Transcript: Simplify Your Practice with Dina Cataldo
Hello, my friend. How are you today?
As you’re listening to this, I’m in Southern California visiting friends. As a side note, totally unrelated to this podcast, I often remark about how amazing my friends are. How they’re so willing to help me when I need it or arrange a nice place to meet up or pay for dinner. I mentally pinch my self every time my friends do something sweet for me. I have to remind myself that I must be an amazing friend too, or they wouldn’t do those things for me. I arrange dinners and places to meet. I drop everything when they really need me. So if you notice yourself mentally pinching yourself, know that you have a part in creating those amazing friendships even if you can’t see it.
To connect this with your law practice, remember that when you make money, get clients, or you get more billable hours in than you thought you would, know that it’s not a fluke. You made that. Even if you don’t believe that right now, take your brain to the place where what MIGHT have created that. For instance, I had a call recently, and the attorney I spoke to said she had a good year because it was a fluke. Money is never a fluke. You have to train your brain to see what created it. What were you thinking the months before you made it? What were you feeling? What actions did you take from that feeling?
When I work with clients, I help them connect the dots between what they think is a fluke and how to create it intentionally. We create their recipe for success, and then I show them how to repeat that success over and over again.
When you’re ready to do that, book a call with me to learn more about working with me. You can book a call at dinacataldo.com/strategysession – This is the perfect time to learn your recipe, so you can take it into the new year and make things happen! This is doable, and I can show you how. Book a call with me and make the next year the year you take control of your practice.
Speaking of the new year, I have a lot of good stuff for you to dig into if you’re working on your goals.
First, I don’t know if you’ve noticed a theme, but I’m been preparing you over the last several episodes with the skills you need to work on your business goals in the new year.
We’ve been talking about Belief Planning, Essential Skills to prevent you from over-working, expanding your vision. These have been awesome episodes for entrepreneurial lawyers. If you haven’t listened to them, I highly suggest you go back and do that.
Additionally, I have some episodes planned in the next few weeks specifically on deciding on your goal, how to think about your goal, and how to take action on it coming up, so be sure you’re subscribed.
One more thing before we dive into today’s topic, I created a mini-podcast guide for you. I curated some of the best episodes on topics like Money, Business, Goals, Time Management. I’ll link to that in the show notes along with the other episodes I mentioned.
Get all of this at dinacataldo.com/183 – that’s dinacataldo.com/183
Alright, let’s simplify your practice. This episode is for you whether you work for someone else or run your own practice. You can easily tailor each of these for your specific needs. I work with my clients on these because sometimes they don’t even notice that they’re not doing these. They fall into old habits, then I check in with them, and they realize that they stopped doing one of these.
That’s totally okay, just know that these skills are habits, and to check in with yourself to see if you’re doing these consistently.
When you take a look at your practice and ask yourself how you can use these skills in your practice, know that simplifying your practice isn’t just about doing something nice like clearing your desk, which is a nice to have but not always on the top of your to do list.
What I’m offering you today are necessary.
They’re necessary because if you don’t use these skills, you’re throwing away time that you could otherwise spend thinking about how to serve your clients, creating billables, getting real work done instead of spinning out, and they just feel good. When you do these you’re going to feel more in control. You’re going to be able to have a say in how you run your day.
1. Edit your calendar
Not everything needs to get done, and not everything needs to get done by you.
When my clients come to me, often they spend a lot of time doing non-essential tasks. They're doing a lot of work with little monetary or emotional return. This doesn’t mean go out and hire an assistant or an associate. You must understand your backend of your practice before you can explain the backend to anyone else. Don’t just throw money at an assistant or paralegal and expect them to fix the problem. It’s a waste of time and money, and you’re going to resent them for not fixing it the way you want it fixed.
This is how you know you need to edit your calendar.
- For example, you may get distracted during your day and find yourself posting lots of links to LinkedIn without a strategy.
- Or maybe you think about making a spreadsheet to track a stat in your business, but that statistic isn't going to make an impact on your bottom line. It's just going to take a lot of your time and feels like it’s doing something.
- Or, maybe you have a million ideas about how to meet your goal, and you take action on one, then another, then another without getting any traction.
- It would show up for me when I made a giant to-do list, then sat in overwhelm looking at it. I’d ask myself where to start and end up doing very little on the list and beat myself up for being lazy. So not helpful.
The reason you need to edit your calendar before you take any action is that doing this helps you develop a strategy for the week that aligns with your goals and is the most impactful towards them.
If your goal is to create 5 new clients this month or make 140 in billable or get two trials out, you can focus your brain on choosing the one goal you want to move forward on this month.
