friday wrap-up ritual, friday wrap up ritual, time management for lawyers, Dina Cataldo, how to be a better lawyer, be a better lawyer, be a better lawyer podcast, calendar manaement for attorneys

#244: Friday Wrap-Up Ritual

If you don't have a Friday Wrap-Up Ritual for your law practice, you're missing out on the low hanging fruit that will move your practice forward and make your life easier.

Whether you own your own practice or work for a firm, listen to this episode of Be a Better Lawyer Podcast.

Oh, and you don't need to have a calendar system to benefit from this.

You can use this Friday Wrap-Up Ritual all on its own to reap the benefits from it.

You'll learn:

3 questions you *must* ask yourself to make your practice easier in the long and short-term

a review tip that will help you pick up hours and charges you may have missed

a fail-safe method to make your week-end more enjoyable and your Mondays easier

This episode will change how you look at managing your energy and your time.




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

Friday Wrap-Up Ritual

Hello, how are you doing today? We've got a really great episode today, one that you can implement this week and start seeing an impact right away. And you're gonna learn how to access your inner wisdom on this one, right? You're gonna learn how to start asking yourself questions that are gonna get you better results. And this is what I do with my clients, but I'm gonna give you some keys to help make your week easier and it takes practice.

So this is not just a one and done exercise, although you will start seeing things that are gonna benefit you immediately. What I wanna encourage you to do with this practice that I'm gonna give you is to do it over time. Do it over several months. In fact, I do this every single week now because it is so beneficial to me. I notice the impact that it has, it reinforces what I want to change and it reinforces what I like keeping the same, right?

What, what I really enjoy and what's really benefiting me during my week. So I want to offer this Friday wrap up ritual that I've been using and that I help my clients implement so that you can start seeing the changes right away. That you can start making your life easier right away. And this is a compliment to the Busy Lawyers Guide. I'm now calling it The Busy Lawyers Ultimate Time Management Guide.

You can get that It really gives you the step by step on how to create a time management system that works for you and it gives you some low hanging fruit so that you can start making shifts in your practice right away, whatever kind of law that you practice. And this Friday wrap up ritual is something that you can add in to help you really solidify the practices you want.

And you don't even need to have a time management system in place. Like you don't have to use a calendar in order to make this work for you. But I do highly encourage it, not only because I think that if we, whatever we ignore, becomes a mess, right? Have you ever, you ever ignore your desk, you just kind of throw things on it and you just kinda let things go everywhere. What? Well, it just becomes a mess if you don't pay attention to it.

But if you just pay attention to it a little bit every single day, you notice that there's not as much clutter collecting on your desk. Same thing goes with time management is if you just start somewhere, right? It could be this rite a wrap up ritual and then you start doing things in the busy lawyer's guide, then you start to see differences.

You're like, wow, suddenly I don't feel quite as hectic. I don't feel quite as pressured. I don't feel quite as overwhelmed. And that's because you have been implementing things step by step. And anytime we want to change our lives, you know, sometimes we have this great, you know, download <laugh> that we're just like, we're gonna change. And we do make that change and it's a huge change and we do it anyway and we make it stick.

I have found most often with me that it is step by step, it is one thing at a time and it, I feel so accomplished when I really recognize what it is that I have changed in my life and that encourages me to change something else. And it's just step by step. And that's what I wanna encourage here today. Cause you don't need to feel overwhelmed about self-improvement, <laugh>, you don't need to feel overwhelmed around time.

You might already feel that way anyway. So let's just start with something really simple, help you access your inner wisdom, and then you are gonna be able to see the changes that you wanna make in your life. And we're gonna help you get clear on that. So the Friday wrap up ritual is really something that is meant to help you focus your brain in a way that highlights the most beneficial parts of your week.

It also highlights the parts of your week that maybe things didn't go quite as we wanted them to. But here's what I wanna offer to you during this practice. I am going to give you the questions in a very specific order. I don't want you to mix up the order in any way. I don't want you to wing it. I want you to do these in a very specific way.

The reason I ask questions in a very specific way is so that your brain feels less overwhelmed and judges you less. Okay? We wanna access the most powerful, the most. We wanna access the, the most problem solving, I wanna say problem solving part of your brain. Brain, right? Problem solving is not a word, but you know what I mean. So we wanna make sure that your brain is on board with this practice.

