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The Bar Bulletin
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jan. 6, 202205:00 AM EST

Prioritize productivity, peace of mind in 2022

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Embrace your journey and don’t forget to enjoy your accomplishments.
Lauren Prater

By Lauren Prater • JBA Young Lawyers Section board member

It is the beginning of the year, you’re headed back to work. After a few days of much needed personal time and holiday cheer, you’re finally feeling relaxed, revived and recharged.

Nevertheless, slowly but surely you notice your calendar filling up with event requests, social meetings and all those lunch dates you promised to set in the new year.

As lawyers, we frequently find ourselves overcommitting and wanting to be everything to everybody. In 2022, I encourage you to prioritize protecting your productivity and your peace of mind.

Here are five steps to help you manage your time, your career, and your distractions: 

Identify your goals

What do you want to accomplish this year? Think about the steps it will take to achieve your goals and write them down in a vertical line with your current position being your base, your goals being your high point and the steps required to accomplish your goals falling in between.

Your plan should ultimately resemble a goal ladder. When you’ve identified your goals and a plan of action, get started. 

Establish priorities

Be selective about how you spend your time. You don’t have to say “yes” to every opportunity that comes your way.

When analyzing whether to take on new commitments, think to yourself, “will this commitment take me up the ladder and toward my goals?” 

If the commitment takes you any direction but up, it is OK (and liberating) to politely decline the request. Remember, lateral moves do not move you up your goal ladder.

Make referrals

If you are a personal injury attorney with no experience or desire to practice criminal defense, do not agree to help your distant cousin with the DUI she got on Thanksgiving. You do not have to be the solution to everyone’s problems.

If you are not comfortable practicing in a certain area of law, do not be afraid to say, “Hey, I actually specialize in personal injury, but I am happy to connect you with someone that specializes in criminal defense.”

Setting boundaries and making referrals strengthens your professional network, alleviates the stress and risks of giving bad legal advice and preserves your time by minimizing your case load.  

Recharge

Stay plugged into the status of your well-being. Identify when you are beginning to feel overwhelmed and do things that reduce your level of stress before you are completely exhausted.

Keep in mind, your body is like a battery. It’s a lot easier to recharge before it’s completely depleted.

Stay in your lane

We run our own individual race and it’s not healthy or helpful to compare your life to others.

Social media is a wonderful tool but can be toxic and destructive if it breeds unrealistic timelines and expectations for success. I promise you, if you create a plan and stick to it, you will reach your goals at your own pace.

Embrace your journey, give yourself some grace and once you accomplish your goals, don’t forget to enjoy your accomplishments before planning your next feat.

Lauren Prater is a personal injury attorney with Woolsey Morcom PLLC, focusing primarily on auto negligence litigation.

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