my best time and money investments this year, Dina Cataldo, Be a Better Lawyer Podcast, How to be a better lawyer, how to be more productive

#307: My Best Time and Money Investments This Year

This episode is for the lawyer who wants to continuously improve their life.

I'm sharing with you the top ten time and money investments I've made this year ranging from easy tweaks to transformative.

As I reviewed some of my best investments in both time and money this year, I found some unexpected things.

One is that there's a link between the top 10 investments of time and money this year: they all helped me with my sense of well-being and my productivity.

Second, most of the investments I'll share with you have nothing to do with productivity, but they made me more productive anyway.


They increased the overall quality of my life, which in turn made me more productive.

You'll learn why in this episode.

Third, a few of the investments I mention weren't even on my radar as something that could improve my life, but once I spent the time/money for it, it radically transformed an aspect of my life.

Listen in and choose one — or all! — of these investments to improve the quality of your life too.



be a better lawyer podcast, Dina Cataldo, best podcasts for lawyers, best podcasts for attorneys, lawyer coaching, best life coach for lawyers, best life coach for attorneys


Thanks for listening and supporting Be a Better Lawyer Podcast.

Your support means the world to me and allows the work I'm doing here to reach more lawyers.

I truly believe the more lawyers we can positively impact with coaching, the brighter our future as a planet will be.

Talk to you next week.

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

My Best Time and Money Investments This Year

Hello. Hello. How are you doing today? So today I am gonna share with you my best investments in my time and my money in the past year. And when I was thinking about all of the different things that I have invested my time and my money in, I thought I would just distill them into the top 10. And I realized that the top 10 things that I'm gonna talk to you about today have really contributed to my overall wellbeing. And they have increased my focus, they've increased my happiness, my pleasure, just day-to-day things in my life. And I wanted to share them all with you. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna link to everything that I talk about in my show no***@di*********.com slash 3 0 7. That's dina 3 0 7. But before we get started, I wanna give one of my clients a shout out.

I've been working with her for years now and she has really taken her practice from just brand new like experiences, being a partner in her practice and then growing it to the place where it is now, which is, she's growing, she's expanding, and she started a new podcast, it's called Boomer Time, with Nancy Koger. And I wanna bring her on this podcast to talk more with you. We did an episode way back. But I want to really share with you some of what she's hearing because she's getting a lot of an amazing, a lot of amazing responses to her podcast from people who she has never met before and it's really contributing to the direction that she wants to bring her practice in. And she's created this podcast called Boomer Time. It's the podcast for emerging the emerging generation of boomer caregiver boomers, caregivers and friends.

And it's hosted by award-winning broadcaster podcaster, and Tennessee elder law attorney and aging advocate. So I just wanted to give her that shout out because she's getting a tremendous response from people listening and sharing it because she's giving some really great information in that podcast. And I wanna share that with all of you, is as you really focus on what you enjoy, what you really focus on, you wanting in your practice and in your life, you will start taking your practice, your life in different directions. You're gonna expand, you're gonna find yourself in different places, engaging with new people, and you're gonna feel so much more fulfilled. And I definitely did when I went on my path, like really figuring things out for myself and deciding that I wanted to move from criminal law and then into coaching and helping lawyers find what they truly want and make it a reality.

So know that this is available to you and it doesn't have to happen all at once and it doesn't have to look perfect, right? We just need to get moving. Just taking one small step at a time to make it happen. This podcast that my client created, it was something that we had talked about a year and a half ago. It was something that was in her three year plan and she made it a reality and now it's bringing her closer to the fruition of all of the dreams that she's been having and that we've been talking about. So I just wanna say congratulations to my client. Wanted to give Nancy a big shout out and go listen to her podcast. Alright, so let's talk about these. Let's talk about my best time and money investments. And you're gonna see a little bit of overlap because some things of course cost money, but we want to just kind of understand for ourselves what we need.

And I'm hoping that I give you some ideas for you. I really wanna make this applicable to you because I want you to use these as a way to really benefit your ability to perform at your highest levels. I know that these things that I'm gonna share with you really have helped me perform at my highest levels and increased a lot of pressure, pleasure in different areas of my life. I didn't even realize that I had issues with <laugh>, so I wanna share these with you. So let's start with just the time area. Where have I invested my time to really create a life that works for me that I find really enjoyable? And one of the biggest things that I've done is I've committed to walking my dog every morning. Super simple, right? Doesn't cost any money. And I take him out even when I don't feel like it.

