plan your schedule accurately, now.

Now, it just comes down to sticking to that schedule, to honoring your plan. So, that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Now, I’m going to be honest with you, this tends to be everyone’s least favorite step. And it’s everyone’s least favorite step because it’s the most uncomfortable. I want to offer you a different way to look at this, a reframe. It might actually be the easiest step; you just have to do what you’ve already planned to do.

It’s literally just following your plan. There’s really no extra thought that goes into it. So, I want to just offer that to you. You can start to think about this as the easiest part of managing your time. But for a lot of people, it’s the hardest. Not because it’s actually hard, but because it’s very uncomfortable to honor your plan, and to do what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it.

And remember, I’ve talked about this before on the podcast, but you want to be really careful to not conflate ease with comfort. Just because something is easy, doesn’t make it comfortable. And, just because something is on uncomfortable doesn’t make it hard. So, you want to be really good at discerning between the two. And to accurately assess why it is you’re avoiding something.

A lot of times we like to say we’re avoiding something because it’s hard. And, it’s not actually hard. So, it’s a little bit of a fib that we tell to ourselves. Beyond onto yourself, if you do this. A lot of times, it’s actually quite easy to do what we’re avoiding, it’s just not comfortable. Which is exactly the case with step three, honoring your plan.

Now, like I said, this isn’t difficult, this isn’t hard, just uncomfortable. I make it even easier for you by breaking this down into another rule of three. And you’ll notice I use rule of threes. It’s an old trial attorney trick; tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them again; tell them what you told them.

So, I use rule of threes because it makes things really easy to remember. That’s why I break time management down under the three simple steps. And then step three, I break down into another rule of three, just to make it even easier for you to follow.

I’ve seen a lot of time management gurus break things down and you have to discern whether something’s important or urgent. And, I find that really unhelpful. I remember when I was practicing, I felt like all of my work was both things all of the time, so it was really hard. And, it also felt really time consuming. I was already scarce on time, or thought that I was scarce on time.

So, I didn’t really want to give more time into making that determination: Was something urgent? Was something important? Was it non-urgent? Was it an emergency? That just felt like a little too cumbersome in the moment, all day long. So, I don’t make you guys do that, I make it really simple.

There are only three things you need to do to honor your plan: You need to start your work on time. You need to work without interruptions. And, you need to end on time. All right? We’re gonna just get a little bit more specific about each of those three things, today.

If you do those three things; start on time work, without interruptions, and end on time, you will honor your plan. One just comes with the other. So, if you follow these miniature, micro three steps, the bigger step, step three, is done.

Now, before I get more specific about each of these three micro steps for honoring your plan, I just want to say that this part of time management truly is a masterclass in learning how to embrace discomfort.

If you haven’t listened to it, yet, go back and listen to Episode #4, Uncomfort Entitlement. That’s really what comes up with people when they don’t honor their plan. They’re entitled to feel uncomfortable, they begin to feel uncomfortable, and then they avoid that discomfort.

So, learning how to honor your plan by; starting on time, working without interruptions, and ending on time, really is a masterclass and learning how to not avoid discomfort, but how to embrace it, instead. Now, with that in mind, we can break this down into these three micro action steps: starting on time, working without interruptions, and ending on time.

Okay, so you’ve made your plan for the day, that was step two. So, you should have something on your calendar, and the time should come to start working on it. All right let’s just say you decided to work on a brief, you were going to do legal research for four hours, from nine to one. It’s 9am, so it’s time for you to start working on that brief, and you don’t feel like doing it.

Typically, when you don’t feel like doing something, you avoid it, you do something else instead. Maybe you procrastinate altogether. You do something that brings you that temporary comfort, instead of honoring your plan.

As we go through each of these three micro steps; start on time, work without interruptions, end on time, what you want to be paying attention to is your reasoning for not doing any of those micro steps. And it’s going to be because you’re unwilling to feel a negative feeling that comes with doing the micro step.

So, taking the micro step number one, starting on time, I want you to be thinking; what types of discomfort come up for you that cause you to not stick to your plan, to not start on time? For a lot of people, they might be feeling confused because they’re thinking; I don’t know where to start. And instead of starting on the project, they don’t start on the project. They just avoid it.

Now, if you planned your schedule accurately, you should have planned to solve for this confusion. You should know where to start, but confusion might be a reason that you tend to avoid getting started. If that’s the case, you just want to be aware of this. You’re going to have to allow yourself to feel confused and work through it, instead of avoiding it or reacting to it.

If you’re anything like me working on discovery responses, you might feel bored or really bothered, or maybe frustrated or annoyed. Maybe you think the project that you’re working on is really pointless or stupid, or there’s a better way to do it.

And when you’re thinking those thoughts, you feel those negative emotions; bothered, annoyed, frustrated. Maybe you just think what you’re working on is really boring. If you think it’s really boring, you will feel bored. And it’s going to create so much resistance for you starting that task, right? So instead, you’re going to avoid those negative feelings by avoiding the task that you plan to do.

The answer here, is to feel these negative feelings on purpose, and take very intentional action, in spite of and despite them. You’re going to feel bored and start the task anyways; you won’t die if you feel bored, I promise. You can feel bothered or annoyed and work on what you planned to work on any ways, instead of avoiding it or reacting to it.

You might be feeling overwhelmed, you just have so much to do. And even though you planned to do this one thing, something else feels more urgent in the moment. You want to get to something else that maybe you didn’t have in your plan for the day, but it just came up. You have to sit with feeling worried and anxious, and stick to your plan. Most of us don’t do that.

Instead, we avoid feeling worried or we react to it. And we don’t follow the plan, we do something else, instead. Maybe we tend to that more urgent task that came in, that we hadn’t anticipated. Same thing happens when we avoid feeling guilty, right? Maybe someone asked us to do something, and we had a plan for the day. And instead of honoring our plan, and feeling guilty about sticking to our plan, we avoid feeling guilty.

Or, we react to feeling guilty, and we people-please, instead of honoring what we said we were going to do and starting on time. So, whether it’s guilt or worry, if you’re not starting tasks on time, you’re not feeling these emotions, you’re avoiding these feelings. They’re uncomfortable, and then you run for the hills. Rather than feeling that discomfort on purpose, and sticking to your plan, and starting on time.

A lot of these emotions are going to be the same, or very similar, for all three micro steps: starting on time, working without interruptions, and ending on time. I want you to be on the lookout for them. You’re going to probably see trends and themes. The common emotions that you don’t like to feel, that you tend to avoid, instead of embrace.

Another big one for people, that will keep them from getting started, their unwillingness to feel it and take action in spite of it, is inadequacy. So, they feel unprepared, or they feel inadequate. Worried that they’re not going to do a great job, maybe that they don’t have the requisite skill set or the knowledge.

They’re not “good enough.” I’m using air quotes; you can’t see it. But they’re not, quote unquote, good enough at doing whatever it is that they’re supposed to be doing. They don’t like doing it and feeling inadequate, so instead, they avoid, right, they push it off, they put it on the backburner. They do something else that they feel more competent and capable to do, or they just procrastinate altogether.

But either way, they’re not sticking to the plan, they’re not starting the work that they planned to do on time. So, you want to be on the lookout: Are you avoiding any of these emotions? Do they start to come up for you? And then, do you try and escape them?

The solution is always going to be to feel them on purpose. Now, people ask me this a lot, “Olivia, you say if your thoughts cause your feelings, we should just be able to change our thoughts, and then we won’t feel these feelings,” totally.

The work that you’re going to be doing here is always tandem. So, you want to find the feelings that you’re feeling, that are coming up for you. And then, you want to find the thoughts that you’re thinking, that are causing you to feel those emotions in the first place. What’s making you feel confused? What’s making you feel bored or bothered, frustrated, or annoyed? Worried? Guilty? Overwhelmed? Inadequate?

You want to find those thoughts and ask yourself: Can I choose to think something else? I love debunking a thought by saying; how is this not true? Right? Remember, our thoughts aren’t true. They’re just statements that our brains serve up to us. They’re subjective, they’re opinions; they’re not true.

So, we can replace them with something else. We can think something else that serves us more. But sometimes our negative thoughts are really sticky. So, you can try and move the dial as much as you possibly can. But if some of that negative thinking still lingers, the negative emotion that is caused by it, is going to linger, too.

And in that case, you’re going to try on a more positive thought that maybe makes you feel committed, or determined, or motivated, or certain, or confident, or compelled. Those are great emotions to cultivate with your thinking. So, you’re going to try and cultivate those positive emotions, by practicing some positive thoughts.

But then, in tandem, you’re also going to allow yourself to experience the lingering negative emotions, okay? They’re going to be there, maybe not as strong as they once were, but they’re gonna still be lingering. And you just have to allow them to be there and take intentional action, in spite of and despite them.

I always like to use the analogy of driving a manual transmission car, a stick shift. You’re doing two things at once; you’ve got the clutch all the way down, and then you’re giving the car a little bit of gas, right? Little less clutch, little more gas. Little less clutch, a little more gas. And you do that in order to start building momentum. And then eventually, you can completely release the clutch and just go down on the gas.

That’s what this process looks like, a little positive thought, a little gas, and a little less negative emotion. A little more positive thinking, a little less negative emotion, until you’re just off to the races. But most of us, when we’re operating based on our default conditioning, and we’re avoiding these negative emotions, or we’re reacting negatively to these negative emotions, we’re letting them drive.

We’re letting the negative feelings dictate what we do, what we accomplish. And we don’t want to give our negative emotions the keys to the car, so to speak, and determine where we ultimately end up, where we ultimately go, what we ultimately achieve.

Instead, we want to let those negative feelings just ride shotgun. Okay, so that’s what you’re going to do. When it comes to starting on time, you’re going to be thinking the positive thoughts that you want to think, in order to start on time. So, ask yourself; what do you need to think, in order to start your work on time, in order to stick to your plan? What are those positive thoughts for you?

I thought that I love, is that I don’t negotiate with myself. If I plan to do it, it’s what I’m going to do. I like to think; this is what I’m doing. Not I might, not I hope to, not I want to do something. I am doing this; I’m doing this when I said I’m going to do it. This is non-negotiable. All right, think about what thoughts you need to think in order to start your work on time.

And then, identify the negative emotions that you have to be willing to feel, and take that action, start on time, in spite of and despite them. You can feel bored, and confused, and bothered, and frustrated, and annoyed, and worried, and guilty, overwhelmed, and inadequate, and start on time anyways. Like I said, this stuff is a masterclass in learning how to feel your negative feelings and take intentional action, in spite of and despite them.

The same thing is gonna be true for the next two micro steps: working without interruptions, and ending on time. Think about when you’re in the midst of working on something and you start to get a little bored or fatigued. Maybe you get a little tired or exasperated, or you get stuck, you start to feel confused, and you’re not quite sure where to go next.

That’s a big one, for me. Confusion always is a direct route for me to buffer. I know that now, so I’m able to catch myself and bring myself back, and work through the confusion. You want to be onto yourself; what are the emotions that come up for you, that drive you to interrupt yourself? Maybe it’s that worry or that guilt?

Someone else is calling you and instead of sticking to what you’re doing, you want to answer because you don’t want to feel worried, or guilty. Or, you feel bored, so you welcome the distraction, right? Instead of sticking to what you’re doing, what you planned to do during that time, and feeling your negative feelings. Instead sticking to the plan in spite of them.

Same thing goes with ending on time. And ending on time is actually, I guess, a little bit different because with ending on time, normally you’re coming up against your perfectionism. We will take as long as we give ourselves to complete something, I believe that’s Parkinson’s Law. As far as time management goes, you will take as long as you give yourself.

So, even if you are planning to do something in an afternoon, if you really have two days to work on something, you’ll take the two days. Which is really counterintuitive, because if you could just do it in an afternoon, you would free up so much extra time by doing it in the afternoon, rather than letting it languish and fill up two days’ worth of your time, right?

You want to be onto yourself if you have a tendency to do that. It’s a natural human tendency. But once you become aware of it, you can guard against it, right. So, that’s what we want to do here. When you’re in indulging in your perfectionist tendencies. And you’re overworking something, and you’re letting it languish, you’re letting it go on and on and on, what you want to do is you want to identify that course of action, and the emotions that are associated with it.

How would you be forced to feel if you forced yourself to stop working on something? How would you be forced to feel, if you constrained to finishing your task in the time that you planned for it? Right? Normally, people have to feel imperfect, and that’s really uncomfortable. Unfinished, if you think it could just be a little bit better, right?

Maybe you have to feel some fear, or some worry that something bad might happen, because you didn’t put that extra little bit of perfection into something. That’s what leads us to pour so much more time into tasks that we take on, than what is actually necessary. And a great way to guard against this is to define what a good enough job is.

And then, when you reach that point, you want to make sure it’s objective and attainable, when you reach that point, you can stop yourself, right. And if you’ve planned accurately, you should have given yourself just the right amount of time to be able to do something in a satisfactory manner, not in a perfect manner.

Because, A, that’s not attainable to begin with. B, it’s also not necessary for doing a, quote unquote, “good enough” job. But you should have given yourself enough time to do a, quote unquote, “good enough” job. And when you reach that point that you’re able to easily identify, because of how you’ve defined it, then you can stop yourself, alright? You can complete the task within the timeframe that you gave yourself to complete it, you can end on time.

Same thing goes if you’ve planned things back-to-back, to back, to back, right. So, in order to start one thing on time, you need to have ended the thing that you were working on before that on time, as well. This is how it goes all together; you need to start on time, work without interruptions, and end on time.

Now, if you start on time and work without interruptions, ending on time gets a lot easier. You’re really just battling that last part, that perfectionism, or you didn’t plan enough time. And if that’s the case, you’re just going to take note of that and do better next time. I’m going to talk about that in a second.

But if you’ve done the first two micro steps; started on time and worked without interruptions, ending on time should not be that much of a challenge. But for that perfectionism. Now, let’s talk about not letting your perfectionism be the enemy of completing step three of honoring your plan, okay?

This is where people really struggle with time management. They make a plan, and then when it comes time to honor it, they don’t stick to it. And they get really frustrated, and they give up. They throw in the towel, they want to be good at this immediately, they want to see a night and day difference, and get a lot of traction instantaneously.

I promise you, that’s very, very unlikely. You’re working with time in an entirely different way than you have most of your life, or all of your life, right. So, this probably is not going to be a night and day change, overnight. It’s going to take some time. There’s going to be a lot of trial and error.

And you just have to accept that, make peace with it. You don’t need to make it a problem because it isn’t one. And instead, you just want to embrace this learning process. You’re going to make a plan in step two, and then you are going to practice honoring it. Every single day you get a new opportunity to do this. And every day, at the end of your day, you’re going to evaluate.

I’m going to do a whole episode on time management evaluations, so you really know how to do this. But you’re just going to figure out; what worked, what didn’t work? What do I need to do differently tomorrow? And you’re going to learn; why did I not stick to my plan? It’s only one of three reasons: Either you didn’t start on time. You didn’t work without interruptions. Or, you didn’t end on time.

If you do either of those three things, or any of those three things, you just want to ask yourself, why? Or, if it’s a combination of those three things. For each one, identify what specifically you didn’t do; you either didn’t start on time, you didn’t work without interruptions, or you didn’t end on time.

And you just want to ask yourself, why? Why didn’t you do those things? What happened instead? Remember, this is a masterclass in feeling uncomfortable feelings on purpose. So, you can always start with; what were the negative emotions I was unwilling to feel? What kinds of comfort was I feeling entitled to, instead?

Then, your work just becomes to practice feeling your negative feelings, and sticking to your plan, in spite of them. This will get easier, and easier, and easier, over time. And again, in tandem, you want to be working on these two things; feeling your feelings, and cultivating the positive thoughts, the positive mindset that get you to stick to your plan.

So, what are the positive thoughts that you need to be thinking about your work, about individual tasks, about your to-do list, that would make you stick to your plan? How would you need to feel to stick to your plan? What are those positive one-word emotions that would drive you to do that?

To recap: Three micro steps; start on time, work without interruptions, and end on time. For each one, be identifying the negative emotions that you have to be willing to feel. And then, think about the positive thoughts you want to be thinking, you want to be practicing, in order to stick to your plan.

And then, just practice. Get a little bit better, like 1% better, at this every single day. Take action, audit the action that you took, and then adapt. Fix what’s not working and try again the next day. I promise, over time, you will get better and better and better at honoring your plan. And remember, it doesn’t have to be hard, it’s just probably not going to be comfortable; that’s okay. You can honor your plan anyways.

All right, my friends. Those are those three simple steps to managing your time: You’ve got to reclaim control of your calendar. Plan your schedule accurately. And, honor your plan. To honor your plan, you just take those three micro steps; start on time, work without interruptions, and end on time.

I’m going to do a whole episode, like I said just a second ago, on how to do a time management evaluation. So, you’re able to get the most out of your evaluations, in order to make the most progress. In order to improve as quickly as you can with this act, audit, adapt process. That’s for a different episode, though.

So, in the meantime, have a beautiful week. I will 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.

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Episode 32: Planning Your Schedule Accurately (Time Management Series)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Planning Your Schedule Accurately (Time Management Series)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Planning Your Schedule Accurately (Time Management Series)

There are three steps you need to follow in order to manage your time effectively. Last week, we took a deep dive into the first step: Reclaiming Control of Your Calendar. So, now you see how much control you really have over your time, today, we’re looking at step two in this process, which is to start planning your schedule accurately.

Building a schedule is all about addition, subtraction, and making the most out of your 24 hours in each day. This is my favorite step out of the three because I love numbers. However, if you’re not a fan of math, I’m making it easy for you in this episode.

Tune in this week to discover how to start planning your schedule accurately. I’m sharing how perfectionism sneaks into our scheduling, and the many other ways I see people setting themselves up for time-management failure. I’m also sharing my process for accurate planning, so you can account for everything that we tend to ignore when scheduling our time.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

I have a few masterclasses planned for the coming months. On October 28th, we’re discussing how to set and honor boundaries, and you can sign up for that masterclass by clicking here! November 29th is all about how to be confident. And December 16th, we’re going to work on setting the pace for 2023 by learning to stop tolerating the parts of your life you don’t love. All of the masterclasses are at noon Eastern Time, so mark your calendars.

If you enjoyed today’s show, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why planning your schedule, at its core, is a math problem.
  • My two-step process for planning your schedule accurately.
  • What a fantasy plan looks like and how to avoid making one.
  • My practical tips for creating one single to-do list.
  • Why all humans have a tendency to underestimate how long it takes them to complete a task.
  • The rules about what goes on your calendar, and what doesn’t.
  • Why seeing your schedule laid out visually makes such a huge difference in understanding how you’re spending your time.
  • How to utilize the pockets of time you’ve created to do deep, uninterrupted, substantive work.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 32. We’re talking all about planning your schedule accurately. 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.

Hi, my friends. How we doing? I am tuning in live from Nashville. I thought I was going to talk to you, while I was in Italy, a little bit more than I did. But turns out, I was too busy having fun. So, you’re coming along with me in the second leg of my trip. I spent a little bit of time in New York. I spent about a week in Italy. And now, I’m in Nashville for the Clio Cloud Conference.

And then, I’ll be heading to Charleston to do a little live event reconnaissance. In order to scope out some venues and some great spaces to meet with people, and come together for the next round of The Less Stressed Lawyer mastermind. So now, we’re on the States side portion of my travels. And I’m so excited to bring you along with me for the ride, and talk to you as I go from spot to spot to spot.

I hope you’re doing as well as I am. Things have been busy over here with all the travel, but things are really good. I just got into Nashville tonight. And after, I don’t know, like 22 hours of travel, I think… Between going from Positano to Rome, flying from Rome to Atlanta, Atlanta to Nashville, and then getting here, it’s been a long day.

But I’m super excited to talk about today’s topic. And, I didn’t want to keep you guys waiting. So, we’re gonna dive right in. Let’s do a little recap while we’re at it. Okay, so we’re talking about time management, and the time management series is part of the three P’s, that I’m teaching you guys about; how to overcome people-pleasing, how to overcome perfectionism, and how to overcome procrastination.

Okay, so as part of that third P, the procrastination part, we’ve been talking about time management. And we’re now into the part of the time management series, where I’m teaching you the three simple steps that you need to follow, in order to manage your time effectively.

And remember, those simple steps are that you need to control, or better yet, reclaim control of your calendar. Step two is that you need to plan your schedule accurately. And step three, is that you need to honor your plan.

So today, we’re really going to dive in deep and explore step two of that process. We’re going to talk about planning your schedule accurately. Okay? Now, I think out of the three steps, this might be my favorite step. And it’s because it’s the most numbers-based. For those of you who aren’t fans of doing math, we’re gonna make a little love to some math in this episode. You’re gonna be just fine, you’re gonna survive it. I promise, it’s going to be okay.

I actually think it’s really important to underscore that time management is a math problem. It’s numbers-based, right? We’re doing the addition, subtraction, and just the simple mathematics, of how a numeric allotment of something works. We have a certain number of minutes, hours in the day, and we get to split them up however we want to.

But we want to be really intentional with how we spend them. I always like to think of it like an allowance that you get through the day. And you want to be intentional with how you budget. I know a lot of people have an emotional response to the term budget, but a budget really is within your control to create. You get to spend your time allowance however you want. But there’s definitely a numbers-based aspect to time management; time management is a math problem.

It’s just made complicated by an unmanaged mind. So, there’s the math part of it. And then, there’s the mind drama. And the reason that I think step two, out of the three steps, is the easiest one to tackle is because it’s the one that really focuses on the math, not the mind drama.

When you’re talking about reclaiming control of your calendar, you are typically talking about setting boundaries and saying no. There’s a lot of mind drama that comes with that. It’s very emotional for people, a lot of guilt, a lot of worry.

When you talk about honoring your plan and sticking to your schedule, that’s super uncomfortable for people. It requires you to feel confused and get started anyways. To feel overwhelmed and work through it. To feel bored or bothered and get to work, regardless. Those two, the first and the third steps, are so emotionally heavy. Lots of mind drama, lots of resistance.

This second step, I really think is the easiest part, because it really just focuses on the math and there’s not a ton of mind drama. That being said, it’s not entirely intuitive, which is why I wanted to devote an entire episode to it. Just to really break it down and make it super simple for you guys. But I definitely think it’s the easiest part, because it has much less of the mind management component and just focusing on the numbers.

So, with step number two, planning your schedule accurately, what we see here, is really one step that breaks down into two separate components. There’s the planning part of this step, and then there’s the second part, the accuracy part. So, planning your schedule accurately.

First, we have to plan and then we have to make sure the plan is accurate. We’ll focus on the first part, the first component of this step, the planning part. And here’s what I tend to see, a couple different ways that people approach planning their schedule.

All right, number one, they don’t plan at all. And there’s a couple different reasons why people will avoid making a plan entirely. Number one, it’s their perfectionism showing, I talked about this, when I discussed perfectionism. That people don’t like to make a plan, they don’t like to get a game plan together, because if they don’t think they’re going to stick to it, that really triggers their perfectionism.

They feel like they’re falling short, and they’d rather not try at all, not make any plan, because if they’re going to not stick to it perfectly, it conjures up a sense of inadequacy and imperfection that’s very uncomfortable for them. So, you can’t fail if you don’t make any plan to begin with. That’s definitely perfectionism driving, not making any plan.

People also might think that planning is pointless if they really don’t have any self-trust, that they’re going to stick to the plan that they create. They have a lot of self-doubt that they’re going to be capable of sticking to the plan. They won’t even make one, because they just think that it’s superfluous, there’s no point in doing it.

People also tell themselves that they don’t have the time to make a plan. And, we want to make the time. All right, I understand if you feel scarce on time, if you feel really overwhelmed, behind, pressured. It’s going to be a little bit of a tall order, in the beginning, to set aside a little bit of time.

Not a lot of time, but just a little bit of time to make a plan. Those minutes are going to seem scarce, and you’re going to be telling yourself that you could be spending them in some other better way.

Now, sometimes people will plan as a form of procrastination. And you really want to be careful, and be on to yourself here, to make sure you’re not doing that. All right, a plan should not take you very long to put together. I would say if you’re planning more than five minutes, really, you’re taking too long doing it; but definitely more than 15. We don’t need any more time devoted to planning than that.

So, you want to make the time, you want to really get out of the mindset that you don’t have the time to create a plan. This is going to save you so much time, because you’re going to be so much more intentional with how you spend your time. We’re going to find some minutes in the day so you can plan.

And then, people will also not make a plan because they think that they can do this in their head. And there are a lot of different reasons why we don’t want to make the plan in our head. Number one, you’re much more likely to stick to something if you write it down. Number two, there’s a lot of trial and error, and tweaking and learning, that comes from seeing your time visually.

Understanding how it’s laid out, and being able to evaluate what worked, what didn’t work, what will you do differently. Being able to observe conflicts or see what’s really unrealistic that maybe, if it was just in your head, you’d think it was totally doable.

So, you really need to see it mapped out on your calendar, that’s very important. We want to make sure that we’re making a plan. That’s one of the things that I see for the planning part, that people don’t make any plan. I will also see people only plan external meetings, where they’re meeting with someone else.

I will see people make fantasy plans. So, they’re very perfectionistic and they’re very ideal, but they’re completely detached from reality. There’s no way that you’d ever be able to complete the plan. So, very lofty plans, very overwhelming plans, that you’re not going to stick to.

That helps perfectionists feel like they’ve accomplished something amazing, something really miraculous. And, you actually haven’t done any of the work, but you got the dopamine hit that comes from that really lavish, extravagant fantasy planning. So, you want to be onto yourself if you do that, as part of your perfectionistic tendencies, creating fantasy plans and then never sticking to them. Okay.

And then, I also see people make the mistake of only planning work. They don’t plan any of the stuff that’s required for them to be humans and to have a personal life. So, that ends up creating a disaster, as well.

And if you’re doing any of these things; not making a plan, only planning external meetings, creating fantasy plans, or only planning work, you’re going to see that each one of those forms of planning really creates a disaster.

Here are some of the consequences I see from doing those things. Number one, you don’t prioritize your most important work. So, if you’re only planning external meetings, or you’re only planning when you meet with other people, that leaves off so much of the important work that you have to do, that’s just work that you do alone.

And if you’re not factoring that into your schedule, and making it really your top priority, it’s going to be an afterthought. It’s not going to get the time that is really required for you to do your best work.

You will also see, if you’re only planning external meetings, or you’re only planning work, that you’re really double-booking yourself, a lot of the times. This also happens when you’re not making any plan, you’re doing the math in your head, and you’re probably doing the math wrong. And you’re double-booking yourself; you’re spending time in your email, and you’re not accounting for email.

You’re thinking that you’ll be using that time to be working on drafting a contract, or writing up a brief, or doing legal research, and you’re not factoring in that you’re going to have to take a break and go get a coffee throughout the day. So, that counts as double-booking yourself; you’re doing both things, and that time has to go somewhere. You’re not going to be able to multitask; multitasking is such a myth. So, you’re creating double-booking.

This also happens when you think that you’re going to be traveling to work or traveling to meet someone, when really, it’s going to take you longer to get ready in the morning than you anticipate, because you’re not doing the math, right; you’re not planning it out. So, you double-book yourself there, between the personal and the professional.

And ultimately, what happens here, is that you set yourself up for failure. You set yourself up to constantly be behind, to have a schedule that doesn’t work for you, because you’re doing the math wrong; when you’re not planning, not putting things on your calendar, only planning those external meetings, only planning work, creating those fantasy plans that would never work out. …If you actually focused on doing the math right.

You also never make time for yourself if you’re only planning work or only planning things that are external. You never make time for yourself. All of your individual needs end up coming last, and they get left off. Again, if you do end up making time for some of them, you’re double-booking yourself. So, then you’re creating the problem of being behind.

And the other issue that I see here, is that you leave out things that you are actually doing. This also goes to the whole double-booking concept. If it takes you 10 minutes to get dressed and get out the door, and you’re not realizing that it takes you 10 minutes to do that, you’re leaving things out that you’re not doing. It’s going to take you 10 minutes, regardless. You’re just going to be behind schedule because you didn’t account for those 10 minutes.

Same thing if you have a meeting that, let’s say, it starts at 3pm. It takes you five minutes to walk to the meeting. I know this seems really obvious, as I say it to you, it might, but if that’s the case, this isn’t obvious for everyone.

And, you know, you have to plan into your schedule that it’s going to take you the five minutes to walk down the hall, or to change floors, or to get in the elevator. There might be a little bit of a wait for the elevator. Or, that you’re going to take the stairs and that that’s going to take a few minutes. You have to build all of that into your plan.

And when you don’t, you double-book yourself and you end up making yourself behind. If you’re someone who’s chronically late, I have a lot of clients that really struggle with being timely, with being punctual. It’s because they’re double-booking themselves. They’re not paying attention to how long things take. They’re not getting the math, right.

Like I said, you end up doing these things, but you’re just not planning to do them, so you’re always behind. This leads to a lot of unnecessary stress, a lot of unnecessary frustration, a lot of unnecessary guilt, a lot of unnecessary worry and fear. It makes your life much more dramatic, much more chaotic, much more emotional. And that emotional weight can be really exhausting, right.

It’s such a distraction that really prevents us from doing our best work, from showing up at the highest level. We want to make sure that we’re not doing this, so we can live a much more intentional, calm, grounded life. It’s such a gift that you get to give yourself when you really master time management.

I remember I used to think time management wasn’t sexy. And then, I finally decided that I wanted to be someone who mastered this, and as I have mastered it, it is sexy to be someone who’s calm all the time. It is sexy to be someone who’s punctual; who doesn’t feel messy or chaotic, who’s not scrambling, running around, feeling really frantic; that feels terrible.

It’s also how people experience you. I really have changed my thoughts about this, to see that as being kind of sloppy, and unintentional, and unprofessional. And I wanted to become someone who was really polished, really sophisticated, really intentional with everything that they do.

And like I said, I used to kind of think that that was boring, but I don’t, now. I think it’s something that’s really admirable and impressive. So, you want to be careful of how you think about being someone who is scheduled. If you think really negative thoughts about it, you’re never going to do it. You want to make sure you’re cultivating that mindset, in order to set yourself up for success here.

Now, once you’ve done that, once you’ve sold yourself on being someone who plans, being someone who’s scheduled, because you’re convinced, and maybe you have to take my word for it, that’s fine. But you’re convinced, or at least hopeful, that I might be on to something, that it’s a better way to live your life. It’s a simpler, calmer, more polished, more professional way to live your life, and that it’s something that you want to strive for and achieve.

Once you get yourself there, then we get to undo a lot of these bad habits and start to implement a proper planning strategy. Okay. So, here’s what I teach my clients to do. Number one, and I think I’ve mentioned this already on the podcast, but I’m just going to restate it here.

You want to have one to-do list. And I know you probably love your written to-do lists, but it’s got to go. So, you want your to do list to be electronic. And this is why; number one, you can copy and paste, and reorganize things, and delete things.

And you don’t have to keep rewriting the same list over and over and over again, because you crossed half of the things off, and then you want to make a fresh list. And now, you’ve got multiple lists and you can’t keep track of your lists. That’s so confusing, we don’t want that.

You’re going to create one electronic to-do list. I use the Notes app in my iPhone because it syncs with my computer. That’s what’s easiest for me, I want to be able to have access to it on my cell phone. A client of mine recently told me that Microsoft now has a to-do list app, that you can have on your phone, and syncs with Outlook.

So, if you’re a Microsoft user, not an Apple user, check into that, look into it, see if that’s an option that would work for you. But you want to come up with your one electronic to-do list.

You’re also going to have one calendar. I know people also don’t love this because we’d love to have everything compartmentalized. I really don’t think that works; I think it makes for a really cumbersome process.

And not all of your calendars end up talking to one another. And it can lead to you getting double-booked. It can lead to some things slipping through the cracks, and a conflict being created when it would have been otherwise avoided, if you had just been using one calendar.

So, I use my work calendar for absolutely everything. My personal dinners with friends go on my work calendar. Everything syncs with my electronic scheduler, my Calendly. So, my availability is always up to date, and I never get double-booked. That’s really important to me, to avoid those unnecessary conflicts.

Now we’ve got one electronic to-do list, one calendar, and here’s what you’re going to do. In the beginning, we’re going to plan day-by-day. And you’re going to plan a day in advance. Because you access a different part of your brain when you plan a day in advance.

You use your prefrontal cortex, which is much more logical, much more supportive of your long-term goals; what you want to achieve in the long term. Rather than the primitive part of your brain, which is what you use when you make decisions in the moment.

And that’s that primitive part of your brain that’s just looking to protect you. It wants to seek pleasure, avoid discomfort, and conserve energy. So, it’s really going to set you up to fail, because it’s going to do all of the things that are really instant gratification seeking, instead of being aligned with your long-term goals; the long-term success that you want to achieve.

So, you want to plan a day in advance. All right. Over time, we’re going to work on working up to sketching out your week, sketching out your month. But you still want to check your plan for the following day, a day in advance, as you go throughout this planning process.

Now, first things first, you need to plan in how long it’s going to take you to just be a human every day. All right. How many hours do you want to sleep on average? You need to start to build in that structure to your schedule; start there. How long does your morning routine take on a given day? And, you want to be really honest with yourself about this.

We’re going to do some trial and error and gather some data. I’m going to talk about that in a second. But you want to start making a guess and putting in the amount of sleep that you want, how long it takes you to get ready in the morning, what you like to do in the morning. Are you a person that eats lunch? What do you do for dinner? How do you spend your evenings? What time do you go to bed? You want to start to put in these staples throughout your day. And, this is going to give you a better sense of how much time you actually have to devote to work.

I don’t want you to look at your to-do list and say, this is what I “need” to get done in a day. And then, everything else is going to be an afterthought. It just doesn’t work because you end up doing the humaning things anyways. And then, you set yourself up for failure; you end up being behind. So, we’re not going to do it that way.

We’re going to plan for your life first, and then we’re going to work ‘work’ into the schedule. Okay. Now, in the past, I did an episode on making decisions ahead of time. That is a great episode, if you haven’t listened to it already, to go back and listen to after you finish this episode. Or, to go back and listen to it as a little bit of a refresher.

But this part of your schedule is really ripe for making decisions ahead of time and sticking to them. It’s gonna make the planning process so much easier because you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every single day. So, you can have kind of a week day protocol, where you’ve made decisions ahead of time about how you spend your time. You can have every day be the same if that’s easier for you.

Planning gets really simple when you make one decision, and you repetitively honor it over and over and over again. And again, it’s not boring, I promise. Even if it sounds boring, even if it sounds restrictive. It’s not, it is really so freeing to plan your time this way.

So, let me give you an example of this, of making decisions ahead of time and building them into your process, building them into your game plan for the day. If you’re someone who likes to work out, and again, I mentioned on a previous episode, we want to make sure you’re planning in alignment with your preferences.

So, if you don’t like to work out, and if we’re being really honest that you’re not going to work out every day, don’t build that into the plan. That’s a bad plan; you’re not going to stick to it. I always like to tell my clients; you want your plan to be something that you think you’ll stick to. On a scale of 1 to 10, you want to be at an 8 or higher. Okay, I’m great if it’s a 10. And we’ll see once we actually implement the plan if you do stick to it at level 10.

In the beginning, you probably won’t. There’s going to be a little room for error and room for improvement; That’s fine, that’s normal. Tell your perfectionism to take a chill pill for a second. There’s gonna be some imperfection in this process, as you learn to become someone who plans accurately and then sticks to the plan.

But don’t make a plan that’s far out of alignment with how you prefer to spend your time. So, if you are not someone who works out, don’t plan to work out. If you are someone who works out, be really honest, how long does that take? How long does your workout take between getting dressed? Maybe you work out from home?

Or, maybe you have to go to a gym, right? If you go to a gym, how long does that take? You’ve got to put that in the plan. How long will you be at the gym? From entering the gym to the time you actually work out, to leaving the gym, to getting back in your car. And then, going back home and showering, getting ready for the day, right? You have to build all of that into your schedule. So, we’re going to have to figure out how long that takes.

Same thing if you have a particular morning routine. I’m working with a client on this, right now. We’re working on creating a morning routine that he can stick to. And one of the things that he’s on the fence about is do I eat breakfast every day? And I know it can sound a little strict to make that decision every single day right now, for every single day right now. But you want to.

It just doesn’t make any sense to me, to be undecided every day about whether you’re going to eat breakfast or not eat breakfast, alright? That’s something that you can really systematize. Everything becomes easier when you decide that you’re a breakfast person or you’re not a breakfast person. I’m not a breakfast person. So, I never have to factor that time into my schedule.

If you are a breakfast person, and you decide every day you eat breakfast, think about all of the other decisions that go into making that; what are you going to eat? What time do you eat? When do you eat? How long do you want to devote to the process of eating breakfast? Is there cleanup that you do? Do you grab something on the go as part of your commute? Right?

All of those decisions go into that, and you don’t want to be making those decisions in real time. Again, that’s how you end up double-booking yourself or planning really inaccurately. It’s because you didn’t make a plan at all.

Another example of this would be packing, right? When do you pack before a trip? I pack the night before. I don’t like to leave it till the morning. I used to leave it till the morning, and now I’m really realistic about how long it takes me to pack. I just don’t have that kind of time, normally, in the morning, so I like to pack the night before.

Same thing with grocery shopping, like, when do you do that? How long does that take you? I do a lot of my grocery shopping via the Shipt® app, that makes it super convenient for me. But I want to build that into my routine. There’s going to be time devoted every week to that process.

And if I’m not building that into my plan, I end up double-booking myself. Because in my head, I’ve allotted that time to doing something else. And then. I end up spending it grocery, shopping on my phone, because I need to have things for the week, right?

So again, these are things that you can decide ahead of time, and build into your plan to create a lot of structure, to create a lot of routine, and make your life a lot simpler. Okay, I really do think that it’s kind of insane, that you would leave this undecided, things like this. The simple everyday things that you do over and over and over again, you really want to make one decision, one time, and stick to it. It makes everything so much easier. Same thing with lunch. Same thing with dinner. You can really build in a lot of structure. And again, this comes back to this mindset component; you really need to become someone who stops believing that there’s benefit to living your life in a see-as-I-go manner.

I used to think that being scheduled was really constraining and boring, and that I wanted to be more spontaneous, and just go with the flow, and plan as I go. And that really is not the best way to go through life. That ends up being, again, very chaotic, very messy, pretty frantic.

So, it’s not restrictive, to make these decisions ahead of time and stick to them. Do you always have free will to make a change in the moment? Yes, you do. I just don’t want that to be the way that you live every minute of your life.

It makes for a really unintentional way that you would go about living every day. And you squander a lot of time, your most precious resource, when you’re not being intentional with how you spend your time, with making these decisions ahead of time.

And it creates an ability for you to do a lot more, not less, when you make these decisions. When you create a schedule and plan this way, it allows you to do it with that calm, grounded intention. Okay? I promise, if you’re skeptical, give it a try and see how much time you get back, how much time you save, how much more you’re able to accomplish, how much calmer your life feels when you make plans this way.

All right, so you’ve got the one calendar, you’ve got the one schedule. the one to-do list, you’re gonna plan your day, a minimum one day in advance, and you’re gonna work up to sketching out your week and your month, right? As you start to do this, the rule needs to be everything goes on the calendar, okay? Because you want to get that visual representation of how long things are going to take you.

So, breakfast goes on the calendar. Don’t give me, that it’s gonna take you too long to do this. You can set up recurring appointments. I do this all the time. So, your days, that structure, that skeleton outline, so to speak, is already set up in advance. If you’re someone who does breakfast every day, create a recurring calendar event, so your calendar reflects time for breakfast. So, you don’t double-book that time.

You’re going to have your main structure, sleep, your human routines. And then, you’re going to put those meetings on your calendar, if you have recurring meetings. I love a recurring meeting and creating a calendar event. So, that time is safeguarded and blocked off on your calendar.

And then, you’re going to start to see these pockets of time that you’re able to do work in. Between those recurring meetings or one-off meetings, all of those go on the schedule. And my rule with those is, that as soon as the need arises to create a calendar event, you create it.

And we do that because it’s going to prevent against you being double-booked. It’s going to prevent against creating unnecessary conflicts, because you didn’t put something on your calendar, and then you forget. Because we’re fallible, as humans, and sometimes we don’t remember everything that we have planned.

So, you want this to become a process where, before you commit to anything, you’re able to go to your calendar, check to see if you’re available. Or, you’re using an electronic scheduler like I do, and your availability is already blocked off. So, people wouldn’t even be able to get access to that time slot.

But if you’re doing this in real time and you’re checking your phone, checking your calendar, to see if you’re free or not, that meeting, that conflict would already be there. And then, you would very clearly see that you are not free at that time. So, you would request another time slot.

I used to have a boss who never did this. And he would always just people- please judges, and take whatever court date they gave him. He would create so many unnecessary conflicts, that we would then, at our office, have to spend so much time unworking.

We’d have to ask for a lot of adjournments, you’d have to draft a motion, you’d have to call the prosecutor. It created all of this busy work. you’d have to call the court, in order to request the adjournment, in order to get hearing date for the adjournment, it was such a nightmare.

And it was completely avoidable, such a time suck, completely unnecessary. All he would have had to do, if he followed my system, would be to check his calendar while in court. Say, “Judge, that date doesn’t work for me.” The judge will not be pissed, they don’t care; I promise you.

They don’t care. They would much rather you just give them your actual availability, than to give an answer that’s inaccurate. Or, for you to show up late because you double-booked yourself, and planned to be in two places at once. That’s never going to work, right? So, you would check your schedule, and you would be able to see you’re not free at that time. And you’d be able to give a time that you’re actually available.

Now, speaking of court hearings, or things like that, if you have out of office meetings or things that require travel, you want to build in that travel time as part of your schedule, too. My hairdresser is an hour away from me; he’s a really good friend of mine, and I’ve gone to him for years now. I need to factor into my schedule that it’s going to take me at least 45 minutes. If there’s traffic it’s going to take me longer, I have to build that into my plan.

So, not only do I block out more than enough time for my hair appointment, and I like to do that at the end of the day, so I don’t have anything after my hair appointment, just in case it takes longer. But I’m really conservative with how long I estimate that it will take. I normally give myself a lot of time. I also build in that it’s going to take me about an hour to get there, just in case there’s traffic, and then an hour to get home. So, all of that goes on my calendar, too.

If you have out of office meetings, or meetings that require travel, hearings that require travel, you want to make sure you’re putting in that travel time. I just had a conversation with a client of mine, and she realized that she wasn’t doing this. It always led to her being behind because people would schedule her back-to-back, people in her office, which goes back to reclaiming control of your calendar.

But people would schedule her, and they wouldn’t factor in that she would need travel time in between these two meetings. And then, she would end up being late for things, because she didn’t put that travel time on her schedule. So, you want to make sure that you’re planning your travel time.

Now as you start to do this, you’re going to see these pockets of time start to appear. Between the meetings that you have. Between your regular everyday routines, as part of being a human. You’re going to have these uninterrupted pockets of time where you’re able to do work. I want you to start to get a sense of how long email takes you. Because this is such an area where people double-book themselves.

They don’t realize that they spend three hours a day reading, responding to emails. So, they plan, let’s say, after you’ve created your structured skeleton, you have about seven or eight hours of uninterrupted time where you’re able to do focused work, okay.

And you’ll also see if you have a lot of meetings scattered all over the place; can you consolidate that? I’ve talked about this before, with making decisions ahead of time and constraining when you do things. This is why we want to be doing that. It makes it so much easier for you to have these big chunks of time where you’re able to do really deep, focused work, rather than jumping, kind of, in a scattered, frantic manner between one thing and another thing.

Constantly interrupting yourself. Not really allowing yourself, or creating any opportunity, for you to do that really deep, focused uninterrupted work. So, these pockets of time should start to appear to you. And you’re going to get a general sense that on a given day, you have a certain number of hours to play with here. For a lot of my clients, it’s somewhere around, between six to eight hours, depending about how long you’re willing to work.

Now, if you’re someone who spends, like I said, close to three hours a day, reading and responding to email, you want to build those three hours into your schedule. Instead of planning eight hours of deep uninterrupted work on projects, on substantive assignments, and then not factoring in any of the three hours that you’d be spending on email, right?

If you plan eight hours of deep, substantive work, and then you also end up spending three hours of time on email, you’re either going to be working 11 hours, instead of the eight that you planned. Or, you’re going to work the eight hours, but you’re only going to get five hours of that deep, focused work done. And you’re going to spend the other three hours on email, and then you’re going to get to the end of your day and feel really behind. That feels terrible. So, that’s really what we’re trying to avoid here, by planning.

Now, once you see these pockets of time; you’ve built in your email, you’ve planned for that. You’re going to see how much time you have left over in the day for those uninterrupted tasks, that deep work, okay. And maybe it’s five hours, maybe it’s six hours, whatever it is, depending if you have a really heavy meeting day, it might be a lot less than that.

But what you’re going to do, is you’re going to take a look at your to-do list, and then you’re going to start putting, like puzzle pieces, like little bricks, like Legos®, you’re going to start putting those tasks into those free chunks of time on your schedule.

Now, this is where the accurate piece comes in, the second component, the second step, to managing your time, planning your schedule accurately. We want to make sure you’re doing this accurately. So, what you’re going to do, you’re going to look at that to-do list, and you’re going to estimate how long things take you. Okay?

And we’re not going to use really vague descriptors, like a long time, or a while, or that’ll be fast; we’re actually going to estimate in the number of minutes or hours, okay? And if you’re not sure how long something takes you work on it, you’re going to take your best guess.

All right, I really want you to think of your schedule. this part of your schedule, it’s like you’re working on a puzzle or playing a game of Tetris®, right? We’re making these little building blocks fit together. And as you do this, you’re really going to start to see, as you estimate, and plan, and take a guess for how long things are going to take you.

And then, you compare it. Because you make your schedule, and then you see how you did for the day. And it’s going to be this trial-and-error process for a little bit. You’re really going to start to see; A, how much you’re double-booking yourself. And you’re not actually seeing that right now, because you’re not putting things down on your calendar. So, you’re going to become acutely aware that you’re double-booking yourself.

And you’re going to see how inaccurate your math has been, in the past. And it’s going to make sense to you; why you feel so behind, why you feel so rushed all the time, why you feel overwhelmed, why you get to the end of your day constantly feeling behind and feeling really unaccomplished, as a result. It’s because you’ve been doing the math wrong.

So, we’re going to start doing the math right. Don’t tell me you don’t like math; it really is the secret to time management here. So, we’ve got to make love to the math part.

Now as you start to do this, you’re going to take a guess about how long things take you. If you really have no sense of it, or you haven’t done something before, you’re going to take a guess. I love to tell people to double it, because we’re just horrific at understanding how long things take us. This is called the planning fallacy.

One of the things that I see all the time with clients, is that they think that they’re the only ones who are bad at this. And I always joke with people, I say, “You know, everyone thinks that they’re a unicorn, and that it’s only them that struggles with something. That’s so, not the case. People are horrifically bad at this. It’s just a natural human tendency for us to really underestimate how long it takes for us to accomplish a task.”

But you want to be mindful that there is this thing, called the planning fallacy. And that you do tend to underestimate how long something takes you. So, I like to say, if you’re really not sure, and you don’t have data that you’re using to make data-driven decisions about planning your schedule, about how long something will take you, you want to take a guess and then double it.

If you find that those estimates still really fall short of how long it actually takes you to complete a task, quadruple it. I have a couple clients that do that, because they just find that they really, horrifically, underestimate how long things take. So, if you have to times it by four, take a guess and then times it by four.

But you’re gonna go through, with your to-do list, and estimate how long everything takes you. And then, you’re going to see what you can accomplish in a given period of time. And you’re going to place those items, from your to-do list, into your schedule for the day.

If you have five hours of uninterrupted time to work on things, you’re going to find five hours, or really even better, like four and a half hours. Because you might take a break, you might have an interruption. I teach my clients to build in a little flex time into their schedule in the afternoons.

Just in case something unplanned arises, it doesn’t screw up your schedule for the day. But if you’ve got about five hours of extra room to work with, you want to plan about four and a half hours’ worth of tasks. And then, you build those in. Put them on your calendar; that’s your game plan for the day. That’s how this works.

Now initially, you’re going to be really underwhelmed with what you can accomplish in a given day. I remember when I started to practice planning my schedule this way, I was really disappointed at first, with how little I could accomplish in a given day. I wanted to be able to do, essentially, like three times as much as I could actually get done.

But you have to make peace with time. I tell people all the time, they’re really mad at time and the reality of what they can accomplish in a given time period. So, we’ve got to make peace with this. We’ve got to come to terms that it’s a little underwhelming what we can accomplish in a 24-hour period.

