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Melissa Shanahan

#213: Your Definition of Productivity & Using Monday Map/Friday Wrap

Listen Now:

Do you have your quarter mapped out in terms of priorities? Are you clear on what you are going to get accomplished this quarter? If you don’t, this episode is a must-listen. And if you do, but find yourself starting out strong and then flaming out in busyness, this is for you too.

Monday Map/Friday Wrap is a weekly process that Melissa and her clients use to take action every single week with intention and purpose. To fly further faster, you need to know exactly what you’re aiming for, plan it, and then honor your commitments. As always, this is about progress, not perfection, and Melissa is here to offer food for thought around increasing your intentionality behind your strategic planning.

Join Melissa this week as she offers two key pieces of advice for really moving the needle in your practice. You’ll hear why it’s worth getting acquainted with the Monday Map/Friday Wrap process if you haven’t already, and the value of defining what productivity means to you.

If you’re a law firm owner, Mastery Group is the way for you to work with Melissa. This program consists of quarterly strategic planning facilitated with guidance and community every step of the way. Enrollment will be opening soon, so join the waitlist right now to grab one of the limited seats!

Show Notes:

What You’ll Discover:

• Why the Monday Map/Friday Wrap process is essential for staying intentional week to week.

• How Monday Map/Friday Wrap increases self-awareness, productivity, and results.

• Melissa’s favorite definition of productivity.

• The value of defining productivity for yourself. 

Featured on the Show:

Create space, mindset, and concrete plans for growth. Start here: Velocity Work Monday Map.

Join Mastery Group

Join the waitlist for our next Monday Map Accelerator, a 5-day virtual deep-dive event.

Learn more about the metaphor behind Rocks, Pebbles and Sand

#207: How to Address Your Firm’s Bottlenecks with Ben Hudson and John Grant

Jerry Colonna

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Full Episode Transcript:

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I’m Melissa Shanahan, and this is The Law Firm Owner Podcast Episode #213.

Welcome to The Law Firm Owner Podcast powered by Velocity Work for owners who want to grow a firm that gives them the life they want. Get crystal clear on where you're going. Take planning seriously and honor your plan like a pro. This is the work that creates Velocity.

Hey, everyone, welcome to this week's episode. I have something very simple to present to you today and to have you think through for yourself; it’s super powerful. I think that if you can get your hands around what I'm talking about today and make some decisions for yourself around this, you will fly further faster.

As you all know, I teach a process called Monday Map/Friday Wrap. And it is a weekly practice that is designed to make sure that you are taking action through your weeks, at any given point, with intention and with purpose.

And the reason that this came about, that I wanted to teach this, I mean, it's never a super clean-cut story on how this came about. But I'll tell you some of the major things that made this such a big deal inside of our company for our clients, and certainly for myself.

It’s that I really believe, and this is what my whole company is centered around, that in order to fly further faster, you need to know exactly what you're aiming for. A vision that you can anchor to, that's going to pull you into the future. And you need to have a plan to get there.

And you need to have milestones mapped on what it looks like, what the trajectory looks like, in order to get there. And your plan is not going to go perfectly, that's not the point. But it forces you to think through what needs to happen, what the journey needs to look like in order to reach the destination, the vision that you are anchored to.

Now, when you think about planning, and is this strategic planning; strategic planning on the way to the vision that you are anchored to, to what you are aiming for. When you are making your plans, you need to stay pretty high level with the planning until you get to the year in front of you, and even more specifically, the quarter in front of you.

And the 90 days in front of you are what you have to put your head down, and you have to be very clear on what you are going to get accomplished. What you are going to do in order to get to the places that you say you need to get to.

And so, when we do planning, we set goals, which are always numbers, always. And we have the annual goals, but we also have quarterly goals. And so, we have these quarterly goals, and we ask ourselves, what are the levers that we are going to pull in order to get ourselves to those numbers? What are the efforts that we're going to put forth in order to get ourselves to those numbers? What are the things that if we don't do we will be held back?

