billables mindset, how to bill better, billables for lawyers, DIna Cataldo, how to be a better lawyer, be a better lawyer podcast

#238: Billables Mindset

You may be thinking billable targets are impossibly hard to make or that you don't have enough time to hit your targets.

Making more billables doesn't have to do with how much time you have.

It actually comes down to your billables mindset. Your billables mindset is how you think about billables.

What I'm sharing today is a brand new perspective to help you make hitting your billable targets easier.

Even if you don't have a billable practice, listen in, because if you have revenue goals you'll need the mindset I talk about in this episode to make it happen.

In this episode you’ll learn:

what's actually preventing you from hitting your billable targets

why the meaning you give the numbers impacts your future billables

how to use key indicators during your day as a crystal ball 🔮 to predict how the numbers will go, so you can turn your day around at any time and make it more likely you’ll hit your targets.

This episode is a game-changer that will help you hit your billable targets.

Listen in and get exactly what you need to boost your billables.



Are you a Be a Better Lawyer Podcast ride-or-die?

Thanks for listening, and I'll talk to you next week.

Be a Better Lawyer, Apple Podcasts, Dina Cataldo
spotify, be a better lawyer podcast, Dina Cataldo

Hello. We are gonna be talking about billing thinking today, but if you don't have a billable practice, I want you to listen in any way, because if you're dealing with numbers of any sort, revenue goals, or client numbers, you are gonna have thoughts. 

When we have thoughts, we can sometimes have some drama. And I want you to have a drama free practice. I want you to be able to look at your numbers instead of avoid them. The numbers are important, but what’s even more important is what we make those numbers mean.

In this episode you’ll learn 

  • key thoughts to be aware of that are detrimental to hitting your billable targets
  • How to uncover what you’re making the numbers mean, and how that impacts your billable numbers
  • How to use some key indicators during your day as a crystal ball to predict how the numbers will go, so you can turn your day around and make it more likely you’ll hit your targets

Before we dive in, I want to make sure you’ve downloaded my Busy Lawyer’s Quick Start Guide to Getting 10 Hours Back. It’s the process I walk my clients through, and they use it to hit their billable targets more often. You’ll get the step-by-step actions to make your week easier and the mindset principles behind each of these steps.

You can download the guide at


Alright, let’s get to it. 

Let's talk billables.

This week I had a couple conversations with clients that were billable intensive.

I want you to benefit from the conversations we had so you can get awareness of where this drama might be showing up in your practice and start diffusing it. When you start paying attention to the way you think about billables, it will help you hit your targets more consistently, and you won’t feel horrible on those days you don’t hit your targets.

Same thing with revenue goals or your task lists. If you are looking at what you haven't created yet and focusing your attention on that and thinking the thoughts like,

“I didn’t hit my goal,” or

“I didn’t do what I needed to do,”

you're not going to make it more likely that you’ll hit your goal.

That’s because your brain is so focused on you NOT hitting the goal, your brain can’t focused on problem-solving to hit the goal.

I’m going to offer you something that I learned the hard way: stop thinking these kinds of thoughts.

I can hear you say, “But Dina, how do I stop thinking those thoughts? They’re true. I didn’t hit my goal, and I didn’t do what I needed to do.”

It doesn’t matter.

Not all true thoughts are worth thinking.

This is how you’ll know if a thought is worth thinking: ask yourself how it makes you feel when you think about your goal?

If it feels crappy, it’s a thought that needs to be kicked to the curb.

Our brain automatically thinks thoughts that skew negative. You’ll know your brain is doing this if you feel bad.

When you feel bad — overwhelm, stress, pressure, anxiety —  the brain is focusing in a way that’s detrimental to our goals. 

That's just what our brain does. What we want to do is redirect it. 

This was a concept I needed to learn because my brain very much wanted to tell me, especially early on in my business, things like, 

“you haven't hit your numbers,”

Thanks, brain. 

I had to learn to recognize when I was thinking it — which I’ll help cue you into when it comes to billables — then tell my brain, 

“yeah, that's okay. I can figure this out.”

So let's say you have a goal to make 8 hours of billables a day, and at the end of the day you check your hours and you've made 4. 

The circumstance is, “I made 4 billables, and my goal was 8.”

Then you have thoughts about the numbers.

“I didn’t hit 8 hours.” 

“I needed 4 more hours to hit my goal.”

These thoughts are factually true, but for high-achieving lawyers – which you probably are — thinking these thoughts feels horrible.

When we feel horrible, we think it’s because of what we did or didn’t do.

We actually feel horrible because of what we’re thinking.

Because “I didn’t hit 8 hours” isn’t what’s making you feel horrible.

