Though it may seem obvious on the surface, it’s almost always under-appreciated: our overall sense of personal well-being derives from our core effectiveness in managing ourselves, our time, and our choices. For example, if we choose to eat poorly, our physical health will suffer. If we choose to invest wisely and not overspend, our financial health improves. If we choose to allow constant interruptions throughout the day, our mental state suffers.
In fact, to the degree we choose to be healthy intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually (however you think of spirituality), to that same degree we’re better able to manage how we move through the day. Or, said another way, we’re better able to manage ourselves and how we spend our time.
Why? Because it takes determination, fortitude, wisdom, and patience to build our self-awareness, self-confidence, self-discipline, and self-kindness. And why are those capacities instrumental to effective time management?
Because the other seven of the Eight Essential Keys of Powerful Productivity can, admittedly, be very challenging – especially for busy attorneys who, by the very nature of the procession, work in an environment defined by strict deadlines, adversarial relationships, high-stakes outcomes, and information overload (to name a few core dynamics of the profession).
Whether rigorous daily planning or regular curation of your task list, or dealing with a well-meaning but confused subordinate, or staying on top of email, or reducing the number of daily interruptions you tolerate – all of these are better handled the stronger your overall wellbeing.
The Power of Self-Awareness
There are several widely-available tools that can help us achieve better self-awareness of the behavioral and attitudinal patterns that govern our day-to-day experience. Instruments like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and DISC style assessment can be truly powerful aids to understanding, for example, why we may struggle with procrastination (perfectionism) or with delegation (impatience).
And exercises such as “The Wheel of Life” (many versions of which you can find on the web) invite us to look at how satisfied we are in eight common realms of life such as recreation, health, family, finances, health and others.
The power of these tools lays in their ability to help us upgrade our overall well-being, which in turn upgrades our ability to practice healthier self- and time management in the midst of our evermore stressful culture and the evermore pressured world of law practice.
Then, too, more and more attorneys are embracing personal practices such as yoga and mindfulness because the evidence is now overwhelming that the benefits of a clear mind and calm nervous system improve critical thinking, decision-making, communication, and other high-impact faculties – particularly in stressful environments.
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