When I coach my clients, I do the same thing. Like I make sure I'm asking questions in a way that is going to help them access that problem solving part of their brain first, because we want their brain really helpful. We don't want it to go down the old paths, which our brain likes to do. It's very much habit based, right? Our brain wants to go down the path where we judge ourselves, where we're mean to ourselves, where we are finding all the things that are wrong with ourselves.

And it's very easy to do that if you don't know how to ask the questions in this order. So the questions that I ask you, I'm gonna be asking you in a very specific order during your Friday wrap-up ritual. Do it in this order. So the very first question, well the very first thing, even before you start asking yourself questions is just to kind of sit with your week, right?

This could be a, a practice that could be 15 minutes, it could be a practice that's 45 minutes. It's really up to you. And you're gonna see what parts of this wrap up ritual you wanna integrate into your Friday wrap up ritual is going to be very specific to you. But the very first question then you're gonna ask yourself is what went really well? And our instinct is to say nothing this week sucked. <Laugh>,

Right? Like I hear that from my clients, like when they come to me, maybe at first they'll be like, this week was so hard, I hated it. And then I'll say, you know what were your wins though? Cuz we always have a win. No matter how we might think of our week in general as it being hard or us, you know, not accomplishing anything, our brain automatically discounts all of our wins. That's just how it works.

So we've gotta refocus it. So I want you to think about what felt really good. So for instance, maybe your Tuesday went really smoothly and our brains are very likely to just play it off as a fluke. We write it off. We say, you know what? Gosh, I wish all my days could be that way too bad. Instead of actively thinking about how we created that Tuesday and how easy it felt, we tend to ignore our input in our days.

We tend to act and react at the mercy of everything outside of us. And we think that we're just at the mercy of the cases coming in at how our clients are that day. Oh, they seemed so nice today. That's why my day was so easy. Oh, I didn't have any files come in today. That's why it seemed so easy. Oh, I didn't have much work that day.

That's why it seemed so easy. But what we don't do is look how our mindset look, how our actions influenced, impacted, created that day. What I want you to do, and this is something I talk about when I talk about personal responsibility, is I want you to take personal responsibility for that amazing Tuesday. I want you to look at all the ways you made that day easier. So for instance, maybe that day you took 15 minutes in the morning and you wrote out what it is you needed to do and you prioritized it.

Or that morning you had breakfast and you don't usually have breakfast. And you know, maybe that morning you decided you were going to not sit down with your emails right away and instead work on a big project. Only you know this for sure, and that's why it's accessing your inner wisdom, is you get the opportunity to take a look at why Tuesday was such an amazing day, and then start saying, okay, this worked really well for me, right? That actually worked really well. Me having breakfast, it worked really well that I went to bed early on Monday night because I felt refreshed in the morning.

Those are the kinds of things to keep your eyes open for you. If when you start noticing these things, then you start noticing patterns. That's why the Friday wrap-up ritual is something that's beneficial over time, but you're also gonna get some benefit right away.

So then when you see what went well, you can start taking personal responsibility over those things that went so well. Maybe you had an, like the win is that you had an amazing client conversation. Like you had a client that was going sideways and you brought 'em back in and you did that really deftly. Well, how did you do that? Like how, what did you do? Oh, wait a minute, I was empathetic, I listened, right? I didn't talk so much. I, you know, you just watched, right? You just watched the client and you saw you let them have their peace.

What was it about what you did that made that such an amazing win for you, right? Because we're looking at what went well, what were your wins? What were the things that felt really good during the week? So just notice those things.

That is, that is the first step of the Friday wrap up ritual. No matter how you end up tweaking it, that is a non-negotiable. You've gotta do that question and you've gotta do it first. Okay? Answer that question first. Okay? The second question I want you to ask yourself is what didn't go the way you wanted it to Notice? I didn't say what did, what went wrong? Okay? I did not ask it that way. Hey, don't ask yourself that way, <laugh>, because our brain naturally wants to call it wrong anyway.

We just wanna look at what didn't go quite the way you wanted it to, what didn't go according to your expectations. And there's something, I'm gonna totally botch the quote, it's attributed to Buddha. It's something to the effect of suffering is caused by our expectations, right? When we have expectations and then they're not met, that's when we suffer.

So when our brain is looking at what went wrong, right? We're looking at, oh, this wasn't as I expected it to be and so I'm gonna suffer and I'm gonna beat myself up. Instead of doing that, just ask yourself what did, what didn't go quite the way you wanted it to this week? Okay? We're gonna just try to nip the brain in the bud so that it doesn't beat up on us when we are looking back at our week.