I would say I take him out probably 80% of the time and go for walks. Even when my brain is telling me I don't have time. This isn't gonna work this morning, I just don't think it's gonna work. I don't feel like whatever. It's right. I don't let my brain make that excuse because I know I am gonna feel a hundred percent better after I've gone on my walk and I end up going on longer walks than I initially anticipate. Like this morning I went on a walk with them and I said, okay, look, it's just gonna be a quick walk around the block. But by the time we got around the corner, I told myself, you know, this feels so good. I love walking early in the morning. The sun's coming up, the birds are chirping. It's just this beautiful quiet part of the day when there's barely anybody else out.

And I can clear my head, I can just be with myself, I can be with my footsteps. And that really allows me to set up my day with so much more calm so I can go into my sessions and be clearheaded. And it's something that I highly recommend for you, whether you have a dog or not, go for a walk. It is something that is amazing. Take it anytime of day. It's always there for you. The next thing that I have really noticed that I've been putting more time into that I've noticed a benefit from are meditations and naps. And I put those two things together because you don't have to meditate to in the way that people say, like you've gotta quiet your mind completely. And it's very stressful when a lot of people think about sitting there. And so that might be challenging for you.

At first it was for me. And so you could just take a nap, right? Just say yes when your body says take a nap. Give yourself that space if you can. 'cause I know a lot of you work in offices where that would not be socially acceptable, but give yourself that space to do it without the guilt. In fact, you could schedule it in your day if that's something you notice that your natural body rhythms require a nap, you can just schedule it. I do that too when I, when I can do that. Now, one of the things I needed to do, both with meditation and with taking naps, was really starting to regulate my nervous system. Because anytime I sat quietly with myself or tried to, my body would go into overdrive. It wanted to do something. So if you notice yourself constantly needing to do things, your nervous system is at a really high level.

It might be in that fight or flight level because we are trained that we need to be doing things in order to be worthy of anything. And that if we're not doing something, we are bad. It goes way back to when we were kids. And then you have society and all of those people kind of like chirping on how, oh, you're not working today. Oh, you're, you're leaving the office early today. You know, all those things. We pick that up in our brains and then we think that we need to be working all the time. And that impacts our nervous system. So if we wanna sit down and be quiet, it makes it impossible. I really had to practice this and I wanna offer to you that if you have problems with this, that that means you needed even more than you thought you did.

And so start really small. Sit at your breakfast nook at your coffee table with your coffee or your tea and just sit there for five minutes and breathe and drink your coffee or your tea. That is a beautiful place to start. And your kind of getting your nervous system calmed down because you are doing something right. You are having your coffee or your tea. But what I want you to, to try is to completely immerse yourself in the experience of sitting there with your beverage, sitting there feeling the warmth of the cup on your fingers, really breathing in the aroma of what you're drinking. And just being with yourself for those five minutes can be your meditation, can be your relaxation, can substitute your nap. Because all the studies show that just taking those moments to ourselves where we are completely present, can rejuvenate us, can help us be more focused and allows us to move through our day more intentionally.

So I just wanna offer you that as a beautiful investment of your time. It doesn't have to take a lot of time. I have invested a lot more of that time as time has gone on, right? I didn't always do this practice, but I wanna offer to you that you can start very small, very intentionally and help your nervous system get on board with having this time to yourself. Another investment of my time that I've really, I'm really glad that I've done this, is I've started asking myself more what would be fun in my business? What would just be a fun thing to do? And it's actually helped me be so much more creative. I've given myself that space to be creative. I go to a coffee shop one day a week almost every week, and I just allow myself to have some space, some creativity.

What would be fun this week, like for instance, the an an example of what I've done in my business that's been fun for me or things like the Black Friday event that I did. And I sent out an email to my VIP insiders and they got this beautiful Black Friday event. And if you're not one of my VIP email insiders, you need to come join me. I will link to it in the show notes. But if you are not one of my email insiders, then you're not getting access to all these fun things. 'cause The people that are in my email list, they're the ones who are closest to me, the ones who really respond to me, really respond to this podcast and they get all of these goodies. So be sure to join me there. You can also just sign up for any resource on my website.

You can go to dina and I have a whole page of resources just for you that you can download and then you'll be one of my email insiders. So you should do that right now. Okay. So also what I've been thinking about are all these fun things I can do for my birthday, my birthday's coming up in April. I'm gonna do something kind of fun for my email list and just like share with them an event that I'm offering just to them. I came up with this idea of business strategy calls, which I offer my one-on-one clients. They just get it as a bonus or I'll offer them to my VIP insiders. Like those are, those are the kinds of things I get to do that are just fun. They're just creative. I get to play with different ideas. And that for me is really rejuvenating.

So where can you do that in your practice? Where can you ask yourself, how can I make this more enjoyable for me? What kind of fun events can I do? So I'll just give you an example of this is just thinking about what might you wanna launch in your business? Maybe you've been thinking about writing a book, maybe you've been thinking about launching a podcast, right? What kind of events can you do associated with that? Maybe you can have somebody plan this event or if you love planning them, you can plan this event. Maybe something that you really enjoy is, you know, promoting, you know, really good causes that are close to you. You get to do that. You get to promote that to your people however you want. Whether it's via email, podcasts, social media, maybe you love doing video. I know a lot of people don't.

But maybe you love that part of you know, marketing and you start a weekly, you know, get to know me episode on YouTube or Instagram or on LinkedIn where you share something really valuable to the people who are following you. And then they get to know you a little bit better. They get to know more about what you do and they become closer to you. So these are just different ideas that you can play with. And when you give yourself time to play with just fun ideas, you don't even have to do them. You start to spark creativity and you start to feel more fulfilled in your business. And you can do this just in your life too. So if you find yourself feeling like, gosh, I'm really boring, what might be a fun thing to do? Maybe picking up a paint by numbers, right?

Or starting to create something with yarn or whatever you're really interested in. Like where might you find time to do this? I had one client who was in big law and she really wanted to find time to play the flute. Like she played it in high school. She really loved it, but she had not picked it up in ages and then she started playing again. So it's those kinds of things where we start making room for what lights us up, what's fun, and we just start making it a priority. Another thing that I really did that I think was really helpful for me was giving myself more time to think intentionally about money. And this is so fascinating to me 'cause I, I used to have such a hard time with even looking at the numbers. But once I started looking at the numbers and started processing them differently after I'd done a lot of work on myself, right?

I'd really done a lot of coaching, I'd done a lot of self coaching and working in my business, I realized just how calming looking at the numbers can be when I'm looking at what I need to and really planning ahead with my numbers. So for instance recently I did a business strategy call with my clients all about using the Profit First method. And I highly recommend it whether you own a a law firm or not. The Profit First Method is a really great way to walk you into using your numbers and thinking differently about your practice. I will link to the Profit First book 'cause it's based on a book in the show notes. So you can get that if you'd like, but it really helps you think through the numbers. And in my business strategy session, I broke down how to use this method in your law practice.

So that's something that you can do for yourself that will help you get a handle on your finances. And another thing I did, and this goes into like a money category, but I didn't put it in my top 10, was I grabbed the, you need a budget application. And I started using it. And it is, it can be tedious, but I've learned how to make time to do the tedious work that comes with really knowing my numbers and feeling really comfortable with my numbers. And I wanna offer to you that it is a very valuable investment of your time to think about your numbers. And now again, your nervous system might be heightened when you think about money. You might not wanna think about money, you might wanna avoid it completely. And the relationship we have with our money is going to determine how well we get money and how well we give money, right?

So there's a flow to money and if we're not paying attention to it, we might be taking all the money and putting it outside of us. Or we might be in a a weird mode where we're like accumulating, accumulating, accumulating and then we're too afraid to spend any of it. So knowing your numbers and really starting to feel comfortable with it and spending time with those numbers to start getting your nervous system acclimated to looking at them will yield dividends, pun intended. You will begin to feel so much more comfortable. You will love the decisions you make around money. You will be thinking strategically about money instead of reactionary with money. And I'm gonna link to an episode that I did recently called Your Money Relationship in the show notes. Okay? And then the final thing that I really felt was ama an amazing investment of my time was planning my year in advance.