What’s making you feel horrible is the underlying thought you’re having about those numbers.

I help my clients with this, but you can do this too.

You can ask yourself questions like, “What am I making that mean?” “What am I making it mean that I didn’t hit 8 hours?”

My clients was making it mean that she never makes her hours.

When we dug a bit deeper she was also thinking that she’d never hit her goal.

Those thoughts felt terrible, and they were impacting her ability to hit her hours because they were impacting how she showed up in her practice. I’ll go into detail in a minute.

For those of you who have revenue goals or want to complete your task list what are you making it mean if you don’t hit your revenue goal or complete your task list?

Here are some common thoughts us humans tend to have:

  • I’m not good enough
  • My boss will hate me
  • I’m going to be fired
  • I’m never going to hit my goal
  • This is never going to work
  • It’s not working

These thoughts will NOT help you hit your goal.

They will more than likely put you into a stress cycle where you’re working longer hours and feeling tense all the time.

Now that we’ve found the superficial thought — which is looking at the numbers, and we’ve found the underlying thought, we want to tap into how that underlying thought makes you feel.

What we’re doing here is gathering lots of clues, so that you create the equivalent of a crystal ball for your billables. You’re going to have so much information about how you think, feel and behave that you’ll be able to tell whether you’re likely to hit your billables as soon as you start working or as you check in with yourself throughout the day.

The more you tune into yourself and how you think, feel and behave, the easier it is to turn your day around when you see it going sideways.

I want you to drop into your body.

How do you FEEL in your body when you think the underlying thought you found?

Here’s some questions to help you:

  • is your breath shallow or deep?
  • Does your body feel open or closed?
  • Do your shoulders slouch or open up?
  • What does it feel like in the pit of your stomach?
  • Do you feel tense?
  • Is your jaw clenched?

Okay, now can you name the emotion associated with the feeling in your body?





Neutral – in other words your body doesn’t feel good or bad




The way we FEEL — our EMOTION — is coming from our thought.

When you feel that way, how are you likely to behave?

One of my clients said that when she thought she wasn’t going to hit her goal, she felt exhausted, then she:

  • Didn’t contemporaneously bill
  • Multi-tasked doing things like answering emails while on the phone
  • She wasn’t time-blocking like she usually did
  • Walked away from her desk after seeing the hours because she was avoiding feeling bad
  • didn’t double check her hours to see if they were accurate

When we outlined her patterns, she not can immediately see when her day is going sideways, and she can refocus on what works for her to make more billables: time blocking, focusing her time instead of multi-tasking, and double checking her hours.

This is why this is so important to recognize your patterns. If you don’t, it's impacting your day, your week, and your goal. 

My client is going to have a much better chance of hitting her billables now because she is practicing seeing her patterns and rerouting them.

The more she does it, the better she’ll get at it, and the faster she’ll turn a low billable day around.

For example, let’s say it’s noon and you check in with yourself and you see you’ve done one billable.

No need to be mean to yourself. Just ask yourself how you’re feeling.

Why do you think you feel that way?

What’s the superficial thought versus the underlying thought?

You might be thinking, “I only did one billable so far,” but you’re making that mean that you may as well forget hitting your goal. That thought may make you feel deflated. Then you notice yourself procrastinating on projects, not billing contemporaneously, not going back in your day and checking your hours, or taking off for the day. This is a pattern to become aware of, so then you can do something about it.

If you shift gears and make even 3 more hours on that day, you’ll make it MUCH easier to hit your overall goal than if you give up.

Then you can ask yourself, what can I do to turn things around today?

The more you do this, the better you’ll get at it, and it’ll be like you have a crystal ball that will tell you how the rest of your day is going to go.

If you start to notice that you're feeling tense and you're feeling pressured and you take a pause, you know that that feeling is not going to help you get the result that you want by the end of the day. 

One of the things that happens when we're in overwhelm or stress is we block our genius. I had another client who was creating a plan for her week out of stress and overwhelm. Her plans that were going to have her move everything on her calendar around to satisfy one client and create an unnecessary trip. Once we broke that down, we saved her that time and we were able to help her get her week back under control. 

The more you practice noticing your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, the better you get at turning your day around.

This is one of the things I help my clients with. Book a call with me to find out how we can work together, so you can achieve your goals without the overwhelm.

Go to to book. 

You will notice a difference. You’ll start hitting your targets more frequently and start feeling better during your day. It makes a huge difference when you have someone looking at your brain every week who can help you catch these thoughts and turn your day around.

Alright my friend, I hope you have a fabulous rest of your day and I will talk to you soon. Bye. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *