The three things that matter most

What are the three most important things you do in your career? Sure, you do a lot of things, but chances are, three of them are more important than the rest. We’ve talked about the 80/20 Principle before. These three things are the twenty-percent activities that deliver eighty percent of your results. They are worth identifying. If you can identity them, you can do more of them (and less of those things that aren’t of the three).

What’s more, if there are only three things, you can remember them. You don’t need a list. “These are the three areas I focus on,” you’ll say. “This is where I focus eighty percent of my time.” So what are they? If you could only do three things all day long, what would they be? Don’t think too much about this; you already know the answer.

When I was practicing (personal injury), I would have said that these are my three things:

  1. Marketing
  2. Settling Cases
  3. Managing staff

For me, litigation was not one of the three things that matter(ed) most. We did it, but the practice was a high-volume of smaller cases and litigation was not our primary focus. So, it was these three things that mattered most to my practice. If I was doing one of these three things, I was doing “twenty-percent activity”. Anything else was “eighty-percent activity” (which brings in only twenty percent of the results).

Let’s take things a step further, shall we? Once you have identified your “three things that matter most,” what about identifying the three things that matter most about each of those three things? This allows you to get more specific about how you are spending your time and how you are focusing your energy. You will perform “on purpose” instead of reacting to whatever presents itself. And, if you can recall the three things that matter most, you should also be able to recall the three things about each of those things, too. If they are truly important and you are doing them, they will be second nature to you.

In my case, I would have identified the three things about my three things, like this:

MARKETING

  • Ads in yellow pages
  • Network with referral sources
  • Client referral strategies

SETTLE CASES

  • Client interviews/evidence collection
  • Demand package
  • Negotiation

MANAGE STAFF

  • Interview/hire
  • Monitor work flow
  • Recognize and incentivize

What are your three things? And what are the three things about each of those three? Take the time to identity these crucial items and then focus eighty percent of your time and attention on them. You’ll get more done in less time and you’ll get more results. You’ll earn more and work less.

How to choose a good domain name

I’m not an expert on this, but choosing a domain name for your web site is a deceptively important subject and I’ll share some of my thoughts with you:

  • Shorter is better, but longer names aren’t strictly off limits. HowToIncorporateInKansas.com (not a real domain) is long, but not hard to remember.
  • Use your name, if it’s available. It’s often easier to remember a person’s name than a descriptive name.
  • Also use a descriptive name for marketing purposes. If you’re looking for an estate planning attorney in San Antonio, you might click on SanAntonioEstatePlanning.com whereas you probably wouldn’t click on JohnJones.com without some descriptive text next to it. You can use both URLs; point one name at the other.
  • Do whatever you can to get the.com version. If it’s not available, try another name. Use your initial, put the word “law” in it, or your state or city. For competitive purposes, you might also want to buy the other common variations (net, org, biz, info).
  • Avoid hyphens, abbreviations (your city or state might be okay), and numbers (i.e., “4” for “for”).
  • Choose a name that people can remember and spell. You will be giving out the name on the telephone, from the podium, etc.
  • If your web site is hosted at http://yourname.typepad.com, get your own domain and point it. Better yet, get your own hosting.
  • If you intend to advertise (offline, Adwords, etc.) you will want lots of descriptive domain names. You can set up separate lead capture pages, or point each name at different pages on your main web site. Get names for each practice area, each target market, at least.
  • Use key words in your domain names.
  • If people commonly misspell those words, consider buying the common misspellings, too.

You can buy domain names for under $10/year. I buy mine at http://homepagedomains.com

For more on what makes a good (and bad) domain name, and a lot of fun, check out http://goodurlbadurl.com/

How I (finally) got organized

I‘m in love!

Well, okay, when you’re talking about a piece of software, that might be a bit strong. But, I can’t help it…

I really am IN LOVE!

The software I’m talking about is Info Select. It’s been around for twenty years and I can’t believe I just found out about it.

Info Select is an information management system that allows you to organize EVERYTHING: notes, contact info, ideas, emails, phone logs, client data, calendars, presentations, research…

EVERYTHING!

I don’t use Outlook anymore. I use Word only occasionally. I’m getting rid of mounds of loose scraps, notes, reminders, post-its that have adorned my office for years. I can see my desk again!

I can now find anything I’m looking for by using Info Select’s robust search capability.

Here’s what one lawyer says about a previous version:
http://www.stepup.com.au/product/isw6/lawyer.htm

More info:
http://www.innovationtools.com/Tools/SoftwareDetails.asp?a=68

Here’s the company web site: http://miclog.com. They offer a thirty-day free trial. Careful, it’s addicting!

If you use Info Select, please share your experiences. If you haven’t, check it out!

David Ward
“Be a mentor with a servant’s heart!”