And I walked with my clients through planning their year in December. And this is just has an amazing effect of a calming your nervous system. 'cause You could see in advance what's gonna happen, but also helping you think strategically about what you need to be thinking about three steps ahead. So you start thinking about your law practice as chess, not checkers. You start to really begin to strategize because now you all have everything in one place and you start to think differently about what needs to happen, what is going to be asked of you, who do you need to become in order to create what it is that you've put down on paper? And that's where the work begins, right? So we spend, well we spent five hours really blocking out exactly what we wanted to create for the year. And then we just take that step by step.

So we take it month by month, quarter by quarter, and we pivot when necessary. It actually allows me to have more fun because if I'm just looking at my calendar and I say, okay, what, what's going on this quarter? I can look at it and I can say, okay, yes, I wanna do this. And I could say, well where is there room for a little bit of fun here? Right? And we wanna try to do that at the beginning of the year, right? To think about what could be fun here. But you're gonna be doing this all year long. You're gonna have some ideas. Now here's the caveat to that is if you aren't accustomed to mindset work or accustomed to recognizing when your nervous system is in a heightened state, you might take on projects to avoid the work that must be done. I do this too.

So I watch myself like a hawk, okay? I also have a coach. So if you aren't watching yourself like a hawk and where you don't have a coach, use this sparingly, okay? Because you don't wanna find yourself in a situation where you're avoiding the work that needs to get done. So for example, one of the things that I have been doing is spending more of my time, investing more of my time in cold outreach to event organizers, to podcasts, to be on those podcasts. And in those events. Now I've been speaking at different places, I've been on other podcasts, but I haven't really set my intention around those. They just kind of came up for me. So I wanted to create more intention around doing those things. And in the process I also recognized it was taking a lot longer than I thought it would take.

And so my brain wanted to avoid it. But what I had to recognize, it's like, okay, yeah, my brain wants to avoid it. It wants to come up with all these other projects for me to do and how can I create a solution to this? Because yes, I will do it and I showed myself I will do it, but it is taking far more time than I want it to take. So I'm hiring somebody to help me with that. And so it was not part of my plan at the beginning of the year, but then as the year progressed, I could see, oh, I'm actually not taking the action that I want to, at least not in the amount that I wanted to, but not by any fault of my own. I actually didn't realize it was gonna take that long. And so if I want to continue with my plan and I want to expand my practice, I want to reach more people, I wanna help more people, I need help.

So I set out a job description, I put it out and I have an interview this afternoon by the way, and several more next week. So it's something that is doable, but we've gotta have an overarching plan and then we just have to observe what's going on in the plan and where do we need to make tweaks? Where can I make more my life more fun? Where can I make it easier? But having that plan really was a beautiful investment of my time. So I could see what was happening in my brain and I could see what was necessary so that I could achieve my year end goals. And this is something I'm really gonna be focusing on a lot in my precision planning for law firm growth. So specifically if you're a law firm owner, listen up because you're gonna be hearing more about precision planning.

I'm gonna link to it in the show notes. If you wanna be on the wait list, I'm the first to hear about it because it is going to be time that you and I can spend really planning out your year and thinking strategically about what you want. And then as you move through that plan, you and I are gonna be in a program where we can say, okay, what are you, what's your progress? Like, what's going on right now? Let's see where you're at and make the tweaks that you need. Maybe you need to do something like I did, like hire a, like hire a virtual assistant. Maybe you need to create some different operating procedures and you need to streamline things a little bit differently. Maybe there's some training that needs to happen with employees. Like those are all things that you can be thinking about as we work through the program.

And then you'll have less brain drama and it will feel so much easier. Okay? So I will share that with you. You're gonna hear more about it on the podcast, but you will definitely hear about it if you are an insider. So make sure you sign up for the precision planning for law firm growth Wait list. Okay, so now let's talk about my financial investments. And they may not be what you think <laugh>. So the the best financial investments, again, I noticed really helped me calm my nervous system, helped me be more productive, helped me really devote my time in a way that I didn't even realize that my brain had space being taken up, right? So number, it's not number one, these aren't really any in particular order. But the first one I'm gonna share with you is that I got a water filter with rivers osmosis and took out the fluoride and oh my gosh, the water tastes so much better.

