In this week’s edition of Things I Wish I Knew, Joleena Louis discusses the possibilities of enjoying a New York City summer while building your solo practice.
Summer is my favorite time of year, especially in a city like New York.
Between vacations, outings with friends, and lounging on the beach it can be difficult to stay motivated and focus on the work for my practice.
Who wants to miss out on all the sun and fun by being stuck in an office all day? Not me!
However, as a solo I have to stay focused and now is the time to plant the seeds that get me through the big slowdown during the winter holidays.
This does not mean I can’t have fun; it just takes some planning and creativity. Since I adopted the work life integration ideology, it’s easy to integrate work into my summer fun.
Here are a few tips on how to enjoy summer as a solo attorney:
Keep track of how others vacation.
One key thing about summer is no one wants to work during that time. Clients, judges and attorneys are all vacationing.
This means less court appearances, less interactions with clients, and more flexibility in my schedule.
I still have a lot of work to do, with several trials coming up in August and September, but I have still been able to prepare for these while enjoying summer activities.
Squeeze in work in your “down time.”
I’m a beach bum and reside in Brooklyn so I spend many days at Coney Island on the beach.
I’m not always up and about during my time to myself so I’ll often spend a few hours relaxing on the beach alone, and bring my iPad to review trial documents or work on witness questions.
I’ve also had a few weekend getaways, including an upcoming trip to Vegas where I plan to use travel time for work so I can relax during the rest of the trip.
The key to making this work is to plan what you want to accomplish and how long you want to work on it and stick to it.
It’s amazing what I can get done in a couple of hours when I am motivated by spending the rest of the day uninterrupted at the beach.
Network to plant seeds for the future.
I always look for networking opportunities because networking means potential for the future.
I am usually invited to fewer formal networking events in the summer, but I go to more “fun” events where I meet people I may not have otherwise met.
I make it a point to talk to someone new everywhere I go, but I don’t try to outright sell myself; inevitably the person will ask what I do and eventually ask me for a card.
This has happened standing in line at Nathan’s Famous on the Coney Island boardwalk (yes I bring my cards to the beach) and even a party at a rooftop bar.
Lose the guilt of relaxing now!
My biggest piece of advice is lose the guilt about relaxing.
I feel extremely guilty when I am not working at least 8 hours a day, like I’m not working hard enough to be successful.
There is always something I could be doing to improve my practice. But the truth is my body and mind need the break and my friends and family appreciate the time with them.
As long as I’m accomplishing what needs to be done, it’s okay to work from the beach or go on a long weekend trip to Vegas.
When I’m stuck inside working all winter, I’ll cherish the sunny memories.