These are the questions we ask when we're facilitating. And the answers that surface for clients become the quarterly priorities. You get selective and you decide on these few key priorities for the quarter, we call them Rocks, that you are going to focus on in order to set yourself up to be on track for where it is that you need to be right now, in line with the vision that you have.

So, when you have that information, from there it is your job, because you have the quarter mapped in terms of priorities, but from there you know how it is, we get busy. We have a lot of work that is client related, or otherwise, that feels like busy work, but it's necessary. And we do try to delegate the best that we can, we try to handle these things. But basically, we run from week to week just trying to do our best.

We see clients, we respond to clients, we train our team members, we do all of these things. And in the end, it's kind of feels like, well, man, there's not much time left over for me to give to these priorities that I said were important for me to stay on track with my goals. And this becomes a problem.

This is why people flame up and flame out. They get really motivated when they have plans. They start out strong out of the gates but then the busyness takes over. And then, they're back into the rat race of things. They're back into the busyness of things.

And so, Monday Map is a process that keeps one intentional, on the way to completing what they set out to do for the quarter. And so, you have your quarterly stuff that you're supposed to focus on; of course, the numbers that you're trying to reach; but also, the efforts that you said that you're going to get done so that you can reach the goals.

And now, you need to actually spend time doing those things, they are the Rocks. They are the things that are the most important. If you haven't seen the metaphor with the rocks, pebbles, sand, you should go look that up on YouTube. There's some great videos that explain the rocks, pebbles, sand, metaphor. And basically, people try to fill the jar with sand first, and then the pebbles, and then the Rocks.

Rocks are the most important things. Sand is the filler stuff. Pebbles are things that are important, but not the most important. Yeah, they need to be done, but people tend to fill their time with sand, then pebbles and rocks; rocks are last. And when you fill your jar that way, what you will see in the demonstration is that the rocks don't all fit.

But if you put rocks first into the jar, and then the pebbles, and then the sand, it all fits with room to spare. But it's a discipline. The jar is your calendar. So, when you think about your calendar, when you schedule time for things, you schedule time for the most important things. The most important things go first on your calendar, not last, they're not an afterthought.

Monday Map/Friday Wrap is a process that will guide you through how to think through your week, how to plan your week intentionally, so that when it's time to show up and actually take action and get things done, you don't have to think. You already did the thinking of what needs to come first, second, third of how this is all going to happen, right?

So, we have a playbook for that. If you go opt in on our website for the Monday Map/Friday Wrap guide, you will receive a three-piece thing: There's some foundational concepts to read through and understand. Then there's a playbook that guides you through how to do it. And then, there's a checklist, as a cheat sheet. Once you've really gotten it down, you can use this cheat sheet, you don't have to use the whole playbook anymore.

So, cheat sheets are really for advanced practitioners of Monday Map/Friday Wrap. Being guided through this process ensures that you don't have efforts that you said you were going to do but end up in a graveyard of projects that just never got finished, that you keep meaning to come back to, that you keep meeting to finish. And it just never quite gets done.

So, this process is really important to stay intentional week to week to week to week to week to week, times 12 or 13, depending on the quarter, to finish the quarter strong. Not every week is perfect, that's not the point of this practice. The point is to stay intentional, to be more intentional than you would without this process. It is not about perfection.

So, I'm saying all this for two reasons. Number one, I am going to be doing a series on the podcast to dive into Monday Map/Friday Wrap. So, if you have not opted in to get the guide, do it now. Start to get familiar with it if you haven't already.

And if you did in the past, and you set it down and it’s just kind of in the graveyard of things that you started and didn't really stick with to finish because of all the reasons that we're talking about today, pick it back up. Opt-in again if you need to.

Because you want to start working with it again so that when I do this series it's going to make a lot of sense to you. And the barriers that you are experiencing are fresh in your mind, so that you can think through them with the episodes that I'm going to be doing.

But the second thing is, I want you to think about what your definition of productivity is. There are many definitions out there. Most people can't articulate one for themselves. And when they try, it's a subpar definition, and they know it. But they don't know how to define it; get more done? Be efficient with my time? There's a lot of ways you could technically define it.

One way I've defined it in the past, is creating results. What results am I creating? If I'm creating results, then I am productive. If I'm getting stuck in tasks, but there's no real results being created, then I'm not doing the best thing for the company ,for myself, for my clients, etc.

I've thought about it in that way for a long time. But with Monday Map, what's interesting is that you map out your week and then your job is to honor the plan. So, just like I said at the beginning, you have to know what you're aiming for in terms of big picture and success. You’ve got to know what you're aiming for.

And you've got to have a plan to get there. And then you've got to honor your plan. Your plans will not go perfectly. That's not the point. But you will do the work to honor the plan and you will get yourself to this next level, and you’ll have made progress towards what you're aiming for. That is important big picture.

The same rules apply on a smaller scale. And this is why you guys have heard me say before, “aim-plan-honor”. You have to know what you're aiming for. You have to make a plan. And You have to honor the plan. That applies on a macro scale and a micro scale. And so, now, you have to have the macro and then you bring it down to the micro which is the quarter in front of you.

You know what you're aiming for, you’ve got to get these initiatives done, you want to hit these goals. So, that's the aim. Now, you have to make a plan on how you're going to get those things accomplished. And so, that is week to week. We facilitate a lot, as a Mastery Group, we help people deconstruct their Rocks, so that they know what they need to do week to week. And you should do the same.

If you aren't a member of Mastery Group, then you should still do this for yourself. You should deconstruct the quarterly priorities. That's big project, break it down into smaller components. I've done podcasts on this before, so I won't go even deeper into that at the moment. But once you have it broken down, you know the tasks you need to get accomplished. You know what you need to do in order to make progress on that Rock that you have set.

And so, every week, when you sit down to plan your week, there has to be time to spend on these Rocks. And you should know exactly, when you sit down to work on the Rock, exactly what you're going to get done. What are the tasks that are going to get done in that calendar window? And then the next week, you could do it again, next set of tasks. And the next week, you do it again, next set of tasks.

But this is important, to know what you're aiming for, to have a plan, and to honor the plan. Sitting down to do Monday Map is planning, and then your job is to honor it. And then, you evaluate yourself with Friday Wrap, and you go again and you plan the next week. And this practice is so important to stay intentional with where it is you want to go. It increases self-awareness. It increases productivity, and increases results.

Now, let's go back to the definition of productivity. The best definition that I have heard that goes in perfect line with Monday Map/Friday Wrap is one from Ben Hudson. He said it here, a few weeks ago on the podcast. And it's so simple. And I talk around it all the time. But this is the sentence, “The definition of productivity is, did I do what I said I was going to do? That is it.”

And so, on any given day, you have said you were going to do these certain things, because you planned it out during Monday Map. And did you do what you said you were going to do? If you did, it is a win. That is productivity.

It's not, did I get every little task done that I had down? It's, did I do what I said I was going to do? And if you did do what you said you were going to do, you are a productive person. If you didn't do what you said you were going to do… If you made a plan; you said you were going to get these things done; and then, you didn't honor the plan, it's not that you're not productive at all. But there's room there to help yourself. There's room there to help your firm.

Which, by the way, means that there's room to better serve clients and to be better inside of your organization, all the things. And it's not because you're not good enough, is why you need to do this. But I think we all want an edge. This is how you do that.

You're not going to get an edge without being intentional. You're not going to get an edge without sitting down to be thoughtful with your plan, for your week, for your time, that's on the micro and on the macro. Planning is so important.

And if you don't have integrity with the results that you want to create, meaning you are lining yourself up with the results you're going to create because you are planning to do certain things to get yourself to be on track. And you honor those things you said you were going to do so you're on track.