It's gonna be so easy, this is gonna be the easiest part of the Friday wrap up ritual because your brain is gonna look for all the things that went wrong. Oh, my boss said this sentence to me and then I felt horrible and then this client said these words to me and then I felt horrible. And then Monday was a mess and I felt so disorganized.

Your brain's gonna do a great job at that. It's gonna go on and on and on. So I would highly suggest you not give your brain any more than like three minutes to think about this. And then I would only write down like the top two, right? What did, what didn't go quite go the way you wanted it to. And I want you to really think about not the things where our brains tend to ruminate.

For instance, I'll see my clients will have some words said to them either by a client, by a boss, whomever, and then they will make that sentence so personal to them and they will take it as a personal affront and they will feel horrible. They might feel shame, resentment, frustration. And that really isn't something that I can talk to you within the constraints of this podcast because it's a very short podcast.

This is something that we need more time to talk about. But what I want your brain to focus on isn't so much the personal affronts or the way you might think about how somebody behaved. I want you to think about it in terms of what didn't go the way you wanted it to in let's say a hearing or let's say in a morning. So for instance, like in question one, I said, well, what about Tuesday? It just went so fabulous.

How is it that you were, you're responsible for creating such an amazing day? What I want you to do is then kinda think about, well, what day kind of felt rough to me? And you might say, well, you know, Wednesday or Thursday was pretty rough. Or Thursday afternoon, this is something that I've seen before with clients is I, I brought all these files home and that I didn't work on them.

That didn't, that didn't work out so well for me. I didn't, I wanted to work on those files, but I didn't. And it's important to recognize if you can be really objective about it, that this is just something that happened. That there's nothing wrong with you, there's nothing, you know, you didn't do anything bad or wrong, it's just that you brought home files Thursday night and did not work on them, right? Very simple facts there.

It's what we make those facts mean that kind of puts us in this whole shame spiral. So try, you know, if you've been listening to this podcast for a while, you might be able to do this, but try not to put so much meaning to the facts of your week and just, just look at it as a fact, right? We're looking at our calendars like we're scientists and we're just kind of checking in and seeing what could be better, what, what might work a little bit better here.

So that, that whole constraint, I want you to keep for the second question. You know what didn't go quite the way you wanted it to? I want it more based on things that happened that are things that are calendar based. It's just easier to constrain it that way when you're doing a review. So bringing things home, right? Or maybe your Wednesday was super rough. Why was it rough? “Oh, I had five hearings and I slept in,” or “I went to bed late the night before and I didn't feel rested the next morning. I didn't have breakfast, I didn't have time for coffee. I rushed myself in the morning.”

Just start observing. Like that's all we wanna do is we wanna just start observing where we can start making changes. It's much easier and much more productive than thinking about how we wish other people would've behaved, right?

We could do that all day long and we can't change other people, but what we can do is we can look at how we are creating our days and our weeks and then we can make shifts in those, those moments. And so with this Friday wrap up ritual, that is what you're really looking at. Okay?

First question, what went well?

Second question, what didn't go quite the way you wanted it to?

And then the next question is…how do I wanna say this? Okay, well…

What will I, what do I wanna do differently next week?

So next week you may want to decide to make time for breakfast every morning. You may want to decide, I wanna go to bed earlier every night. You may wanna decide, I'm gonna wake up 30 minutes earlier and try that because that seemed to work on the days that you did it.

Like those, this is like the place where you are gonna get so much momentum is if you really think about your answers in one and two, and then in question three you start saying, okay, well where, what do I wanna shift? What do I wanna change? And you can pick a couple of them, you can pick one, whatever you wanna do, but just implement something because that is where the science happens. That is where you start to get this data and start to implement the changes you wanna make based on the data.

You can see, you can verify if that has a effect. If you are doing this Friday wrap up ritual every week, you could say, oh yeah, I tried eating breakfast every day this week and that really wasn't the thing that moved the needle, right? But what I did notice is that when I did get enough sleep, that really felt good.

So just, you are just gonna start noticing these things. And then I wanna ask you, I'm gonna give you another question here, especially if you are a biller here. So if you, bill, I want you to ask yourself this or, and I want you to give yourself some time for this. If you're doing this ritual and you are a biller, because often I will hear, and we talked about this last week in the time, money mindset link when I talked in that episode about that really there's some mindset issues that get in the way of you billing as many hours as as you want too.

I want you to notice, just bring some awareness to did you spend time at the end of each day checking your hours? Did you bill your point once? Did you, you know, or you could just give yourself time on Friday while you're doing this wrap up ritual to go back and check your time because I guarantee there's something there that wasn't billed.