Now the best way to get the most done, is to plan in the way that I’m teaching you to plan. It’s going to set you up to get the most accomplished, to be the most efficient, to be the most productive. But you also, may still be a little underwhelmed.

I have people tell me all the time they make these fantasy plans. And they’re like, I have to get all of this stuff done. And I always tell them, do you know how I know that’s not true? Because you just planned like 20 hours’ worth of work, and you’re probably only going to work for eight hours, today. So, 12 hours of it isn’t actually going to get done today.

You’re lying to yourself, saying it needs to get done today. But it doesn’t actually need to get done, because it’s not going to get done if we’re being really realistic. So, again, that goes back to that concept of rating your game plan on a scale of 1 to 10; how likely are you to actually accomplish it? If it’s not an eight or higher, it’s a bad plan.

Now, a couple episodes ago, I talked about the three skills that I really wanted you to cultivate, to access, to bring with you, as we work through these three P’s. I taught you that I want you to be resourceful, patient, and coachable. Those are really the qualities that you need to exhibit, as we work on solving and remedying these bad tendencies; the people-pleasing, the perfectionism, and the procrastination, to bad time management skills.

Because this isn’t going to be an overnight switch, right? There’s going to be some trial and error. So, I really want you to tap in to those three qualities. As you go about learning this second step, in managing your time and planning your schedule accurately, they’re gonna come in big time here.

It’s going to be really easy for you to throw your hands up in the air and say, “Olivia, I don’t know how long something takes me. This is too hard, it’s too hard to figure out.” We’re not going to do that. You’re gonna tap into your resourcefulness, you’re going to take a guess. And you’re gonna use whatever data you have available to you, to make an educated guess as to how long something takes you.

And again, as we start to make these plans, and then implement them and evaluate, your accuracy is going to increase. Your planning is going to get so much better, so much more accurate. So much more realistic and reliable. But there’s going to be a little bit of trial and error.

That’s where that patience is going to come in. Where you just have to be willing to go through this learning process. It’s not going to be an overnight process. It doesn’t need to be it’s okay. You’re also going to tap into your resourcefulness when you’re taking a guess.

Like I said, everything takes longer than you think. If you don’t know, double it or times it by four, just to be really conservative. And also, use context clues. If you’ve done things that are similar to the task at hand, but this is the first time you’re doing something, again, make that educated guess.

Now, you’re gonna want to fight me on some of the things that I’m telling you in this episode. I want you to tap in to that coachability. Really show up to doing this work with me in a very coachable manner. Don’t fight me on the things that I’m telling you in this episode. I get that it’s a new way of doing things for you. I get that that might be a little bit uncomfortable.

But you guys, I have dedicated years and years and years to figuring this out. I used to be so bad at it. And I am so good at it, now. I’ve dedicated so much time to solving this time management problem, to really understanding why people struggle with it, why I used to struggle with it, and figuring out a system that actually works. Okay?

It is simplistic. It’s not complicated, but it’s not completely intuitive. There’s going to be some trial and error here. So, I want you to not fight me. I want you to tap into your coachability. Trust me, keep an open mind. I know what I’m talking about. I follow this exact same structure, and I teach my clients this every day. It works; I promise you. So, be resourceful, be patient, and be coachable.

Now, as you do this; you’ve created a plan, you’ve taken your to-do list, you’ve found the remaining time that you have left over. After the humaning, after those external meetings, after those planned items on your schedule. And you’ve planned in that to-do list item; one after another, one after another, one after another, until you filled up your schedule.

Okay, now you’ve got to plan for the day. You’re going to do this every day. I have explained it in a very drawn-out manner, to be very specific and give you everything I possibly can, to set you up for success. It will not actually take you this long. This episode is a lot longer than the planning process will take you.

And if you’re doing this day in and day out, you’re going to start to, again, create that skeleton structure, create that routine. You’re going to get in that habit of having all those external meetings on your schedule. So, these pockets of time are just going to become filled in. So, your planning process is going to get shorter and shorter and shorter, every single day. Which is such a treat you get to give yourself.

And ultimately, what you’ll end up working up to, is really just a system where you’re able to plan a little bit every day, those free pockets of time, based on your to-do list. And then, I like to, once a week, do a little bit of a review. I look at the week ahead. And, I resolve conflicts.

I like to do this on Sunday. I see my seven days ahead of me, that are coming up. And, I just review for conflicts. Are there any double bookings that I need to resolve? There shouldn’t be, but I like to just do a quick review. All right.

Now, once you’ve got your plan, then it’s time to implement it. You’re going to implement every single day. And in the beginning, for a couple months at least… Because we’re making a 1% improvement every day. That’s really our goal here. What you’re going to do, is you’re going to put the plan into action, you’re going to implement it.

And then, you’re going to audit, you’re going to evaluate, and you’re going to adapt. So, we’re collecting data here, right? You make a plan, you implement it, and then you see how the plan goes. What worked? What didn’t work? And, what will you do differently?

This is going to be such an important part of the time management improvement process. You’ve got to collect some data and evaluate, and make tweaks and changes, in order to get more accurate, in order to plan better day in and day out.

A 1% improvement, every day, is going to put you in a wildly different position; it is going to be life changing. But it’s going to require that patience that I talked about, okay? Eventually, you will master planning accurately.

But as you go through this evaluation process, and I’m going to do just a whole separate episode on evaluating your time. Because I think it’s so helpful, I think it’s so informative. I really want to spend a whole episode just diving into the different things that you would notice when you’re doing a time evaluation.

But as you do this, you’re going to make these incremental, slow improvements. And, you’re going to make more informed decisions each time you plan anew, moving forward. It’s going to be revolutionary over time, right?

Now, like I said, with planning, you need to be accounting for everything that you do; the humaning, the work, your personal stuff that you do day in and day out; you want to build that all into the plan.

Another good rule of thumb here, is that I think it’s really helpful to work backwards. I also think it’s very helpful to break down a list, that goes into accomplishing one task. So, when I said earlier, working out, break down all of the individual steps that go into that.

If you’re talking about eating dinner, what goes into that? If you’re ordering food, you’re going to have to look up the food on DoorDash®. Then you’re going to order, and then you’re going to have to wait for it to get delivered. And then, you’re actually going to have to eat; all of that takes time.

All right, when I do social media marketing, I plan in how long it’s going to take me to write the post. and then I have to post the post, and then I want to engage with the comments that I get. I build all of that in. When I do webinars, I know how long it’s going to take me to write the webinar.

And then, I do a flip chart. So, I have to put the flip chart together, and then I know how long it’s going to take me to actually prepare. As far as like, getting myself ready, shower, makeup, hair; all of that stuff getting dressed for the webinar. All of that has to go into my game plan.

Same thing with getting ready in the morning, there’s so many different individual tasks; how long does it take you to shower? How long does it take you to brush your teeth? How long does it take you to do your makeup or shave? How long does it take you to pick out what you wear? And then, to get dressed? To make coffee? You want to factor all of that in.

This may sound onerous or daunting, it’s not. It’s just making really informed, data-driven decisions, which is ultimately, what you want to be doing to plan your schedule very accurately.

And like I said, we’re just going to make a plan, implement it, see how things go, and evaluate, and make constant tweaks and changes, until you’re able to do this really accurately.

Alright, that’s what I’ve got for you in this week’s episode. You might have to listen to this one a couple of times; that’s okay, go back. And also, like I said earlier, go check out the constraint episodes and the episode on making decisions ahead of time. It really ties in to this concept of planning your schedule accurately.

But you’re going to work on making the plan. And then, you’re going to work on getting really clear on the math, in order to plan accurately. And we’re just going to keep making tweaks and changes, and get 1% better, a little bit more each day.

Over time, you will be in a wildly different place with time management. You’re going to become someone who’s really punctual, really accurate with how they plan their time. And that is going to be such a gift that you give yourself and everyone else that you interact with.

Because it’s so lovely to be someone who’s punctual. To be someone who can stick to a schedule, to be someone who isn’t constantly late or constantly frantically running from one thing to the next. You’re going to be someone whose word really means something. And that’s so professional, it’s so polished, it’s so responsible.

And again, if you haven’t thought that that’s sexy in the past, you really want to make sure you change your mind set on that, because if you don’t, you’re not going to be someone who does this. You’re not going to want to stick to it, because it’s going to leave a bad taste in your mouth. You’re going to think that it’s a little unpalatable.

Alright, that’s what I’ve got for you guys this week. I can’t wait to talk to you about the third and final step, in next week’s episode. In the meantime, have a beautiful week.

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.

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Episode 31: Reclaiming Control of Your Calendar (Time Management Series)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Reclaiming Control of Your Calendar (Time Management Series)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Reclaiming Control of Your Calendar (Time Management Series)

Over the past couple of episodes, we’ve been building the foundation for managing your time, getting your mind right, and outlining the three overarching steps you need to take to manage your time. So, in this episode, we’re taking a deep dive into step one: Reclaiming Control of Your Calendar.

The key here is not overcomplicating this process because the truth is that managing your time isn’t difficult. It is a little uncomfortable at first, but if you stick with it, I guarantee you’ll see results. If you want the specific actions you need to take to implement changes to your time management strategy, this episode is exactly what you need. 

Tune in this week to discover how to reclaim control of your calendar. I’m showing you why the way you spend your time is ultimately your choice, and how to start setting intentional boundaries around your schedule while managing the uncomfortable emotions that come up when you start putting yourself first.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

I have a few masterclasses planned for the coming months. On October 28th, we’re discussing how to set and honor boundaries, and you can sign up for that masterclass by clicking here! November 29th is all about how to be confident. And December 16th, we’re going to work on setting the pace for 2023 by learning to stop tolerating the parts of your life you don’t love. All of the masterclasses are at noon Eastern Time, so mark your calendars.

If you enjoyed today’s show, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What it means to reclaim control of your calendar.
  • How to see where you have lost control of your calendar, and who has control instead of you.
  • Why you aways get to choose how you spend your time, even if it doesn’t currently feel that way.
  • How to see where you get to exercise more agency over your calendar.
  • What creepy crawlers in your schedule are and how they infringe on your calendar.
  • The uncomfortable emotions that will come up when you implement boundaries around your calendar.
  • How it’s possible to have boundaries around your calendar while also being accommodating, helpful, and responsive.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 31. We’re talking all about reclaiming control of your calendar. 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.

Well, hello, how are you? I am talking to you from my hotel room in Rome. I just got in today. And I know I mentioned in the last episode, I’m kind of being a world traveler, right now; I’m bouncing from city to city. And it was my original intention to record a podcast episode in every single city that I’m in.

So, I could kind of take you guys with me as I travel. But I was just in New York just for a really short period of time, just a couple days. And it was such a whirlwind. I had a really packed calendar, and it just didn’t work out for me to be able to record an episode while I was in NYC. But to kind of fill you guys in, I was able to, like I mentioned in the last episode, meet with two friends that I have only ever met online or through Zoom, because I met them during the pandemic.

And it was amazing. I got to go to dinner with one of them, we had such a good time. He treated me to an amazing dinner at an Italian restaurant, it was just so perfect. And then, I got to meet another girlfriend of mine. We have become like best friends since the very beginning of “quaren” times, as I like to call them. And we had this phenomenal lunch together. We talked for hours. It was so much fun being able to finally like hug and squeeze her in person, I just had the best time.

So, so far, so good. As far as travel is concerned. One of the things that I was thinking about, as I was making my way to the airport yesterday to catch my flight to Rome, was that a couple of years ago, I guess not a couple but like five years ago or so, I wouldn’t have made the time to have dinner with one of my friends, and then have lunch with another one of my friends.

I would have told myself that work was too busy, and I couldn’t fit it in. And I would have flown straight to Rome, I wouldn’t have extended my layover in New York, to be able to stay there for a couple days. I would have just had that narrative about time scarcity in my head. And, I would have cut everything short, and probably would have been working a lot while I was traveling.

 And even though I’m recording the podcast, other than that I’m not working. I’m not meeting with clients while I travel. It’s just some downtime for me to give my brain a rest, get some really good ideas, prep for all of the exciting stuff that I have coming up.

So, it was wild to think about how much I’ve grown, and how I’ve transitioned, and how I’ve transformed, into a person who’s so much more calm, much more intentional. And someone who really makes time for those memories, those really unforgettable moments, that you only get a few opportunities to create in your lifetime with friends.

So, if you are like old me right now, take this as your sign to become someone to start to make that transformation, that transition, to becoming someone who makes the time. Who makes the time to stay an extra day to go to dinner. Who makes the time to stay an extra day to go to lunch. Squeeze in those moments with the people in your life that really matter. You will be so grateful that you did, in the long run. You get one life.

I just wrote an email about this. I send out an email every Friday to my email list. And, it’s just a little dose of inspiration. So, if you’re not signed up for that, head to my Instagram, and there’s a link in my bio where you can get on that list. So, you get those little doses of inspiration straight to your inbox.

But I just wrote an email last night, while I was at the airport, to my list, talking about how you get this one incredible life. You get one chance at it. Make sure it’s a memorable one. And I promise you, coming from the girl used to work a ton on vacation, I did doc review poolside. Bless my friend Nevila’s heart, she has put up with me lawyering while traveling for several trips, back in my big law days. But you want to make sure you’re making the most of your life. So, figure out where you can squeeze those moments in, and squeeze them in. All right.

Speaking of Nevila, she is getting ready to meet me in Rome. And, I think this is the first trip that we’ve taken together since I quit practicing law. So, she is in for a much calmer version of me. I’m sure she’s excited.

All right, with that being said, I want to dive into today’s topic. So, as you know, we’ve been talking about the three P’s: people-pleasing, perfectionism, and procrastination. And now, we’re in the time management portion of this series; really the fundamentals of the coaching that I do.

And we’ve talked about the mindset that you need to start to cultivate. I set you up in the last episode, talking about the overarching three steps that you need to do take to manage your time; reclaiming control of your calendar, planning your schedule accurately, and following the plan.

But what I want to do is go in and do a deep dive into each one of those three steps. So, there’s no confusion about what it looks like to take action and make those changes, implement those changes, as you go through these three steps. And this is really the meat-and-potatoes of the time management series, these three steps.

You don’t have to overcomplicate it, one of the things that I see people do, with time management, is when they’re really struggling with it, they consume, consume, consume all of this time management content; I used to be guilty of doing that, too. And, it’s too complex.

You have to categorize between what’s urgent and important. And there are a lot of tactics, and maybe you need to use certain apps. And while technology is great, I find that that is just a way that we are one step removed from what we actually need to be doing, which is following these three steps.

They’re so simple. There really isn’t much room for confusion, and you get to let it be this simple. I think people like to think that time management is difficult. And one of the things that I’m always telling my clients, is that it’s not necessarily difficult, it tends to just be uncomfortable. And, we love to conflate ease with comfort. And, we want to make sure that we’re using the appropriate terminology where it fits.

So, time management, these three steps; reclaiming control of your calendar, planning your schedule accurately, and honoring your plan. They’re not difficult; climbing Mount Everest is probably difficult. I have a friend who just climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. And I’m sure that was a difficult challenge, right? This isn’t that.

But managing your time, sticking to your schedule, controlling your calendar, not people-pleasing, starting work when you say you’re going to, finishing on time instead of indulging in perfectionism. All of that stuff is uncomfortable. So, you want to figure out what type of discomfort comes with doing each of those steps, so you can implement them and overcome those negative emotions.

Now, one of the reasons that I love the simplicity of knowing these three steps, is that it makes it so easy to evaluate how you spend your time and what you’re doing. So, I mentioned to you in the last episode, talking about if you always feel like you’re behind, how you want to evaluate. You want to go through and identify the specific reasons that you’re always behind.

And if you’re working on time management, and you’re struggling to manage your time, you, similarly, want to conduct weekly or daily evaluations. And those are going to be simple, too. You’re just going to ask yourself; what is working? What is not working? And, what can you do differently, moving forward, to correct what isn’t working.

You always get to bring it back to those three questions: What’s going well? What’s working, what’s not working? What will I do differently? And, you want to bring that evaluation back to these three rules: Where did I not control my calendar? Where did I not plan accurately? Where did I not honor my plan? And then, why? Always asking why because that has so much really helpful, beneficial information, really great intel there.