That is in integrity with the results you want to create, with the goals you want to hit, with the projects you want to complete. Which are, in my world, Rocks. If you do that you will be in line with where you say you want to go.

And so, with productivity, the definition of productivity, which I highly encourage for you to determine what that is for yourself. But make sure it is in integrity with where it is you say you want to go. So, Ben's definition is, did I do what I said I was going to do? If the answer to that is yes, it's a win for the day. And it gets better and better and better and better and better at being able to say, “Yep, I did do what I said I was going to do. Did I do everything under the sun? No. But I did do what I said I was going to do.”

And with Monday Map, you start to get better about only putting the things in your calendar that you want to be able to say you're going to do, because you want to honor your commitments. So, did I do what I said I was going to do? If the answer is yes, then it's a win. That's the definition that he uses for productivity.

And the reason I decided to do a podcast episode on it, is because that is good food for thought. What is your definition? How do you know that you are in integrity with the results that you say you want?

That quote always comes back up, by Jerry Colonna; it's a question: How are you complicit in creating the conditions that you say you don't want? And that's very similar to, how are you complicit to creating this world in which you just aren't making progress on the things that really matter, that really move the needle, that really take you to the goals and to the objectives that you say you want to complete and to hit?

It's a question worth asking. And how can you use a definition of productivity to help yourself, or as a tool, as a filter, for success or not success? Because we're never going to get it all done, right? That's not the thing. But did you do what you said you were going to do? That's the thing.

And Monday Map is a fantastic tool to give yourself the opportunity to say what you're going to do. And then, you honor it. Honor the plan so that you can say, “I did what I said I was going to do.”

Alright, I hope this helps. If you want to borrow that definition from Ben Hudson; shout out to Ben. I've been borrowing it and it's been really helpful and simplified and it's beautiful. And it pairs perfectly with Monday Map/Friday Wrap.

So, my suggestions for you based on this episode: Know what your definition of success is in terms of productivity. What is that? How do you know you are winning? Because you're never going to get it all done. If you're seeking perfection with getting it all done and then that means ‘I am a productive person’, that's not a great definition. So, what is it for you? What feels right? If you want to borrow Ben’s, I say go for it.

The other thing I would say is get your hands on Monday Map/Friday Wrap. Reacquaint yourself with Monday Map/Friday Wrap, if needed or if necessary, because in upcoming episodes I'm going to be digging into it so that you all can benefit and have a bit of an adjunctive aid to the Monday Map/Friday Wrap process.

And remember, it's about progress not perfection. With that process it is all about just increasing your intentionality behind making plans for how you're going to spend your time and making sure you honor those plans. And it's a practice. So, those are my two key pieces of advice: Reacquaint yourself with Monday Map, sit down, do the work, be willing to suck at it, be willing to not do it perfectly, and then also, define what productivity means to you. That's my two nuggets for you today.

And hey, enrollment for Mastery Group open soon. So, if you are interested in putting these things into practice for yourself and getting organized about your growth and about what you're aiming for and about your plans to get there, then get yourself on the waitlist for Mastery Group.

Go to and get yourself on that list. Definitely opt-in for Monday Map/Friday Wrap on the website so that you can start to understand and improve your relationship with the things that you say you want, for your firm and for yourself.

All right, everybody. Have a wonderful week. I will see you here next Tuesday.

Hey, you may not know this, but there's a free guide for a process I teach called Monday Map/ Friday Wrap. If you go to, it's all yours. It's about how to plan your time and honor your plans. So that week over week, more work that moves the needle is getting done in less time. Go to to get your free copy.

Thank you for listening to The Law Firm Owner Podcast. If you're ready to get clearer on your vision, data, and mindset, then head over to where you can plug in to Quarterly Strategic Planning, with accountability and coaching in between. This is the work that creates velocity.

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