Step one in this is having a calendar, and if you don’t have one, I highly suggest you watch the Calendar Masterclass – I’ll link to that in the show notes too.
The very first thing you do before you get to work each week is write what your brain is telling you that you need to do. Write everything and the kitchen sink. My brain likes to tell me I have to do everything that week, but it’s not true. So I cross off everything that’s not important to me. Cleaning the garage isn’t important to me, helping more clients is. Watching TV isn’t important to me, getting a workout in is. You get to choose what you want to prioritize.
You get to decide ahead of time whether being on social media is important to you. If it is, then you show up on Linked In with a plan of what to post – how is it serving your clients? Are you making an offer, etc?
You can decide whether that spreadsheet is going to help you attract more clients.
You can have time to sit and think about what one or two marketing strategies you want to follow through on instead of believing your brain that’s telling you that you need to do a thousand things. Try it, follow through on it, objectively evaluate the results, then you can make a new decision on how to move forward.
Ruthlessly eliminate all the clutter on your to-do list, and stop believing your brain when it tells you that you need to do more.
2. Stop hustling and learn to trust yourself
How do you feel when you're hustling? Fulfilled? Anxious? Pressured? Overwhelmed?
If it's one of the last three, hustling isn’t working for you.
When we hustle and over-work, and I talked about overwork in the last episode.
When we hustle, we don't believe the result we want is guaranteed.
We don't trust ourselves to deliver.
When we don’t trust ourselves, we don't start the day with a plan.
Instead, we jump in believing that if we work hard all day, everything will get done.
When 5pm hits, and it's not done, we think we just didn't hustle hard enough.
Enough with the hustle culture.
Use your calendar, and edit it for what’s necessary.
When you do, you can focus on the most impactful tasks in your practice that day, and everything else is a cherry on top.
3. Decide what “enough” means
A symptom of overworking is “never enough syndrome.”
What does enough mean to you?
If you think enough means that you don’t have any more emails in your inbox, or that you don’t have any work in your physical inbox, I have news for you:
All that means is you no longer have work to get paid for.
Does that change anything for you?
When my clients are overworking, I help them focus their brain to decide what “enough” means.
My enough is always tied to my goal, so I decide ahead of time what enough action looks like. I decide how many offers I’m going to make, I decide where I’m going to show up online. When I’ve fulfilled those, then anything more I do is just extra. I can tell my brain I did enough, and this is just for fun.
The good news is that you get to decide what enough looks like for you.
How many tasks/projects/calls do you need to make today to tell yourself that you've done enough? It may just be 1 or 2 things.
4. Celebrate your wins
Sometimes my clients (and, okay, I'll admit I do this myself) resist celebrating wins.
Why does celebrating simplify your practice?
When we don’t celebrate our wins, we waste a TON of time.
We make it impossible for them to reach the finish line because we keep pushing the finish line further and further away without celebrating the progress they've made so far.
This shows up when we get a new client, but then we tell ourselves, but it’s not two clients.
Or when we get a ton of consults and not one signs, then we tell ourselves something has gone wrong instead of objectively looking at what brought in the consult and why the consult didn’t sign.
When we celebrate what’s going right, then we can get our brain in the headspace of objectively evaluating, so we can make progress towards our goals.
When our brain isn’t in a good headspace, it wants to blame and eat Doritos. It doesn’t want to problem-solve.
Celebrating wins gets the feeling of accomplishment in our nervous system. The more we feel accomplishment and pride in our work, the more we’re going to want to keep taking action towards our goals. It’s more fun!
And, of course, if it’s more fun, we’re going to take more action towards our goals leading to more success!
Ignoring our wins discourages us from continuing towards our goal. The natural impact of that is that we don’t take the action that’s going to bring us more wins.
You know that you need to celebrate your wins if:
- you tell yourself money is a fluke
- You give other people credit for your wins instead of owning them
- You focus your brain on what you did wrong
- You find yourself in disappointment a lot of the time and don’t want to take action
- You feel like you’re in hustle energy a lot
If any of this is happening, just notice it – no judgment necessary. Nothing has gone wrong. Our brains naturally are set on survival mode. In its way, it thinks it’s protecting us. We have to do the work of focusing our brain on celebrating our wins.
When I see a client whose brain wants to be hard on them when they think they failed, I remind them if we’re going to take 100% responsibility of what we think we did wrong, then we’d better be prepared to take 100% responsibility of what we did right.
Be kind to yourself and celebrate your wins. Not only does it make the journey more fun, but that energy is infectious. Everyone will want to be around you.
I hope you enjoyed this episode and that you have a fabulous rest of your week. I’ll talk to you soon.