So, why didn’t I control my calendar? Thoughts that you’re thinking, or negative emotions you’re not willing to feel, right? Why did I not plan accurately? Did I do the math wrong? Why did I not honor my plan? Again, negative thoughts you’re thinking or negative emotions that you’re unwilling to feel.

So, you can use these three steps as a framework for consistently improving. And if you’re evaluating and you’re figuring out what you’re going to do differently moving forward, you’re always going to be making these small, incremental improvements. And, that’s how you become wildly better at time management over time; it may not happen overnight. And, that doesn’t have to be a problem, that’s okay.

You’re going to make consistent progress in this area, rf you stick with it, practice these three steps, evaluate meaningfully, and keep going, keep tweaking to improve. Okay?

Now, let’s talk about step one, reclaiming control of your calendar. And the reason I say reclaiming, is because most people aren’t controlling their calendar. So, really, it’s control your calendar, that would be step one. But for those who have ceded control over their calendar to the other people in their lives, we want to reclaim that control. All right, we want you in the driver’s seat of your schedule.

So, what does it mean for you to reclaim control of your calendar? First things first, I want you to check in with yourself and be really honest here; Do you think that other people have control of your time? Do you think other people have control of your calendar? A lot of my clients do. So, I want you to do a little bit of an audit here.

Think both, in your personal life and in your professional life, who has control instead of you. And if you’ve heard me talk about this before, you know where I’m going with this. I’m going to tell you that it’s a lie, right? You’re always in control of your calendar, you’re always in control of how you spend your time; you always get to choose.

And if that feels like a really foreign concept for you, if that feels very untrue, I really want you to sit with that for a second. You can pause this episode, and just give yourself a few minutes to really think about it, and find the lie. Find where you’re making the choice. Find where you’re exercising agency and control.

One of the examples that people give me all the time, is that courts control their calendar. And I understand that a court can set a date, right, but you choose to attend the court date. I know it may not feel like it, but you do. You actually make a decision, and you choose to go, because you don’t want to suffer the consequences of not going.

Also, a lot of people are able to reschedule court hearings and get adjournments, and get another date on the court’s calendar. Same thing goes with closings. If you’re a transactional attorney, people frequently tell me that they don’t have any control over when the closing date is and that they can’t move it. And then, a couple weeks later, we talk, and the closing date gets moved, right, for one reason or another.

So, I really want you to find the lie here, where you’re telling yourself that you don’t have control; you do have control, find it. Find where you’re making the decision. Same thing goes with people with kids and their personal lives.

You may think that your kids control your time, or maybe your spouse controls your time, figure out where you’re making the choice. And again, this may be a challenge for you to find it, but really sit with it and find where you’re exercising your own agency, your own autonomy.

Another way that I have people start to identify their agency and autonomy that they’re exercising, is not to sound really dramatic, but think about what would happen if you were in the hospital. If you got into a car accident, God forbid, and you had to be rushed to the hospital. And, you were supposed to be at something.

And the narrative of whatever you were supposed to attend, you were telling yourself that you had no control over attending that or not. That you didn’t have a say in the matter. That someone else made that decision for you and that you just had to abide by it. But then you don’t go because you’re in the hospital, right?

So, something else would happen because you’re not there. Either someone would cover for you, if you had a court hearing, or things would get postponed; people would figure it out. But the plan would probably change. And, you’d figure out what to do from there.

So, I love that drastic example, just because it evidences that the world wouldn’t come to a screeching halt, if you didn’t attend something, all right; people would figure it out. So, think about that in your own life. What are the things that you feel like you really don’t have control over? Who has control instead? Find those people, find those instances, and then find the lie. Where do you actually have control? Where are you making a decision on how to spend your time?

I also want you to find, what one of my clients calls the “creepy crawlers”, in your schedule. Now, creepy crawlers can either be things that are unplanned, and they make their way into your schedule. It can also be people who have access to scheduling for you, that come in and infringe on your calendar and make plans without your permission. They literally creepy crawl into your calendar. Right?

So, I want you to think about that for a second, and find the creepy crawlers into your schedule. Does anyone have access to your calendar? Do they schedule for you? I know a lot of people work in organizations, whether it’s a law firm or a business, and people are able to see their availability. And then, they’re able to schedule things based on the availability that they see.

If that’s the case, we want to make sure that we eliminate that as much as you possibly can. So, you can go in and block off your time. And really limit your availability for other people to do that. Or, you can just take away the ability for people to schedule for you all together.

Now, again, remember, not hard, but uncomfortable. This may be uncomfortable for you to do. For you to go into your calendar, and operate differently than the rest of your team. For you to block off entire days, so people can’t schedule for you. So, it appears that you’re busy instead of available.

And if that does make you uncomfortable, I really want to challenge you to think about; why? What are the thoughts that are making you feel uncomfortable? And, get really specific about what uncomfortable you are actually experiencing? What type of discomfort you’re actually feeling. Is it guilt? Is it worry, right? Those are two of the big ones. So, you want to make sure you’re identifying that and asking yourself; why? What are the thoughts that are causing you to feel those emotions?

A lot of people just don’t like to go against the status quo or the standard way that organizations operate. If everyone is always free and people have the ability to schedule anything on your calendar, it’s going to feel a little foreign to operate differently, to be more boundaried, to block off time and have your calendar display that you’re unavailable instead of free. Right?

It would require people to email you probably, or give you a phone call, to ask you when you’re available. When you’d be able to meet, rather than just being able to go into your calendar and schedule that automatically.

You could set it up to where you are only available at certain times of day. So, I teach a lot of my clients to have what I call, “office hours”, where they maybe, in the past, have operated with an open-door policy and that has really led to mismanage time. So, instead of not being available at all, they just really limit their availability.

So, maybe instead of being available all day, they decide to have office hours, where they’re available to be contacted by someone else between three to five, or two to four, or one to three, something like that. That gives them the morning to really get the bulk of their most important work done, free of interruptions. And then, they’re still able to be accessible to their team members, to their clients, to other colleagues, opposing counsel, when they have those office hours.

Same thing’s true if you have creepy crawlers who dropped by your office unexpected. I know a lot of people are working from home, nowadays, so maybe this is by way of Microsoft Teams™. or a phone call instead, or Jabber™; I know we used to have that at the firm that I worked at. So, maybe that’s the case, that’s how people are reaching out and getting a hold of you, or, they’re swinging by.

And, you want to be the person who’s accessible, but then, they come by, they ask a question, and then you make small talk, and then a half an hour goes by, and you lost 30 minutes of your day. If that happens every single day, that adds up. Or, multiple times a day. I used to be the office that people loved to swing by to have a conversation, because I was really personable.

And even though I love communicating with people, and getting to know people, and being really open and welcoming, it made me really unproductive, right? So, you want to get clear on when you’re available when you’re not.

Have those office hours, if it makes sense for you to have them, and be able to tell people, “Hey, I can’t talk right now, I’m in the middle of something. But you can come back today at three, I’ve got time then.” And you just plan on it, you build it into your schedule. You know that if someone comes by on announced, that you limit that interaction as much as you can. If possible, you limit it completely, so you don’t get thrown off schedule.

You don’t let other people have control over how you spend your time. And, if they’re able to just swing by and spend as much time as they want with you, they’re controlling your schedule. A better way to say that is, you’re letting them control your schedule. But they’re dictating, essentially, how you spend your time because you’re not controlling it yourself. So, you want to reclaim control of your calendar that way.

Another example or pushback that I hear from people all the time, they’re like; well, it’s my supervisor who swings by. Or, my supervisor who calls me unexpectedly. And, I don’t have control over that. They outrank me, what am I supposed to do?

And I really want to encourage you to tap into your resourcefulness, and get creative, and think about how can you still exercise control? How can you reclaim control of your calendar?

Now, one of the things that I teach my clients to do, is to head them off at the pass, essentially. So, if you know that a partner that you work with loves to swing by in the afternoons, or a couple of times a week, just to talk about a case. Reach out to them first and schedule a standing meeting, so they know that they’re about to meet with you. It will reduce the need for them to swing by unexpectedly.

Same thing if you are supervising others, and they love to come to you with a lot of questions, and it ends up being really disruptive to your day. Plan scheduled meetings: you can do it once a week, twice a week, you can do it every single day if you want to. But build that into your calendar, so you know to plan for it. You know when it’s going to be. You’re able to plan your other work around it, so you’re not multitasking and interrupting yourself.

And you can also limit the amount of time that you spend in those meetings, in those exchanges. So, if you want to spend 15 minutes or 30 minutes, you can plan for that and then keep it to that timeframe. It’s going to teach you how to be much more efficient and productive with the meetings that you have, when you actually decide on a timeframe for them, and you force yourself to stick within that time limit.

A big and common creepy crawler situation that I see in people’s personal lives, is family members that call them unexpectedly, out of the blue. And a lot of people will have habits where they talk to their siblings or their spouse or their parents, multiple times throughout the day, or throughout the week.

And if that’s you, and it sucks up a lot of your time, and you want to limit that, again, you can also decide; here’s when I take these calls. Here’s how frequently I take them, and here’s how long they last. And you don’t have to do this in a way that feels really restrictive.

I talk, on Fridays, to my friend, Shari. She’s the person that I had lunch with, in New York. And, we talk for hours on Fridays. But we plan it into our schedule. I normally talk to her after I’ve gone to the market, and I’ve gotten everything that I need for dinner. And I’ll start to cook dinner, and we’ll talk for a couple hours about business and just our lives and everything.

But we’ve built that time, that really leisurely, luxurious amount of time into our schedule, so it’s not like it’s stealing from anything else. It’s not like it’s keeping me from accomplishing anything else. I’ve built that into my schedule. So, if you like to have lengthy conversations, that’s fine, you just want to plan for that. Make sure that the math works.

This is another reason that I love doing these time audits. Is to find out how much time do you spend on things like this; on talking with coworkers who swing by your office, or talking on the phone with friends and family members who call you unplanned, unexpectedly, and you just have the habit of answering. Because, again, you want to be accessible.

You’re gonna start to decide, how accessible do you want to be? Do you want to be so accessible that it prevents you from managing your time? If the answer is yes, and you love your reasons for that, amazing. Chances are though, if you’re listening to this podcast episode, and you’re really trying to work on time management, you’re probably not going to love your reasons, and you’re going to want to make a change.

So, you want to be doing these time audits, gathering all this intel, learning about yourself and how you’re currently spending your time, where you’re ceding control of it and start to reclaim it.

Now with a boundary, you can decide, if you call me more than once a day, I don’t answer, right, I call you back the next day. If you want to talk longer than an hour, I’m going to tell you that I have to get off the phone, and that I’ll talk to you tomorrow or later in the week. You really get to decide how you show up, how you spend your time, and how you limit those interactions, so it works for your schedule.

A lot of people also spend a ton of time on the phone with their family, for one of two reasons. Number one, they do it because they feel guilty. I especially see this with clients who spend a ton of time on the phone with parents.

Their parents call them and of course they do, they want to talk to you; you’re their children, they love you. And maybe they’re a little bored, especially if they’re up there in age. So, you might be a form of entertainment for them.

I also find people, whether it’s friends or family members, they love to buffer; avoid something else with a form of instant gratification or pleasure. They love to buffer with conversations with friends and family. So, you may notice that someone is using a conversation with you for that reason, to accomplish that. And if that’s the case, it’s alright for you to say, “You know what? You’ve got to call someone else. I love you. And, I can’t talk right now.

Just because you’re not available to talk, right now, because you decide you’re unavailable, that’s plenty good enough reason. Just because you’re not available, doesn’t mean you don’t care, doesn’t mean you don’t love someone. And, it’s okay, if they don’t love your lack of availability. That’s all right. We get to let them not love it; we get to let them be a little uncomfortable about it.

And that’s going to be one of the main themes here with this first step, with reclaiming control of your calendar. You’re really going to have to exercise feeling a little worried, feeling a little guilty, about having boundaries. About being really boundaried about how you spend your time. About not being as available as maybe you have been in the past. You’re just going to allow that negative emotion to be there.

And it will decrease, because what you’re going to prove to yourself, as you start to be more boundaried with your time and control your calendar more than you have been, you’re going to see that people don’t mind. And that is going to be so freeing for you. You’re going to see that the world doesn’t stop spinning on its axis.

People are really okay with you limiting your availability and being more in control of your calendar. They will take what you give them, they really will. So, you get to limit what you give them, it gets to be okay, and they will survive it; you will too.

Now, the pushback that I get here, from people who have that guilt come up, who have that worry come up, who have that fear come up, around setting boundaries and being more in control of their calendar. They say to me, “Well, what if someone’s upset? Well, I want to be accommodating. I want to be responsible. I want to be responsive.” And I think, you can be all of those things and still be very boundaried with your time.

I don’t think that I’m inaccessible, or that I’m irresponsible, because I’m very boundaried with my time. People still get access to me, but on my terms, not on their terms, right. And it’s no one else’s job to respect my boundaries around time, other than mine.

I see that happen all the time with people, they say, “I can’t believe that this person is just so disrespectful of my boundaries. They don’t respect my time. They don’t respect my schedule.” It’s not their job, it’s your job to do those things. So, I think you can do both. That’s absolutely true. You can be boundaried and be accessible, and be accommodating, and be helpful, and be responsible, and be responsive, all of those things.

But I do want you to give some thought to, what do you care about more? Let’s say one of those things, it’s not necessarily an either/or, but something has to beat out the other. All right. So, I want you to think about; what do you want more?

Do you want to be accessible, or do you want to manage your time? Do you want to people-please other people, or do you want to manage your time? Do you want to spend time making other people comfortable, or do you want to manage your time? Do you want to be hyper responsive, or do you want to manage your time?

Those are really important questions for you to ask yourself and answer. And you want to be brutally honest with your answers, here. Okay. You want to know and love your reasons for ceding control of your calendar if you decide to cede control over it. Most of the time, you’re probably not going to love your reasons.

And if that’s the case, you want to make a different decision about how you spend your time. And it’s probably going to require you to feel those uncomfortable feelings, that I mentioned earlier. Now, again, that’ll be temporary. Because you start to get the result of spending your time how you want to spend it. You start to get the result of having a lot of control over how you spend your time; what you do with your time, what you’re able to accomplish in a given amount of time.

And that feels really powerful and really empowering. So, it’ll become pretty addictive. Once you get the ball rolling, with controlling your calendar and reclaiming a lot of that control, you’re going to want to do more of that. You’re going to be much more restrictive about who gets access to you, when they get access. Because you’re going to be able to accomplish so much more of your best work, when you’re controlling your time and you’re not letting in those creepy crawlers.

Couple other examples of creepy crawlers, just so you can be on the lookout for them is, unscheduled phone calls. Being in your inbox constantly, throughout the day. And if someone emails you, feeling like you need to get back to them immediately. So, you drop what you’re doing, and you respond.

Allowing people to schedule for you, at all times of the day, rather than within predetermined times that you’ve set up. Letting people linger, right? Letting people draw out an in-person meeting or a virtual meeting, right? Being someone who’s unbounderied. If a call is supposed to be an hour, at the end of an hour, you gotta wrap it up. And, building the skill set to become someone who’s really capable of doing that; Ending a call on time, even though it might be a little uncomfortable.

And especially if you have a gift for gab, which a lot of my clients do, this is going to be tough, because you like talking to people, it’s fun. But you can start to see how impactful, in a negative way, it is to let things go on longer than you planned for, right? So, you want to not let other people linger, and you want to not linger yourself.

You want to limit that open-door policy. You want to create those office hours, instead. So, those are some examples that I see, where creepy crawlers come into play here, and some tweaks and changes that you can make, in order to limit them. All right.

Ultimately, like I said, this is why we want to be doing time audits. So, you can see where you’re not controlling your calendar, where you’re ceding control to other people. Figure out who you’re ceding control to, find the lie, figure out how you’re actually in control, how you’re actually exercising autonomy and making a decision, making a choice.

And then, figure out what you would need to do differently, in order to control your time. All right, in order to reclaim that power, reclaim that control. And decide, what do you want more; to people-please and be constantly accessible, or do you really want to be someone who masters managing their time?

If you do want to be someone who masters managing their time, it starts with reclaiming control of your calendar. Okay? So, that’s what you’re going to do this week. Really identify the places that you can reclaim more control over your calendar, so you can control more of your time.

All right, my friends. That’s what I have for you this week. In the next episode, we’re going to talk all about planning your schedule accurately. All right, I can’t wait to dive in to step two of how to manage your time.

