Man watching a clockYou’ve reached day 22. By now you should be seeing an increase in business. Today’s post gets to a key point where many attorneys struggle – keeping regular office hours. This is an area where lawyers who aren’t successful and don’t know why, miss the point. Being successful means understanding the trade-offs that go with it. We’re twenty-two days in and it’s going to be time for many lawyers to make a decision.

I’ve dealt with attorneys who want to have a growing firm and want to make more money. The issue, however, is that they don’t understand what a larger firm looks like. I’m not saying that you need to be at the office from 7 am to 7 pm, 7 days a week. What I am saying though, is that success means having consistent office hours and sticking with them. I regularly see the following from attorneys who, not coincidentally, are struggling both financially and in growing their practice:

  • Not getting to the office at a consistent time
  • Thinking they don’t need to be in the office unless there is something on the calendar
  • Taking excessive time off during the day (whether for long lunches or to run personal errands) and not making it up later
  • Hiring people (and incurring payroll) even though the attorney isn’t putting in a full work week
  • Having employees who aren’t being very productive due to a lack of supervision

Today’s goal is going to be simple. Pick a set time at which you are going to arrive at the office each day and have a general time that you’re going to work until each day. Also, understand that if you are going to take some flex time at work (such as running a personal errand during the work day) that those hours have to be made up later that day.

It’s time to say “why did I start my own firm?” If you did so because you thought it would be great to “set your own schedule” then you need to understand things can go one of two ways. You can have a very small operation, with the intention of staying small, so you can have a more flexible schedule, or you can grow your firm which means having more rigid office hours. The amount of money you make is going to correlate with how much effort you put in. “Work” is work – that’s why you get paid for it.

I’ve had conversations with attorneys who say “that the phone isn’t ringing” and that they aren’t getting clients, yet they don’t generate blog posts. These same attorneys also aren’t keeping office hours and are trying to have staff do things that they should be doing themselves. This raises two points – first, these lawyers are paying someone to do work they could be doing themselves but simply don’t want to and, second, there are plenty of things that could be getting done at the office even though there isn’t anything on their calendar. It’s easy to put things off when you’re the boss and people aren’t watching over you. This is where the connection between self-discipline and success comes into play. There’s really no other way to say “go to work.” Surprisingly, this point needs to be made to attorneys more often than one would think.

Today’s action plan is simple. Set regular office hours and keep them. While you’re at work, actually do some work.