It happens to me all the time, and I’m willing to bet it happens to you, too. I’m out for dinner with family or friends—and as usual, the conversation veers towards work. And invariably, it becomes a competition. No, there’s never any comparison over money or status. For some reason, it’s always about the number of hours people put into their workday. I’m not lying when I say the exaggerations get more extreme as the years go by. Apparently, the whole world works 80-hour weeks, sleeps 4 hours a night, and fuels itself on a steady diet of extra-large coffees. Also, if you aren’t grinding out workdays, as if each one is an Iron Man race, you’re doing it wrong. Frankly, I’ll never truly understand why people brag about such things. Particularly, when – in my eyes – it’s far healthier to get more work done in less time. Okay, that does sound a little too good to be true. But a loss of work-life balance comes with an increased chance of illness, burnout, and overall disengagement at work. So, really, spending every waking moment trying to accumulate hours in the office is wholly detrimental in the grand scheme of things.
During my 13 years of working with attorneys, I’ve seen how technology advancements have made the industry more efficient than ever. Yet, the majority of firms still expect their lawyers to work themselves to a nub. Such a mentality seems so illogical. With all the tools available, these firms want to squeeze every single drop of effort out of their team. They fail to realize there’s a law of diminishing returns when people are overworked. The lack of rest and ability to recharge leaves personnel stressed, exhausted, and decidedly less focused---despite their enthusiasm and best efforts. The fact is, the abundance of technological advancements throughout the world should lead to less work. Times have changed, and people don’t need to work from sunrise to sunset to make ends meet. Thankfully, many small and solo law firms have a clear grasp of how the world is changing. They are faster to embrace the luxuries of technology and leverage it so they can work less. Some larger firms are even following suit. As the CEO in my company, I only work 35-40 hours a week—which is laughable at many prominent firms. I’d be ridiculed for my lack of dedication. Want to know what’s even more egregious? For the most part, I don’t check email outside work hours. But my business is thriving. And I’m more fulfilled than I’ve ever been. Most importantly, I’m home every night with my wife and children, and enjoy preparing home-cooked meals on most nights. Plus, I get to enjoy my weekends. Interestingly, I’m not being criticized for my “lack of work ethic.” My approach is something that’s being celebrated throughout an increasing number of professional circles. Why? Because I’m applying my expertise to working smarter and not harder.
Sure, you can work all the hours in the world—like you’re an employee possessed. Sadly, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle.
Suddenly, you lose your weekends and your nights. Then, your life becomes work—there’s no escaping it.
A job shouldn’t be 24/7.
No doubt the law industry is demanding, and if you’re actively choosing to work fewer hours, results are a must.
So, you need a set of core principles or values to keep you on the right track. This will ensure you cut the fat out of your workday and ensure actions you make throughout the day are fully optimized.
To give you an example, at GlobalMacIT (the parent company bhnd the Optimize Method), we have three core values:
• Grow • Be the Hero • Do the Work
Let’s focus on that last one. What does it mean to “do the work”? Does is necessitate sleepless nights at the office?
Not even for a second.
At GlobalMacIT, we prioritize – well – priorities. No matter if it’s a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly assessment, every one of our team members must take the time to focus on what’s integral to their success and avoid succumbing to distractions.
With clearly defined goals, a laser-like focus, and savvy technology that streamlines workplace tasks, you can complete one week’s worth of work far less time.
Alternatively, when you’re focused on accumulating hours versus accomplishing those goals, getting sidetracked is a foregone conclusion. You’ll spend 10-12 hours per day at work, and you’ll wonder what you really accomplished.
I’m not going to act like I have all the answers.
Perhaps you’re a rockstar attorney with an impeccable track record who believes strictly in working 70-hour weeks. Or you agree with me. Maybe you stand somewhere in between. Regardless, I hope you let me know your take.
Furthermore, if you want to optimize your workdays so you can move mountains during your work hours, opt-in here to receive my insights on how to optimize technology within your law practice.
Sign up today and change the way you see and do work.
It’s time to stop toiling during 10-12-hour days and start conquering your 8-hour days and a REAL work/life balance.
Tom Lambotte is the Creator of the Optimize Method and CEO of GlobalMacIT, a national Managed Service Provider providing complete end-to end legal technology services to Mac-Based law firms. They provide leadership and direction to transform law firm operations and boost profits by leveraging technology. Tom’s methods are based on over a decade of research, testing and real-world refinement of best practices, working directly with solo and small firms providing strategies and support to mproving their use of technology..
Tom is the ABA published author of Macs in Law: the Definitive Guide for the Mac-Curious, Windows-using Attorney. His 2 other books are Legal Boost: Big Profits Through an IT Transformation and Hassle Free Mac IT Support for Law Firms. He is a highly sought after speaker at national events such as the ABA Techshow and MacTrack Legal.