As law firm owners and entrepreneurs, all of us are living under a cloud of unprecedented uncertainty and financial hardship. It’s stressful and scary and if you were to claim otherwise, I’d question your sanity.
In the days and months to come, there will be time — plenty of it — to reposition your firm, go remote, change practice areas and indulge whatever big vision you have for your practice and your life. But for now, many lawyers struggle just to get through the day.
Though I can’t say that I’ve lived through a pandemic, today’s crisis reminds me of what I experienced when my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer. In a matter of days, I went from a comfortable two-income family with health insurance and 401k deposits handled to the sole financial support for my terminally ill husband and our daughters with their private school and college tuitions. To make matters worse, my days were interrupted with doctors’ appointments and calls to health insurance companies, pharmacy visits and taking care of my husband while worrying each day whether he’d be around for the next. I could not stand the work that I was doing but I needed to pay the bills. So I needed to woman up and get things done.
What helped me most during that terrible time to think small. Day to day, or hour to hour just to get something done. But what also helped was putting on blinders to block out the parade of horribles swirling through my brain. And so, when I’d sit down at my desk with work to do, I put my hands to the side of my head to block out the white noise. The physical act of doing that reminded me to focus, and was usually enough to let me accomplish at least one task for the day. And even though I was operating at less than 50 percent of my productivity, day after day, task after task, things got done.
And that, worried readers, is what you can do as a start to make it through the crisis. Take it day to day, step by step, write one true sentence, meet one deadline, finish one task. Tomorrow is another day and maybe a better one if you can get there. Blinders on, eyes focused, and hopeful heart. I know you’ve got this.
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