Until then, have a beautiful week.

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.

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Episode 30: Setting the Foundation for Managing Your Time (Time Management Series)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Setting the Foundation for Managing Your Time (Time Management Series)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Setting the Foundation for Managing Your Time (Time Management Series)

Over the past few episodes, we’ve been discussing how to gain new levels of awareness around how you’re currently spending your time. So, in today’s show, we’re taking the conversation a step further and I’m showing you how to start setting the foundation for managing your time.

There are three important steps I teach my clients that they need to implement in order to effectively manage their time, so I’m sharing those with you today. However, there are a few thoughts and habits that we need to clear up before we take action on those steps.

Tune in this week to discover the most common thought people come to me with when they’re struggling to manage their time effectively. I’m sharing the problem with the way we speak to ourselves around how much time we have and what we’re trying to achieve with our time, and the importance of having truly candid conversations with yourself around time, so you can start setting the foundation for managing your time in a brand-new way.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

I have a few masterclasses planned for the coming months. On October 28th, we’re discussing how to set and honor boundaries, and you can sign up for that masterclass by clicking here! November 29th is all about how to be confident. And December 16th, we’re going to work on setting the pace for 2023 by learning to stop tolerating the parts of your life you don’t love. All of the masterclasses are at noon Eastern Time, so mark your calendars.

If you enjoyed today’s show, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why so many people wake up every day already believing they’re behind.
  • How believing you’re behind is setting you up for a difficult and potentially miserable day.
  • Why you can only be behind at the end of the day, and the only 3 reasons why you’re ever really behind.
  • The importance of approaching time management with a winning-or-learning mindset.
  • How to get clear on the result you’re really trying to create by managing your time differently.
  • 3 steps for managing your time.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 30. Today, we’re going to set the foundation for managing your time. 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’s it going today? I hope you are well, and I hope that you have taken me up on my invitation, that I talked about in the last episode, to start doing time audits. As we continue on in this time management series, I hope you take the opportunity to dive in and really gain all that awareness that I talked about, when I talked about how to do time audits and why you want to do them, and the benefit of that.

So, I hope you’re up to your eyeballs keeping track of how you’re spending your time and gaining a ton of awareness, as a result. I hope they’re going well. One of my clients in my mastermind actually asked me a question about time audits in our session this week. And she was just asking, like for some more specificity on how exactly to do them. And I gave an example of the awareness and the benefits you would get from doing a time audit, and how it would help you plan going forward the next time you do something.

And, the example that I used was travel. So, because I’ve done time audits with travel, I now know, to work backwards from when my flight’s gonna leave, and how far in advance they start to board, and how much time it takes me to get through security, and how early I want to be through security before the flight starts boarding. I tend to cut it pretty close, but I do like to leave enough time so I’m not rushing.

I keep track of how long it’s gonna take me to check my bag at the curb. How long it’s gonna take me, even if there’s a little bit of traffic, to get from my house to the airport. So, when you’re doing a time audit, you’re keeping track of all of those little micro expenditures of time and how they add up together, so you can stay on track and stay on schedule. So you can better manage your time.

Speaking of travel, I’ve got a ton of it coming up. One of my clients told me recently he was like, you’re gonna be like Carmen Sandiego. Because I seriously am bouncing all over the globe, or at least parts of it. I’m going to be in New York City, I can’t wait. I get to see two people that I’ve never met in person, and I’m really excited to see them. One is a former client, and the other is a friend of mine that I met through LinkedIn® and I’ve never met her before.

And, we talk on the phone for hours each week. And we’ve never seen each other in person, so that’s super exciting. And, I’m flying through New York because I’m on my way to Italy. And I couldn’t get a direct flight from Detroit, so I had to pick New York or Boston. And I have people to see in New York, so I’m going to spend a few days in New York City and then, I’m going to head to Rome.

And then, I’m going to the Amalfi Coast. And then, super exciting, I’m going to fly from Italy to Nashville, where I’m speaking at Clio Con. If you are going to Clio Con, reach out to me and let me know that you’re going to be there. I would love to meet you in person. So, I’ll be in Nashville for Clio Con, that’s October 10th and 11th.

And if you’ve decided to go at the very last minute, and you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, go to my Instagram®, my handle’s thelessstressedlawyer. And click on the link in my bio, and you can get a discounted ticket to Clio Con if you do that. So, that’s available to you too. But if you’re going to be there, or you’re on the fence about going, definitely go in person, it’s so much more fun to get to see everyone and meet face-to-face.

And, I love soaking up an immersive environment. That is what I love about my own mastermind. With my clients, we meet in person. twice a year. And we get to soak up all the goodness and just be in a really collaborative, immersive, all-consuming space, and really focus on the personal development. I love that part of it. So, if you’re going to Clio con reach out. I’ll be there, in Nashville, speaking all about, actually, this topic: How to make the most of your time.

And then after that, I’m going to hop on over to Charleston to scope out some hotels for the next live event, for The Less Stressed Lawyer mastermind. So, that’s where the next event is going to be. And, I can’t wait. Charleston; such an amazing city.

So, I’m going to be there, and I’m going to bop around and check out the places that I want to have the welcome dinner, the farewell dinner, and where I want to actually host the event. I want to compare some venues; more on that later. But that’s my travel.

So, as you’re listening to these next couple episodes, I’ll be bouncing all around the globe, again, like Carmen Sandiego. All right. So, we’re continuing on in this time management series, right? We’ve been talking about the three P’s.

Now we’ve really dove in to start talking about procrastination, and how to manage your time. We talked about the two models of time management: firefighting and procrastinating. We talked about your thoughts about time, and your to-do list and work in general, and time management. We also talked about doing time audits, to start to gain some of that awareness.

Now, I was gonna dive right in to the three steps that I teach my clients on how to manage their time. The three steps that they need to implement in order to do that effectively. But I realized I want to set just a little bit more of a foundation before we dive in to discussing each of those three steps. So, that’s the purpose of this episode.

It’s gonna be pretty short and sweet, but I wanted to make sure that I covered that. There are just a few other things that I wanted to talk to you about before we dive in deep to each one of the three steps.

Alright, the first thing that I want to talk about is always being behind. The problem of always being behind. And the reason that I want to talk about that is because it’s probably one of the most common problems that I see my clients face. They come to me, and they say, “Olivia, I’m always behind. I feel like I’m never on top of things. I’m never caught up. I’m always late on stuff. There’s always stuff that I’ve promised to people that is behind schedule,” right?

They’re just constantly behind day after day. So much so that they find themselves waking up first thing in the morning, and the way that they’re talking to themselves, they’re telling themselves that they’re already behind. Their eyes just popped open, it’s first thing in the morning, and yet they’re already believing that they’re behind. Right.

And what they’re doing, the reason this is happening, is because they’re treating their behind, like rollover minutes. If anyone remembers rollover minutes from the early days of the cell phone, back in the 2000’s, it’s kind of like that, right? It’s, we’re carrying, also, like miles or PTO (paid time off). We carry it over into the next month or the next year.

Well, people were doing the same thing with being behind. They didn’t get through everything that they planned for the day on Monday, so they wake up on Tuesday morning, and they’re telling themselves that they’re already behind.

We also start our weeks like this. If we told ourselves we were going to work over the weekend, and then you didn’t, you procrastinated, you did something else instead, you wake up Monday morning and you already feel like you’re behind the eight ball, right?

And why is that a problem? Well, number one, it feels terrible, right? If you’re telling yourself you’re constantly behind, you’re gonna feel really discouraged and have this heaviness that you start your day with. That’s no way to start your day. And it’s going to create so much more resistance to you getting started, and to you accomplishing work, and having a really productive day. So, it’s not going to serve you.

It’s also, not true. And I know if you hear me say that you’re probably going to be like, “Olivia, I disagree with you. It is true.” It’s not, it’s just a matter of opinion. And you get to tell yourself, you get to have the opinion, that you’re behind at the start of every day, or you get to decide that every day is a new day. Right?

Think about it. Telling yourself you’re behind first thing in the morning doesn’t make sense. Whatever happened yesterday, happened yesterday. Whatever happened last week, happened last week. All right. Every day, you wake up and you start a fresh day. You get the opportunity to make a new plan for a new day. So, why would you tell yourself that you’re behind?

You would just start fresh, and anything that didn’t get accomplished the day before you now factor in and put it into today’s plan. You get a new plan; you get a fresh start. You’re not behind. You’re only behind first thing in the morning, if you decide to tell yourself that you are. And again, I highly recommend you don’t do this, it’s going to make you feel terrible.

Now, what I teach my clients, is the only time you can ever be behind is at the end of a day. Right? You made a plan for the day, and then, you didn’t get through all of it. So, at the end of the day, it makes sense that you feel behind.

Now when that happens, most people want to beat themselves up for being behind. They want to kick themselves, they want to start that negative self-talk, and really gang up on themselves, and have that inner dialogue get really negative, right? If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you know that that doesn’t lead to anything productive.

Negative thoughts create negative results because they make you feel badly. And then, you’re really prone to take negative action or no action at all, when you’re feeling those negative emotions. Which ultimately, produces nothing good.

So, instead of beating up on yourself when you’re behind at the end of the day, I just want you to get really curious and do a quick evaluation. There are only ever three reasons that you’re behind. And it may be that you are experiencing a combination of the three. That happens sometimes; that’s alright. You just want to know what the three are, so that you can evaluate really effectively and gain some awareness.

And then, troubleshoot, problem-solve, for what happened, what went wrong, what didn’t work that day, that led to you being behind. So, the three reasons that you’re always behind: Number one, you’re just doing the math wrong. You’re packing what I like to call 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5-pound bag. So, you’re planning about 10 hours of work in a five-hour period. Or, 20 hours of work in an 8-hour period.

You’re not making time assessments for how long what you’ve planned for the day, will take you. So, you just plan too much work. Which, if you’re doing that, of course, you’re going to be behind at the end of the day; the math didn’t work out. You’re not going to be able to do 15 hours’ worth of work in 7 hours. That’s just not how time works; it’s not how math works.

So, that’s gonna be the first reason that you’re behind at the end of the day. You’ve simply done the math wrong and planned too much for the amount of time that you allotted yourself.

The second reason, that you’re going to feel behind at the end of the day, is because you reshuffled. So, maybe you planned the appropriate amount of work, you planned eight hours for eight hours. Or, more realistically probably, because it takes a little bit of time throughout the day to be a human, you planned seven hours or seven and a half hours for an eight-hour period.

So, that should fit, that should work, right, in theory. But if you reshuffle and you take a detour from the plan, you divert from the plan, that’s going to make you be behind at the end of every day, right? If you take unscheduled calls, if you answer emails when you didn’t plan to be answering emails, if you’re doing all of those things.

You’re letting a colleague come into your office and spend 30 minutes kind of talking about work, but also just making small talk when you were supposed to be working on something else, you’re going to be behind. So, you’ve reshuffled your schedule, and everything that you had planned for the day got pushed down, right? That’s the second way that you’re going to be behind at the end of the day.

And the third way, that you’re going to be behind at the end of the day, is simply if you procrastinate. So, you planned maybe, an appropriate amount of work, but you just aren’t doing it; you are buffering. You’re doing those actions that I talked about a couple episodes ago.

You’re scrolling on Instagram, maybe you’re texting friends, you’re listening to music, you’re messing around on the internet, maybe reading ESPN.com™, or the news, right? Maybe you’re grabbing a snack, watching some Netflix®, you’re just doing anything that you didn’t plan for, in order to avoid work.

So, those are the three reasons that you would end up being behind at the end of the day. And like I said, you might be guilty of a combination of them. But you just want to know if you’re doing any of those things. If you’re engaged in any of those behaviors, and that they’re contributing to being behind. If you are engaged in any of those behind-making activities, for lack of a better term, you want to know, so you can course correct, right?

If you’re guilty of the first offense, by planning too much, you’re going to start planning accurately, and doing the math right. If you’re guilty of reshuffling, you want to stop reshuffling. You want to stop doing that and just stick to your plan.

And if you’re procrastinating, of course, you want to not do that. You want to get started and make your way through the work that you planned for the day. So, you don’t get to the end of the day feeling behind, and not having gotten through what you planned to accomplish for the day.

Now, if you constantly feel like you’re behind, this probably isn’t going to be a problem that we remedy overnight. It’s going to take some trial and error; it’s going to take some practice. You’re going to stumble, you’re going to have missteps, you’re gonna make mistakes. And, all of that is going to be a learning opportunity.

You’ve heard me say it before, that I really don’t believe in failure. As long as you don’t quit, you can’t really fail. So instead, you’re really going to be existing in this world where you’re just winning or learning, winning, or learning. And that’s how I want you to approach time management.

It’s going to take some time. You’re going to get a little bit better each day, if you’re evaluating what’s working, evaluating what’s not working, and making a plan for what you’ll do differently to fix what doesn’t work. So, you can start doing that evaluation process, that process of taking action, auditing, and adapting, when it comes to being behind and trying to remedy that problem.

The other thing you want to do though, is get really clear on what you mean by “not being behind”. Most people really don’t know what they’re aiming for. We use terms pretty loosely, like, we’re behind or we want to be caught up, right? Everyone or most people, I shouldn’t make that big of a generalization, but most people I work with and most people I know are constantly striving to, “get caught up”.

And, what do you mean by get caught up, if that’s the way that you speak? If that’s the thing that you’re aiming for, that’s the result that you’re trying to create in your life, when it comes to managing your time. Let’s get really clear on that.

I used to speak that way, too. I was always aiming to be caught up. And I finally forced myself one day, to answer the question of; what did I mean by that? What would it look like for me to be caught up? And, I allowed myself to be really honest with the answer that I came up with. I was just very candid.

And it’s funny, speaking of candor, I was talking to a client earlier today. And I said, one of the ways that you get really great at time management, is that you just start having very candid, honest conversations with yourself. You really eliminate all the white lies, all the fibs that you might be used to telling yourself, about how you spend your time, about how you manage it, about what you’re going to do, and about what you’re not going to do.

You just really want to start to engage in the most honest conversations around expenditures of time that you possibly can. So, I want you to get really honest. What do you mean when you say you want to be caught up? What would that look like for you?

When I allowed myself to answer that question really honestly, what I meant by being caught up, was that I wanted to be done with everything. And I joked once, and I told a client of mine that, and I think her response to me was like, “Does that mean like your dead, like six feet under?” Because that’s kind of what it means to be done with everything, right?

Other than that, there’s always going to be more for us to do. We’re always going to have outstanding items on our to do list, things to take care of tomorrow. We’re never really gonna be “caught up”, where we’re done with everything. But a lot of people, when they’re using that phrase, they’re kind of in the back of their head aiming for that.

And what’s funny is, as soon as I described being caught up in that manner, I realized I don’t even want that. Because it would mean that I have no work to do tomorrow. I have no clients to meet with. I wouldn’t have any money coming in. And as someone who’s self-employed, that would be a nightmare, right?

Same thing goes for a lot of people who are working a billable-hour model; you want more work on the horizon. You don’t want to have an empty day tomorrow, with nothing on your to-do list and no work to bill for. So, you want to get really clear with; what do you mean by caught up? And number one, is your answer even really desirable? Do you want to be done with everything if that’s what you mean by it?

Or, two, is it even possible? And when you think about the practice of law, you’re probably never going to be caught up. It’s not like working… I’m from Detroit, and we’ve got the big three here, the automotive companies. And if you work in a factory, and you’re responsible for putting engines together every day, right?

The engines, part by part, are going to be assembled on the assembly line. And, it’s one person’s job to put the bolts into this section of the engine. And, it’s another person’s job to assemble another part of the engine. And, you’re going to do that over the course of your shift. And then, you’re done for the day, when your shift comes to an end. And, there’s no more work to do until your next shift.

The practice of law is really not like that, right? There’s going to be unfinished work at the end of your day. So, I like to introduce people to a third way to talk about time; there’s being behind, there’s being on schedule, and then, there’s being caught up.

Being caught up would be where you’re done with everything; there’s nothing left for you to do. Being on schedule is a little bit different than that; you’re still going to have outstanding items coming due in the future. You’re not behind on them, yet. They’re not late; they’re due at some time up ahead, but you still have work to do, right? It’s not like you don’t have anything on your to-do list.

That’s what it would look like to be on schedule. And then, of course, when you’re behind, it’s going to be either at the end of the day when you committed any of the three mistakes that I mentioned earlier: the causes for being behind. Or, you’re going to be behind on something that you already promised to someone. And if that’s the case, I just want to offer you; you can create a fresh start for yourself on everything that you’re behind on.

And I highly encourage you to do that, so you can get out of this narrative that you’re constantly behind. Make a list of everything that you’ve already promised people, and set new internal deadlines for yourself. If you need to communicate external deadlines, with clients or supervisors that you work with or other colleagues, whatever the case may be, set new deadlines.

And make them realistic, push them out far ahead of you, so you can work towards them. And, get out of that state of constantly being behind just because there are deadlines that you previously missed, that you’re carrying with you, that are looming with you, right?

So, you can get out of behind that way, and then, you’re just dealing with that end of the day behind, from bad planning, reshuffling, or from procrastinating.

Now, I want to talk a little bit about what I call the “catching up conundrum”, or the “caught up conundrum”. And it’s this phenomenon that I see people bring with them, that they picked up from school, right? Think about high school, college, law school, any of that, you would get, essentially, like an outline or a syllabus for the semester.

And you’d be able to figure out whether you were behind schedule, whether you were caught up, or you could even get ahead of schedule, right? Because you could look ahead. You could read ahead if you wanted to. Complete assignments early or ahead of time, but you always knew exactly where you were, with respect to the schedule for the class, for that semester.

And then, the semester would culminate in some final project. And then, there’s a nice tidy little bow that would be put on that semester, it would conclude, and then you’d get a fresh start shortly thereafter. Now, the kicker here, is that school’s an artificial environment, right?

So, your professors don’t come to you two days before your tort’s exam, while you’re cramming, and say, “Hey, I really need you to stop what you’re doing. I’m not going to move the exam, but before you finish studying for my exam, I need you to write a term paper, or do this draft motion for something,” right? They don’t do that.

You’re in this artificial bubble, protected from any of those infringements from the outside world. You have a concrete schedule of what’s going to be expected of you, and that’s all you have to think about. There are no infringements, nothing unplanned pops up to interrupt your schedule, to interrupt the plan that you’ve created for yourself. You’re really existing in this finite world of to-do list items.

And that is just completely contrary to the practice of law. To what it looks like to have a career and be working within your career. They’re just different beasts. With your career, it’s not that open-closed, tidy, little bow finality, and then fresh start scenario that we’re used to. Instead, it’s the world of spinning plates, right?

You have a to-do list, from day one of your career. And you keep adding to it and some things drop off, and then some things add on. And most people like to refer to to-do lists as ‘never ending’. I think that has a negative connotation, so I don’t love that terminology.

Instead, I like to think of your to-do list as ever evolving, because that’s exactly what it is. You’re going to work through parts of your to-do list each and every day. You’re going to scratch some things off as you conclude certain tasks, and you’re going to add some more stuff. Because as you complete some work, you’re going to have new assignments, new cases will come to you, new matters will come to you.

You might do a particular task on a matter, and it opens the door for a couple follow-up items that you need to take care of. So, that to-do list is going to be ever evolving. And, you’re never going to reach the end of a day where you’re completely done with everything.

So, if that’s what you’re aiming for, when it comes to being caught up, that sense of completion. If that’s what you’re chasing, in order to get that same sense of relief, or satisfaction, or accomplishment, that you’re used to getting from school; I hate to be the one to break this to you. But you’re just not going to get that from your career.

That’s not how the program is set up. You’re going to have that to-do list that’s constantly evolving, and you’re going to constantly have things on it that are coming up, that aren’t complete yet. So, if you’re seeking that sense of completion, you’re going to be pretty dissatisfied. You’re going to be underwhelmed at the end of every day, if you’re looking for that tidy, little bow.

Knowing that, you can start to shift your expectations. You can decide that that’s not what you’re aiming for anymore. Instead, you’re just looking to make a plan for the day, and get through the plan for the day. Not be behind at the end of the day, and have more to do tomorrow. But have that not be a problem. You’re not trying to get through everything to get that sense of finality.

The faster you make peace with the fact that you’re not going to be “caught up”, as in done with everything, and that you’re not going to have that sense of completion, and that there’s always going to be more to do tomorrow, the faster you are going to enjoy your career.

You’re going to dial down the pressure and the overwhelm significantly, because you’re not going to be chasing something that really is unattainable, right? You’re going to be much more realistic about what you can accomplish, and that’s going to allow you to feel more accomplished at the end of each day.

Now, once you’ve made peace with the fact that there’s no such thing as really being caught up, as in done with everything, in the practice of law, I also want you to start to make peace with time. And that’s really the purpose of those time audits, right? Is to get a clear picture of how much you can get done in a given day.

If you’re constantly behind, you want to evaluate why are you behind? Are you planning inaccurately? Are you reshuffling? Or, are you procrastinating? And then, solve for that. What do you need to do differently, in order to make sure you remedy each of those missteps, each of those mistakes, each of those time management faux pas?

All right, you’re going to have to get brutally honest with yourself, about how much you can accomplish in a given day. And I will tell you, most of my clients tend to be pretty mad at time. They wish it was a lot different than it was. They wish they could get a lot more done in a given time period, than they can actually get done.

So, they tend to be a little disappointed and a little underwhelmed, by what they can get done in a certain number of hours. The faster you accept what you can actually get done in a day, the faster you’re going to make managing your time so much easier on yourself. The better you’re going to get at managing your time so much faster.

Because you’re not lying to yourself about what you can accomplish in a specific time period. You’re making peace with time, you’re accepting it, for what it is, for being how it is. That’s what I want you to do.

Now, once you’ve done that, once you’ve recognized that you might have been trapped in the catch-up conundrum and you get out of it, you define what it means to be caught up, or better yet, on schedule for you. And, you stop beating yourself up about constantly being behind.

And, you start to reframe your thinking around what causes being behind, and what it means to be behind, and what it looks like to be behind. And, you stop doing those rollover minutes when it comes to being behind.

What do we do next? Well, that’s when we really start going to work and mastering the three steps to managing your time. All right, and here’s what those three steps are:

In order to manage your time, you need to control your calendar. Or, for most people, you need to reclaim control over your calendar. All right, and I’m going to teach you how to do that in the next episode.

The second step to managing your time, is planning your schedule accurately.

And then the third step to managing your time, is honoring that plan; that schedule that you set for yourself. And in order to honor the plan, you’re going to have to start work on time, work without interruptions, and end on time.

I’m going to do a deep dive into each of these three steps, over the course of the next three episodes. I’m going to teach you exactly what you need to do to reclaim control of your calendar. I’m going to teach you exactly what you need to do, in order to plan your schedule accurately. And then, we’re going to really talk at length, about what you need to do to honor the plans that you make. All right?

If you follow these three steps, you will manage your time effectively. All right, it doesn’t need to be more complicated than this. I work with a lot of clients who come to me and they’re like, “Hey, I heard I need to separate my to-do list items into urgent tasks versus important tasks. And which one’s both?” And that, I just think it’s so complicated.

Most of my clients think all of their work is both; it’s both urgent and important. And I think that just adds one more thing on your to-do list that gets in the way of you doing your work. So, we want to eliminate that. And we’re just going to create this framework. Follow these three simple steps to managing your time: reclaiming control of your calendar, planning your schedule accurately, and honoring the plan.

We’ll dive into each one, like I said, over the course of the next three episodes. All right. So, stay tuned for those. Make sure you’re subscribed to the podcast, so you don’t miss any of those tips that are coming out over the course of the next three episodes. All right.

That’s what I’ve got for you this week. I hope you have a beautiful week, my friends. 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.

Enjoy the Show?

Episode 29: Time Audits (Time Management Series)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Time Audits (Time Management Series)

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Time Audits (Time Management Series)

I’m really excited about today’s topic, and kind of for a sadistic reason. This episode is all about time audits, and I’ve learned it’s a subject people truly hate talking about. I don’t normally get this kind of schadenfreude, but when it comes to time audits, people don’t tend to realize how much of a positive long-term impact this conversation will have. 

A time audit is an exercise that helps you gain awareness of how you’re spending every minute of your day. I know, it sounds like a lot of work, but this truly is the best way of getting clarity on how you’re using your time, the habits you’re forming, and how you can leverage the time you do have to make more of an impact.

Tune in this week to discover how to audit the ways you’re spending your time. So many people realize they’re not using their time effectively when they do this, so I’m showing you how to gain awareness of your time, and start making the most of it.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

I have a few masterclasses planned for the coming months. On September 23rd, I’m teaching you how to build a book of business, and you can sign up for that masterclass by clicking here! On October 28th, we’re discussing how to set and honor boundaries. November 29th is all about how to be confident. And December 16th, we’re going to work on setting the pace for 2023 by learning to stop tolerating the parts of your life you don’t love. All of the masterclasses are at noon Eastern Time, so mark your calendars.

If you enjoyed today’s show, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why time audits are such an important tool for time management, but why they’re often met with resistance.
  • Everything that will become transparent about how you spend your time the longer you perform a time audit for.
  • How to perform a time audit for a minimum of two weeks.
  • Where I see people go wrong in not going deep enough when auditing how they spend their time.
  • How we’re going to use this new information to start adjusting where you’re spending your time.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 29. Today, we’re talking all about time 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.

Well, hello there. How you doing today? I don’t know about you, but things are pretty great over here. Are you ready for fall? It’s literally right around the corner when this episode is coming out. And, I got a taste of fall weather when I was recently in Mexico City. And man, was it lovely.

I have to say that, you know, I really love summer. I like it hot. But the Mexico City weather was so refreshing. I was expecting it to be pretty hot because I was just in Florida. And based on like, as far as latitudes go, it is a little bit further south than where I was at in Florida.

So, I was expecting it to be even hotter. But when I got there, I realized because it’s so mountainous, that it’s actually really quite cool. So, it felt like fall. It was in like the mid-60’s most of the time that I was there. And again, it was so refreshing.

So, coming back to Michigan after that trip, and it being in the middle of September now, I’m just so ready for fall. I get to break out my fall wardrobe, that has all of my signature colors in it. It’s one of my favorite transitions of the year, bringing out all those jewel tones; lots of Navy, lots of burgundy, those rich jewel tone colors. I love it, it always puts a smile on my face.

Now, speaking of fall, before I dive into today’s topic, I want to give you a rundown of what you can expect from me this fall. Like, break out your calendars, make sure you mark them, we’ve got a bunch of exciting stuff on the horizon. So, I want to make sure you’re up to speed on all of the specifics, so you don’t miss anything.

Okay, I want you to be able to plan ahead, get everything on your calendar, know what’s coming your way, so you can plan accordingly. So, you don’t miss a beat. If you don’t know this by now, every single month I teach a free masterclass. It’s normally towards the end of the month, typically on Fridays, but I post all of the dates on my social media accounts.

I will also, in the show notes, tag the link, but I’m going to give you the dates right now, just so you have them handy, and you can mark your calendars if you want to register for them. I will give you the link in the show notes of how you can register for each one.

Okay. Now, for each of these master classes that I conduct, I cover a different topic. They’re an hour long. And during that hour, we do a deep dive into whatever topic I’m covering for that session. And that’s what I call these master classes, I call them my Less Stressed Sessions. They’re so informative and valuable. If you haven’t made it to one, you’re going to want to make sure you don’t miss the fall lineup.

Okay, so coming up for September, I’m teaching you how to build a book of business, that’s on September 23rd. In October, we’re going to cover how to set and honor boundaries, one of everyone’s favorite topics that I teach, that’s on October 28th. In November, we’re going to cover how to be confident, that’s on November 29th. And in December, we’re really going to set the pace for 2023, so we’re gonna go over how to stop tolerating the parts about your life that you don’t love, and that’s on December 16th.

Okay, all of my master classes are at noon Eastern time. If you go to my social media, and again, I’m going to link the sign-up for these in the show notes, as well. But if you go there, you can find the links, sign up, make sure you get them scheduled and on your calendar, okay? You don’t want to miss them. They’re so good.

Now, these upcoming masterclasses aren’t the only things on the horizon. I’m getting ready to open the doors for enrollment into the next round of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. What’s the mastermind? It’s a six-month group coaching program that consists of a three-and-a-half-day live event, in person. We all get to come together for an immersive in-depth learning experience, where we cover all the fundamentals of coaching, and we set the foundation for our next six months of work together.

After the live event, we coach once a week, in a group. You get access to a member portal, a Facebook® group, and a ton of extra content that you can watch and consume on demand to take your learning and your growth even further. All right. Now, here are the specifics you need to know about enrollment. Okay.

Early enrollment for the mastermind is going to open up on October 28th. And you have to be on the mastermind waitlist, in order to be able to enroll during that time period. It’s gonna go from the 28th to the 31st of October. Enrollment to the mastermind will not be open to the general public during that window.

So, if you’re really interested, and I’m only going to offer a certain number of spots for the mastermind, if you’re interested and you know you want one of those spots to be yours, you want make sure you get your name on the waitlist. And I’m gonna drop the link for that in the show notes, as well. But you want to make sure that you sign up for that, so you’re the first to find out, you can be the first to secure your spot in this next group, during that early enrollment period.

After October 31st, on November 1st, I’m going to open it up for general enrollment, okay. Now, the mastermind itself doesn’t kick off until the beginning of February. But enrollment starts October 28th, okay, that early enrollment period. And that gives you enough time to know that you’re in, and to start planning your travel, and to get situated, in order to prepare yourself to do this work. To really commit, to show up fully, embrace it, and get to work. It’s going to be so much fun.

So, I wanted to make sure you had all of that on your radar. All of my upcoming free masterclasses, and the upcoming enrollment for the next round of the The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. So, mark your calendars for all of those dates. Okay.

Now, let’s dive in to today’s topic. I’m so excited to talk about it, and kind of for a sadistic reason if I’m being completely honest. We’re talking about time audits today. And this is not an understatement, not even kind of, people hate this topic. And, normally that wouldn’t bring me joy. I don’t… What’s that called? Schadenfreude, I think when you take pleasure in other people’s pain or suffering, that’s not me.

That just is totally out of character, I don’t enjoy that at all. But for some reason, I kind of do, with this very particular narrow topic. It just does it for me. All right. So, we’re talking about time audits. And you might be asking yourself; Olivia, what the hell is a time audit? I’m about to tell you. All right.

But first, I want to set the stage and provide some context, if you’re just tuning in, and this is the first episode you’ve listened to, or the first episode out of the time management series that you’ve listened to. So, how did we get here, to talking about time audits? Well, first and foremost, we’ve been going through the three P’s, which are the three problems that most of my clients suffer from, or struggle with. And those are people-pleasing, perfectionism, and procrastination.

Now procrastination’s, one of two parts of bad time management styles, right? You either procrastinate, or you’re a firefighter and you’re constantly scrambling and reshuffling and working in a really unintentional, reactive manner. Right. And I talked about that a couple of episodes ago. About firefighting and procrastinating and how you can be one or the other, or both, depending on what situation you’re in or encountering.

And then, in the last episode, once I set the stage for how you might be managing your time, in either of those two models, we started to create some awareness as to why you’re acting this way, or not doing the things that you need to be doing, and creating your time management results. It’s because of those thoughts, right?

Now, today, we’re creating some more awareness. We always want to start there, because if we’re going to solve a problem, we have to make sure we know what’s actually causing it in the first place. And why we’re doing what we’re doing, and what exactly it is that we’re doing. Right. So, that’s where time audits come in.

Now, what exactly is a time audit? Well, number one, it’s a tool that helps us gain awareness, or exercise that helps us gain awareness. And it’s essentially where you keep track of how you spend every minute of your day, all 24 hours of it. And what I recommend my clients to do, is to do that for a minimum of two weeks.

One week just simply isn’t long enough, you might have some anomalies, or some outliers. So, you want to make sure you have a little bit more data than just one week, in order to gain accurate information. And to be able to make decisions going forward based on it, for that information to be reliable, right. That’s what we’re looking for.

You want enough information to be able to identify patterns. And doing this for two weeks, conducting a time audit for at least two weeks, will help you begin to see those patterns. Now, if you do this for an even longer period of time, like a month, it’s going to be more impactful. I don’t want you to do this forever, because I think we can end up buffering and indulging, in conducting this activity.

You want to use it and leverage it, and then put the information that you’ve gained into practice, to adapt and make changes to how you manage your time and go throughout your day, and treat and interact with your schedule. Right. So, time audits minimum of two weeks.

