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Time Management for the Professional Procrastinator

When I last posted to this blog back in March as I got busier and busier with the then- rapidly-approaching ABA TECHSHOW® 2009, I never dreamed that all of April, May and June, and most of July, would fly by before I’d get around to writing another post, so procrastination seems as fitting a topic as any for getting started again.

Why do lawyers procrastinate? There are probably as many reasons as there are lawyers, or books written on the subject. But the “why” of it is not nearly as important – in the short run, at least – as the “how.” How do you get around that “stuck” feeling that we often have when we know there is something we really need to do but just can’t seem to get started on?

So, needing to just plunge in again and feeling that every topic was the wrong one to start with, I remembered some great materials on the subject of procrastination that had come across my desk right after I started working here at the bar in 1997. The article by Meg Spenser Dixon, a lawyer specializing in time and stress management for lawyers, was entitled Overcoming Procrastination and appeared in the January 1998 issue of In Sight, the newsletter of the Oregon Attorney Assistance Program. It offered 9 quick and simple rules any lawyer could follow to jump-start a neglected – or dreaded – project. One of them was “start anywhere” and another was “start imperfectly.”

Those two seem to have done the trick for me, so if you’d like to check out the thinking behind those two and the other seven, and possibly put them to use in your practice, they were reprinted later that same year in The Wisconsin Lawyer and, amazingly, you can still read them online here. Cousin Jim also has a recent post titled Overcoming Procrastination at Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips blog, with a great paper from the just-held Oklahoma Solo & Small Firm Conference with great info on getting more done and billing for it, which you can download there.

This may not be perfect, but it’s certainly fun to be back!