I went to a restaurant not too long after we got the filter and I'd been drinking water at that restaurant forever. But then I had water after we got the filter. And I, I was like, what is wrong with this water? It tasted horrible. So not even realizing how poor the water quality was in my town, I had zero clue. Got the filter and I realized, oh, I've been drinking garbage water <laugh>. So that was a huge improvement in my life. Another thing that really has improved my life is, is looking for and purchasing organic foods. I get just about all organic. If I can find it organic, I'm looking for really healthy foods. I feel better about the environment that I'm creating for the planet. I feel better about what I'm putting in my system. I just feel better about my purchases. And that's something I've really been considering, especially with everything that you hear and read about what's happening to the soil on our planet.

And you know, whether or not you're, you're concerned about this or not, it doesn't matter. What matters is is that there actually is a deterioration of the soil and the nutrients that we're receiving in our foods. And so one of the ways that I ensure I get better nutrients in my foods is to buy organic. I also take supplements. They're all organic and I won't list them here. They are many <laugh>, but, but they are supplements that I know that I need so that I can live a better life where I feel stronger, where I feel better. Alright? The next thing that I'll share with you is that I got a new car and I had no idea that this new car was actually going to be an improvement. I actually had a lot of mind drama around getting this new car because I used to have this beautiful little Miata convertible.

It was the cutest sports car ever. It was white with a black top. Oh my gosh, it was so much fun. I loved speeding around in that little thing. It was just so cute. And it was fun and it had these beautiful leather seats and it was just, it was a dream. But what I didn't realize, or maybe I realized subconsciously, was that it actually was not the most comfortable drive, right? I actually, 'cause it was a clutch. So I had to really kind of contort my hips a little bit with the clutch in my car. And that was kind of hurting my lower back at times. And then I, you know, it's a, it's a stick shift. So I was always doing something. I always had something to do. My dog really didn't like it. I didn't realize he didn't like that particular car.

I thought he just didn't like cars. But no, he didn't like that particular car because it was loud. And so when I got my new car, I realized, oh my gosh, this ride is so quiet. I don't have to do anything. I feel so comfortable. This seat is so even I have all of this room in a trunk that I didn't have before. It felt so easy. And I hadn't ever stopped to think about how hard I was making my life. I was just thinking, this is a cute little sports car. I love this thing. And yeah, it was fun, but it was also uncomfortable. And I didn't realize it until I got this new car. That's an automatic, but honestly it's pretty magical. I mean, it has windshield wipers that just turn on when it rains. I don't even have to think about it.

It has these lights that turn on when it's dark. I don't even have to think about it. It's got this camera that I can just, I don't, I don't even have to turn my head anymore, right? I mean, I still do a little bit, but I don't have to turn my head anymore to look behind me. It's all these little things I had zero clue were gonna be a benefit. And they were. So I'm gonna list that in my top 10 purchases. And then the next one that I really <laugh>, I really needed this, I finally found a yoga studio that was on par with the yoga studio that I attended pre covid. That studio closed down after Covid. I tried other yoga studios after and they just did not live up to it. I like hot yoga, I like being active in it.

I like a really friendly environment and I just couldn't find it. I found one. I love it. I go there. It is such a beautiful expense. I love that I get to pay to go somewhere where there are nice people and it's hot yoga and the teachers are great. I love it. And then the next thing that I wanna share with you is I got a new mattress and I'd never spent so much money on a mattress before. I think it was like $4,000. I was like, oh my gosh, I've never spent that much money on a mattress. But the reason I did is because I started noticing that when I woke up I'd feel a little achy and I just, I was like, gosh, there's like no explanation for me feeling achy. Like I have no idea why I'm feeling achy. And it finally dawned on me, Hey, maybe it's the mattress.