Now, when you hear me say that you might be thinking; how the hell am I going to keep track of all of my time? Well, you’re in luck. Today’s the day for, like all the things in the show notes, apparently. But I created a timesheet that’s broken down into 15-minute increments. I actually created this when I was still working in big law. And I’ve repurposed it, and I give it to my clients all the time.

It helps them keep track of their billable time, if they work in an environment where they have to keep track of their time. But it’s also amazing for time audits. Okay, so that worksheet’s broken down into 15-minute increments, and it helps you track how you’re spending your time. Like I said, I’ll drop the link to that in the show notes, so you can go download that worksheet if you want, and use that to conduct your time audit.

You also, if you join the next round of The Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind, get whole binded notebooks of these worksheets, so you have them at your disposal. Now, if you’re not inclined to go download that worksheet, that’s okay, you can just keep track of your time on a blank sheet of paper, or on a note in your phone.

You might be tempted to keep track by using those app trackers that come on your phone automatically, that keep track of how long you use your app or monitor your screen time. I want you to resist the urge to use that, it’s not as helpful as you think it is.

And the reason for that, partially, is that it only tells part of the story: A, it’s only keeping track of your screen time. And B, I want you to gain the intel of when you’re checking your phone; when you’re on apps, when you’re distracting yourself with some form of entertainment, versus doing your work or doing something else that you said you would be doing.

Just looking at the total numbers of time spent on certain apps, isn’t going to give you all of that intel, so you’re going to miss out on some really crucial information, that would help you course-correct and make better choices about how you spend your time, going forward.

We don’t want to lose that, so I want you to do this manually. And doing this manually, just means that you’re going to keep tabs on how you spend your minutes, and which minutes you spend, throughout the day. Right? Obviously, I know that you spend all of them. We all spend the full 24 hours each day. But I want you to know, when specifically, you’re spending time doing particular activities. That’s the information that I want you to glean.

Now, why do you want to do time audits? Why do you want to conduct them? Again, it’s because we need to create and gain awareness around how you’re actually depositing your time. I love to think about time, like an allowance, like with money, right. And as we go throughout our day, we’re just making little deposits of that resource, of our time. So, you want to create awareness as to how you’re depositing yours.

So many people don’t realize where their time goes. Or, they’re completely unaware of how they’re actually spending it. They might think they’re spending it one way, and it turns out, when we do a time audit, they actually aren’t spending it that way, they’re spending it doing other things.

We also constantly overestimate and underestimate when it comes to time. We tend to think that we can do certain things much faster than we can actually do them. So, we underestimate how long things take. We also underestimate how much time we spend doing, especially activities that don’t serve us, we don’t think that we spend as much time as we do.

Then, we also will think that some things take us longer than they actually do take. And that’s when we’re in a really avoidant pattern, we’re assuming something is going to be so challenging, so difficult, and we avoid it. And then, when we finally force ourselves to do it, maybe out of fear, down the road, we’re always surprised that it didn’t take much time at all.

So, by doing a time audit, you gain a lot of awareness as to how exactly you’re spending your time. You may not know, so we want to clean that up, and make sure that you know how you’re spending it. And, we want to help you become better at estimating exactly how long things take. Because that’s one of the reasons people constantly feel behind and really struggle with time management, they plan inaccurately.

Now, when you haven’t done a time audit, you’re really able to just go through your day-to-day life, pretty unaware of how you spend your time. And, you may not realize that there are certain things that you do that take up time throughout the day. And if you aren’t planning for those things, those tasks, then you end up unintentionally double booking yourself, right? Which leads to a disaster, or to put it more mildly, it leads you to being behind schedule all the time.

I want to give you a couple examples of this. And first, I just want to say that I used to be the queen of double booking myself. I used to work really long days, and I would plan about 24-hour’s worth of work in about a 10-hour period.

Now, I didn’t sit there and map out the math of it, right, it’s not like I came up with the total number have hours that I needed to work in order to complete a task. Like, I came up with the number 24, and then tried to shove it into that 10-hour period. I just had a blank calendar and a to-do list a mile long.

And I just kept telling myself; I’ll get it all done in this amount of time. Even though, that was a completely unrealistic plan, because the math just didn’t work out. So, of course, when I did that, I was always setting myself up for failure.

Now, when I planned the 10 hours of work for the day, I also didn’t leave any room for what I call humaning; eating lunch, grabbing coffee, using the restroom, talking to someone, checking my phone. Which, you don’t need to be doing all day long, but you’re probably going to do it once or twice, or a couple times throughout the day, right?

All of that stuff takes time. So, if you’re planning 10 hours’ worth of work in a 10-hour period, or better yet, 24 hours’ worth of work in a 10-hour period, and you’re not accounting for any time to human, you’re really going to set yourself behind the clock, right? Because you are, in fact, going to do the things that are required of being human, like I just listed out.

So, if you’re not planning for those, if you’re not building that into your schedule, you’re going to be double booking yourself. It’s a recipe, again, for disaster and being really behind. Now, a couple other examples of double booking yourself or being unaware of how long something takes, and then planning poorly, accordingly.

A great example that I see all the time, are my clients who say they don’t eat lunch. And maybe you don’t eat lunch; I typically don’t eat lunch, and I didn’t eat lunch all that frequently in some of my past legal jobs. But with that being said, I encounter a lot of people who actually do eat lunch, they just don’t eat a lengthy lunch, or at least that’s what they tell themselves.

They’re like; oh, I just grabbed something, and I eat at my desk. And when we do a time audit together, I always ask them to really pay close attention to how long that takes. Because they never account any time for it. So, if you’re telling yourself; oh, I’m going to work on that motion, or I’m going to work on that draft of a contract, or I’m going to send emails from 12-1 and it’s going to take me about an hour.

And you also plan to eat lunch during that time, even if you eat at your desk, here’s what’s happening. Your lunch still takes a few minutes, at minimum, to prepare. Normally, it’s more minutes than you think it is. And you can’t really multitask. So, you can’t eat and type at the same time. You have to be shifting your attention from one thing to the other. And every time you shift your attention, you’re losing time.

So, you’re trying to do two things within the same exact timeframe, and of course, that’s not possible. So, your minutes are going to be pushed back, you’re going to find yourself starting to fall behind. People also do this when they plan their schedules, and they don’t factor in all of the time they spend on reading and responding to emails, right.

So, I was guilty of this too, I’d plan 10 hours’ worth of “substantive work”, which for me, as a litigator, was like in Microsoft Word™ or in Westlaw™, either drafting or researching. And I wouldn’t take into account, that every day, I probably spent at least an hour, at a bare minimum an hour, oftentimes two to three hours, just reading and responding to emails.

So, you need to factor that in to your schedule. If you don’t, now you’re trying to fit the eight hours that you planned plus three hours for email, into eight hours. Instead of planning 11 hours’ worth of work, or better yet, 11 hours in a 12-hour time period, to leave room for that humaning time. Right. If you do it any other way, you’re unconsciously double booking yourself.

So, when we’re doing a time audit, I often have my clients keep very specific, detailed account of how much time they spend emailing, reading emails, responding to emails. We need to get a general sense of how much time you devote to that activity, so you can build it into your plan and avoid double booking yourself.

And, you will probably be surprised to see how much time email takes up for you every single day. A lot of the substantive work that people do, is sending and receiving email. That’s just the work world that we live in, nowadays. So, you want to make sure that you’re really conscious and aware of exactly how much time it takes you every day. So, you can bake that into the scheduling cake. All right.

Another big time suck, that people tend to be a little blind to, is how much time they spend talking to people, like co-workers, colleagues, clients, things like that, that they are not accounting for, okay? You also want to see if your meetings actually go as long as you say they’re gonna go.

If you’re calendaring them, and then you’re accounting for time right after to be used for something else, but you, when you conduct a time audit, start to learn that your meetings always go long. Instead of a half an hour, they normally always end up taking an hour, that doesn’t have to be a problem, you just really want to know that. You want to know that your meetings take an hour, so you can plan very accurately.

Same thing with some of those buffering activities. You may not realize how much time you engage in that behavior, like scrolling on Instagram® in the morning, while you’re lying in bed, because you don’t really feel like getting ready for work and getting up for the day. Right, you’re avoiding all of the things that you have to do. So, you just start to scroll.

And when you’re confronted with the amount of time, when you see it written down on paper, and you see when, in your day, you do that. And you start to think about how you could have spent that time instead, it’s really hard to keep ignoring the problem. So, we want to create a lot of awareness, by conducting a time audit.

Now, when you do this, you will probably be really floored and learn a ton about yourself. It will start to make sense why you have the exact results with time management and your workload that you do. Based on the activities that you engage in, and the activities that you don’t engage in right; two sides to that coin.

Now, you can start to see why you might want to do a time audit. It’s going to create all of this awareness. You won’t be able to hide from yourself. You will start to gain data and information, in order to make more informed decisions about how you deposit your time in the future. So, there’s a lot of great stuff that comes out of doing a time audit.

Regardless, people typically hate completing them. I’ve watched my clients resist doing this, at all costs. And maybe that’s you, maybe you can totally relate to that. Maybe, as I’m talking about doing a time audit, and you hear me recommending it, suggesting, and breaking it down; how it is that you do it, how specific you want to be with it, you might be thinking to yourself; no way, Jose, I’m absolutely not doing this.

And if that’s you, let’s talk about it, okay. Because you’re really missing out on all of the incredible value that you gain when you conduct a time audit. So, here are some of the reasons people resist completing this exercise. And then, why you want to make sure that you aren’t one of them, that you don’t resist completing this exercise.

First and foremost, people resist conducting time audits because they tell themselves that they don’t have the time to do it. All right, which is always a lie, we always have the time. Because we make choices with how we spend our time. Time doesn’t happen to us; we choose how we spend and deposit our time.

So, you do have the time, telling yourself that you don’t is simply inaccurate, it’s a lie. That being said, telling yourself that you don’t have the time is a very effective way to avoid doing a time audit. So, if you don’t want to do one, that’s going to sound really reasonable to you. And listen, I get it.

You’re probably coming to this episode, and to this topic of time management, generally pretty stressed, and overwhelmed, and anxious, and feeling behind, and pressured, and rushed. So, it’s gonna be hard to devote extra time to another task, right?

But I want to encourage you, that you actually don’t have time to not do this. Because you keep squandering so much of your time with bad time management practices, that we need to clear that up, we need to clean that up. And the way to do that, the fastest way to do that, is to get really clear on how long things take you, and how you’re currently choosing to spend your time. All right.

You also might think that it will take too long to do. I see that with a lot of my clients. They’re like; oh, it’s gonna take me forever. I have to write everything down. It’ll take me basically all day. Lies, again. No, it won’t. You don’t need to write War and Peace descriptions of how you spend your time. You just need like a one-word statement, or at the most, a phrase, you don’t even need a complete sentence. Okay?

This isn’t billable time narratives here. It’s just something that will jog your memory, where you’ll be able to look at it and you’ll know exactly how you spent that time. Okay? So, keep it simple, specific, but short, don’t indulge in syncing time into this activity, or telling yourself that it’s going to take too long, when it doesn’t have to. Because if you’re telling yourself that it’s going to take too long, you’re going to have a ton of resistance to doing this.

You also, will create resistance for yourself, if you tell yourself that this is a tedious task, okay? Who cares if it’s tedious? First of all, tedious is subjective. So, that’s an opinion, that’s just a thought and you can choose to change it. You can also just decide the tedious isn’t a problem.

Tedious is a good thing here. We want to be tedious because we want to gain all that amazing information, all that intel, to make better informed decisions going forward. So, you can course-correct and better manage your time.

Another reason people have resistance to conducting time audits, is that they’re telling themselves that it’s not going to make a difference. Why would they keep track of their time, if they’re still going to manage it the exact same way after they keep track of it? They think that’s what’s going to happen; that nothing’s going to change.

I promise you, if you become painfully aware of how you’re depositing your time every day, and you’re currently struggling with time management, you’re gonna have to face the hard truth of how you spend time. And that truth alone, gaining that awareness, in and of itself, will force you to course correct. Maybe not 100%, but probably pretty significantly. So, just gaining this awareness can be life changing, super transformative.

Now, if you’re telling yourself that it won’t make a difference if you conduct this time audit, I implore you to just give it a try and see what happens before you come to that judgment. Remember what I told you several episodes ago. That in order to tackle the three P’s; people-pleasing, perfectionism, and procrastination, that I needed you to be three things. And those were being resourceful, patient, and coachable. This is where that kicks in and comes into play.

I need you to be resourceful, patient, and coachable. And specifically coachable here, because I’m telling you to do something, and you might have resistance to doing it. And I am on your side, I’m always on your side. I always want what serves you, what gets you where you want to go. I promise you time audits are the way for you to get where you want to go, when it comes to time management.

So, take a deep breath and find that coachability within yourself, and just try on this exercise. Just try on the possibility that I might be on to something, that I might have experience with this that you don’t yet have. That I might know something that you don’t yet know. Just trust and have a little bit of faith. Okay.

Now, the other reason that people absolutely hate this exercise, is because conducting this exercise forces you to confront the reality of how you spend your time. And for most people, that really triggers their perfectionism. It goes into direct conflict with their perfectionistic preferences, right? You want to be hitting the nail on the head with how you manage your time. And then, when you keep track of it, you are confronted with the harsh reality that you’re not managing it all that well, right.

And you probably, intellectually know that, but seeing it written down on paper is a whole other story, right? It’s a hard pill to swallow. It’s a hard truth that you get confronted with. Now, it’s a catalyst. It’s super impactful doing this, but it does force you to confront reality, and it will trigger your perfectionism.

It’s going to conjure up feelings of guilt, of shame, of inadequacy, of disappointment in yourself. And as humans, our natural inclination to those emotions, is to do a couple different things: Either bury our head in the sand, or busy ourselves with doing something else, rather than slowing down, getting curious, and taking a good hard look at how you’re spending your time.

But here’s what we don’t do here: We don’t bury our heads in the sand. That’s not a thing. We take full, radical ownership over our behavior, over our choices. That is what is required for you to live a more fulfilling, more intentional life. You’ve got to own the choices that you’re making. All right.

Now, the only way to fully own how you deposit your time. is to keep track of how you spend it. There’s no other way around it. If you want to take full ownership and course-correct we’ve got to confront reality. And confronting reality looks like keeping track of how you spend every minute of your day, again, for at least a minimum of two weeks.

Now, this exercise is going to be uncomfortable for you, probably. That is okay. That’s actually a huge part of learning how to master time management. You have to be willing to feel uncomfortable, and do things in spite of and despite the discomfort. You have to be willing to do things that you don’t want to do.

You get to start building that skill set, building that ability to do things that you don’t want to do, by conducting these time audits, every day for at least two weeks, all right. Track your time, every single minute of it. Figure out when you wake up, how long it takes you to get ready, when you start work, how much time you spend working, how much time you spend not working, how much time you spend relaxing, and how much time you spend sleeping, and everything else in between.

Figure out how long you spent in meetings, or on emails, or working on big projects. Figure out where, in your day, your productivity really drops off. Figure out how long it takes you to simply be a human every day, and where you’re losing track of time, or where you’re not accounting for things that take time. Where you’re double booking yourself, unconsciously.

I want you to keep track of all of that, we want to know it all; all the professional parts and all of the personal parts. So, we can start to piece together what your life looks like, as far as time is concerned. From there, once we have that intel, once we’ve gained and created that awareness, we can start making more informed decisions about how we deposit our time, we can start to plan accurately. And that’s one of the steps, to the three-step process, that I teach on how to manage your time.

All right, so that’s your homework this week: I want you to go to the show notes, download the worksheet, and start keeping track of how you spend your time. We’re going to do this exercise for two weeks, because we’re not done talking about time management, yet. But get started now, gain some intel, start learning about yourself, how you spend time, what you do, what you don’t do, where the train starts to fall off the track.

Gain all of that information, and then we’ll take that information, and we’ll figure out a game plan moving forward, in order to course-correct. All right. So, you can get started on that now, and we’ll keep going as you work through conducting the time audit.

Remember, if you’re in a ton of resistance, that’s okay. You can do uncomfortable things. You will survive it, it’ll be fine. Just gag and go through the discomfort and complete these time audits anyways. Doing this exercise will blow your mind and change your life. I assure you.

All right. That’s what I have for you this week. I hope you have a beautiful week, and 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.

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