This is the most productive week of the year and that’s a shame

productivitySome people say that this week, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, is the most productive week of the year:

  • Fewer people are working, which means fewer emails, fewer phone calls, and fewer disruptions (and lower expectations that you will reply immediately).
  • Most people who are working are coasting, so they aren’t bothering you either.
  • This time of the year is conducive to introspection and planning, both of which are underutilized tools for greater productivity.

I agree. It’s like the week before you go on vacation–you go into hyper-activity mode in order to clear your plate of unfinished projects, tie up loose ends, and plan the work you’ll do as soon as you return.

You know what I’m talking about. You get so much more done that week than you ever do, and you leave town with a clean desk, perhaps for the first time all year. You tell yourself how great how it would be great if you could get that much done every week.

So, why can’t you get as much done every week?

You could. You just don’t. And that’s a shame.

Increased productivity results not from more work but from productive habits. The good news is that just as you learned to be less productive most of the year (compared to what you can do this week or the week before vacation) you can learn to be more productive all year.

The even better news is that you can dramatically increase your productivity by adopting a few new habits. I’ll give you one to get started. In fact, one of my productivity mentors says this is the most valuable productivity habit he teaches.

The habit: “Plan tomorrow before tomorrow begins”.

Every evening, plan out the following day. Don’t wait until the day begins and you’re caught up in it, use the quiet of this afternoon or evening to made decisions about what you will do tomorrow.

The corollary, of course, is to “plan your week before your week begins”. If you’re doing that this week, great. Just remember to do it every week.

Attorneys: Don’t let your competition do this to you

competition There are a lot of attorneys who do what you do, right there in your market. Many of them have more experience than you do. They have a bigger marketing budget, a better blog, and more traffic to their web site. They have better-paying clients and get more referrals. They earn more than you do. Hell, they’re even better looking.

But no matter what advantages your competition have over you, you can keep them from beating you.

How do you stop a stronger opponent, or worse, an army of them? By ignoring them.

Stop looking at what other attorneys are doing. Forget about what they have. Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s the worst thing you can do for your career or your self-esteem.

Stay focused on what you do, on your clients, on your work. Build your practice, and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Or as a friend of mine says, “keep your eyes on your own paper.”

No matter what advantages your competition may have, they can’t beat you unless you let them.