And I thought, okay, well let's, let's give it a shot. So I did some research on mattresses. I found one that I liked. I went, I picked it out. And oh my gosh, it has been such a big difference in my, my life. I mean, you gotta figure, we spend a third of our life sleeping. And at the time I was waking up in the middle of the night, like I had a really hard time sleeping through the night and I never had that problem before. And I was like, there's gotta be an explanation for this. And yeah, guess what? It was my mattress. So spend good money on a mattress. I'm telling you, you've gotta invest in a mattress. It's, if you're gonna be spending a third of your life in bed, get a mattress that you love, get one that you love, I promise you it will make all the world of a difference.

I'll link in the bio to the one that I like, but honestly just go make a morning of it. Go try out some mattresses and then invest in yourself 'cause it'll be worth it. Alright, so finally the biggest investment that I made in myself and the one that I absolutely love the most. Maybe you could have guessed it, right? 'cause You're listening to a podcast run by a coach, is coaching. I love coaching. Like I never wanna be without a coach because it helps in so many different ways. So one of the things that I really recognize that is that there is just no substitute for having someone get a hundred thousand foot view of your business and your life. Because they can see patterns, they can see habits that are happening in your life and your business that no one else can see until they bring it to your awareness.

And then boom, it makes such a huge difference. You realize, oh, that's why I am doing this thing. That's why I haven't done this thing. And then you're better able to take action. Like just having that ability to get a clear sense of why you're doing what you're doing and then making a conscious decision about what you're doing is priceless to me. And not only that, like I do coaching in a couple different ways. So I'm in a high level mastermind program with Katherine Morrison, and we really work on thinking strategically about the business, also doing a lot of mindset and doing things like messaging. So me talking about what I do for, for my people, right? Like that is part of the messaging, right? Really making it clear to lawyers who maybe have never been exposed to coaching before, how it's so valuable, how it can really clear their head and allow them to be more present in their life and create more peace and fulfillment in their life.

Those are the kinds of things that, you know, I wanted help being able to articulate to more lawyers who are coming into this world, coming into the awareness of coaching so that I could help them so that they realize like, oh, this is somebody who understands where I'm coming from and has the tools to help me. And so that's a huge thing for me. I really wanna be able to communicate that in the best way possible for people. And then another group that I'm a part of, it's this high level marketing group. Like people like Louis Howes and Ed Millet and Amy Porterfield. They've all worked through this particular program. It's called Brand Builders. And that's another piece of the puzzle for me, being able to articulate how these tools that I'm providing people can create change and really creating meaningful change in people's lives.

Whether I'm doing it on a podcast or I'm doing it in social media, or I'm doing it during a speaking event. Like these are all different ways that I can begin articulating what I do and being able to synthesize and distill what I do and the tools that I have to help people immediately, right? And, and these are things that I try to bring you in this podcast because I know that if I had these tools when I had first started the legal profession, when I'd first I'd be, my mind would've been blown. I had no idea that these things were possible, that I could create a life that I actually loved and wasn't just kind of begrudgingly moving myself through. Like, those are things that are so important to me now. It's hard to believe that I ever lived without them. And so that's, that's something I really find a valuable investment in myself, is having those guides to help me bring out the best in me, bring out the best in my work so I can help people so that I can do what I love doing even better.

So those are my top 10. I'm gonna link to all of them in the show notes, everything that I, I mentioned here so that you can, you know, do your own research. You can go in down your own rabbit hole and see what really works for you. And I know that, you know, we want to do things, do more things so that we can feel more productive. But sometimes it's in the not doing right. Just take a look at some of what was on my list. Like the not doing right, going for a walk that's not quote unquote productive. What am I doing on a walk right? Or taking a nap or sitting there having my cup of coffee, just enjoying it fully. Those are things that are not doing things. I'm not being, what society would tell me is productive, but then how come I can be more productive when I'm not doing things, when I do less?

And I just wanna share with you that being productive is knowing when not to do things and to really be with yourself and start really focusing on your own fulfillment and feeling really good that that actually creates a more productive life. So fascinating. And as always, if you really feel called to change your life, to get more organized, to feel more peace in your practice, to feel more fulfilled, I want to invite you to a strategy session. You and I are gonna talk about where you are right now, we you wanna be. And then as we talk, we're gonna get a good idea of whether or not we're a good fit to work together. One-On-One. So you can book that strategy session at dina session. I will also link to that in the show notes. Alright my friend, I hope you have a beautiful day. Talk to you next week. Bye.

Leave a Reply

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