If you don't, especially if you don't have like a daily wrap up ritual where you're checking your billing, go back and give yourself 20, 30 minutes to go through your emails to review your calendar, to review whatever it is that you had on your desk so that you are getting all of the easy wins, all of the low-hanging fruit when it comes to your billing. Okay?

Then what I also wanted to ask you, ask of you if you wanna do this, this is something that I really think is a great benefit in this Friday wrap up ritual, is to review your next week, even if you don't have a calendar, okay? You don't have to do a whole calendar to, to make this valuable to you, is you can grab a piece of paper and a pen and just write down what are the five things I wanna do Monday morning.

First thing I wanna make a phone call, I wanna make sure I email this person. I wanna make sure I look at such and such file. I wanna make sure that I connect with this person. Put that on your desk and that is going to be your Monday startup plan. And then if this is especially good, if you don't have a calendar, because you have the opportunity here to make your Monday so much easier and your weekend, because often I'll hear lawyers thinking about work all weekend long.

They tell me they have the Sunday scaries, they're worried about work. But when you have this piece of paper on your desk already done during your Friday wrap-up ritual, you put it on your desk every time your brain wants to tell you, oh my gosh, we have so much to do Monday. You say, oh, hold on, hold on brain, don't worry, I've got it all handled.

It's all on this list. We don't have to think about it. If you are used to com, like your brain just kind of taking over on the weekend and thinking about work and worrying about work, this may take some time, but practice it because the more you practice saying, Hey, nope, don't worry brain, we've got it all handled. We've, we've all got it on a piece of paper, it's on our desk. Don't even, don't even worry about it.

The more you practice that, the more you calm your brain down and you practice calming your nervous system down, you are going to find that you think less and less about work on the weekend. You worry less and less about work. I'm gonna also link to, in the show notes, the episode I did on nervous system dysregulation because really focusing our brain in this way can help us make our lives so much easier.

We feel so much calmer, we have so much more peace in our practice when we begin implementing these very seemingly simple things. But it's just a matter of, I say just as if it's simple, it is a matter of focusing our brain. I'm also gonna link to the episode I did on focus errors because I think that one's an important one to review. Our brains are always focusing on something and it's just a matter of is it going to be beneficial for us or is it gonna bring us more suffering?

That's really how we're weighing things. So I'm gonna put that in the show notes so you can get th**@di*********.com slash 2 44. All right my friend. So let's go through those questions really quick so that you can write them down, you know, make sure you have them there. There's a transcript on the episode page if you wanna get that.


First question is, and do them in this order. What went well this week? Celebrate your wins. Acknowledge that you created them was not a fluke. You showed up in a certain way. How did you show up? Did you show up? Feeling really good cuz you got a lot of sleep or with a full stomach or you had your coffee? Did you show up really clearheaded because you made a plan ahead of time? You put energy into creating that and making that happen. Acknowledge it.

Number two, what didn't go quite the way you wanted it to? What were the things that you wished could have happened like those files on Thursday night that didn't happen? It may mean that Thursday nights you don't bring files back, right? You don't bring 'em home because that's just a night you're not gonna do work. Know that. These are just things that are happening.

You get to decide if you want them to keep happening. You get to decide if you wanna bring files home and stare at them all night versus just leaving 'em at the office and reminding your brain time over time. Okay, that's okay, I'll get to it tomorrow. I have plenty of time.

That's the practice reminding your brain. I've got plenty of time.

Number three, what will I do differently next week? What do I wanna do differently next week? And then you can start saying, what is it? I wanna do breakfast, sleep more, give myself more time in the morning, make a plan on.

Then if you bill, give yourself some time to review your week. Make sure you bill everything you wanna bill .

And then make that final task list that you can have sitting on your desk Monday morning to help you out, especially if you don't have a calendar, because that is gonna help you get your week off to a great start.

And if you wanna start accessing your inner wisdom in every area of your practice to make your life easier, to expand how you're living in your practice to maybe expand the life that you're living, right? Because so often we get this myopic view of the world because we're constantly working and we don't have those same connections that we want. We're not able to connect with our family the way we want to. We're not able to do the things that we really enjoy or even find out what we enjoy. Because so many of us have been working this entire time and you might be feeling called for something more but just can't see how you can make that happen where you are right now. I can help you with that.

Book a call with me, go to and we'll talk out how to get you from where you are now to where you want to go. Alright my friend, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week and I will talk to you soon. Bye.

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