IT’S 6 A.M. AND YOU’VE ALREADY been up an hour. You’re exhausted, hiding out in the bathroom, with one kid pawing at the bathroom door, and another screaming “Mom!” from another room. You just need a few minutes to get yourself together because it’s going to be another long day of meetings, hearings, trial prep, and, of course, before all of that—there are lunches to be made, socks to find, kids to get to school, and…you lost your train of thought…scroll, scroll, scroll…oh, look, an article on time blocking: “I’ll bookmark that to read later…”
Does this scenario sound familiar? Even if you aren’t a busy mom, too, and you’re just a busy lawyer who owns and runs her own law practice, you likely feel most of your life is about stuffing 10 pounds of potatoes in a five-pound bag. You’re up early, running from one appointment to the next until you collapse in the bed at night, too exhausted to even sleep.
It’s hard to take time off because you might not feel you can trust others to take care of running your firm while you are gone, but you desperately need a break.
Every time you see an article about time management or improving productivity or efficiency, you read it, looking for some new tips or tricks to make your life easier. You’ve tried time blocking, the Pomodoro technique, and about 12 different planners. You’ve also tracked your time. Sort of. For about a week. Okay, two days. But you had your staff (your paralegal) track theirs (hers). Maybe you’ll try another app you read about in a Facebook group last week.
You’ve delegated some tasks to your paralegal and your assistant, but you don’t feel like your family can afford a housekeeper, a chef, a personal assistant and a nanny—not with the cost of daycare, insurance and self-funding your own retirement. Maybe when your firm hits seven figures. Besides, who even has time to interview all those people?
So what’s left? How do you cope when it feels like the “practical” answers are not the answers for you right now? How do you even get to the point where you can begin to solve all those problems if you don’t even feel like you have space to breathe?
You start where you are.
Turn inward to the only thing any one of us has control over anyway: our own thoughts. The next time you are struggling and stressing about any part of your day, ask yourself one (or more) of these questions:
- What else is possible?
- What’s right about this I am not getting?
- What would it take to create (the outcome I desire)? Everything that doesn’t allow that, can we destroy and un-create it all?
The goal of asking these questions (tools from Access Consciousness) is not to come up with the answers (hard for attorneys, I know), it is merely to get in the habit of asking them, and in so doing, shifting our perspective to include other possibilities. The goal is to retrain our subconscious minds to release us from old patterns of behavior that keep us stuck in overwhelm, too stressed out to live our lives with ease and joy.
Too often, we get so caught up in our own way of viewing the world and handling situations, that we forget there are many, many different ways to resolve situations—some we might never have even considered! When we ask (the Universe, our subconscious mind, God) without expectation of an immediate answer, and then allow time and space for an answer to come, it will.
The key, in the meantime, is to turn our attention to something else. For instance, ask: “What else is possible?” and then shift your focus to something else. Wait for a resolution to come to you, be curious about how it will, and then be pleasantly surprised when it does.
Lastly, several times a day, say to yourself: “Everything always works out for me.” You might feel foolish at first. I’ve even had clients who struggled to say this without a sarcastic tone. (I made one repeat it several times until he could.) However, every client who has ever tried this—and all I’ve asked to try this have—has reported back to me gleefully “You are right! I started saying this and then I began to notice ‘Everything does always work out for me!’”
Sometimes, practical applications do not work because we are not in the right frame of mind for them to work. Like Sisyphus, we continue to push the same boulder up the hill never realizing, until we reconsider the way we think about our business and our lives, the weight of our unmet expectations will always roll back down upon us and crush our spirits.
The good news is: we can choose differently. And we can choose again. And again.