In this week’s edition of Things I Wish I Knew, New York solo divorce attorney Joleena Louis shares the simple tips that save her energy while boosting her firm.
I’m learning more and more to pay attention to my body and energy. I need a certain level of energy to provide the highest quality work, and I was starting to find that by the late afternoon I was completely drained.
I talked to my awesome doctor about it and she suggested I cut back on the caffeine and do some research on decision fatigue. The concept is this: you have a finite amount of space for mental exertion before the quality of that exertion diminishes. Every day we have to make hundreds of decisions and if you use that mental exertion on less important things you may not have it for the things that matter.
The solution is to eliminate certain decisions so you can use your brainpower on things that matter. Here are some of the ways I eliminate decisions.
In my practice, using workflows in MyCase has been a game changer. I don’t have to really think about what happens next in a case. If a trigger occurs, say a get a notice for a preliminary conference, I just apply the appropriate workflow and the next series of tasks will appear on my to-do list. Simple as that!
I try to write all blog posts and social media posts two days a month and schedule them to automatically post. I plan out my content between 30-90 days in advance so I never have to wonder what to write about this week.
I also automate my personal life. For example, I use Subscribe and Save via Amazon.com and Target to get household staples automatically delivered on a schedule.
All my bills are set to auto pay and I have recurring reminders on my calendar to do weekly things like bookkeeping.
Having a routine for mundane tasks can help you get them done without thinking about it.
Every Friday, without fail, I review my week and plan for the next week. It takes me about an hour and helps me never have to wonder what I need to do next.
At the end of every workday, I record my billable time and make my to-do list for the next day. Again, this routine makes it easy for me to do without thinking.
Every Sunday I do laundry and plan my outfits for the week. So in the morning I never have to waste time or energy deciding what to wear. I also plan my meals for the week so I don’t have to spend mental energy deciding.
One of the easy ways to eliminate a decision is to give it to someone else. You won’t have to spend mental energy on a task that you don’t have the time, desire, or skills to do.
I used to spend a lot of time deciding if and when to clean my apartment. Now I’ve hired someone to do it so I don’t have to worry about it. Ta-Da!
I’ve started delegating responding to simple phone and email inquiries to my virtual assistant. Now I don’t have to think about when and how to respond.
I know many solos who don’t want to think about what’s for dinner so they use a service like Blue Apron to get meals delivered. Whatever task you don’t personally have to deal with can be delegated to save your mental energy.
I admit that I was skeptical that this would make a difference at first. But after making these changes over the past few months, I have more energy throughout the day, my mornings go a lot smoother, and I save a lot of time. For me, it was a great result for very little effort.