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Melissa Shanahan

#217: Monday Map/Friday Wrap: The Playbook (Part 2)

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In a serendipitous occasion, this episode marks the four-year anniversary of the podcast while also rounding out this series on the Monday Map process! Melissa has been digging into the foundational concepts and prep activities that this tool entails, and today, she’s offering the weekly activities to consider when it comes to executing Monday Map.

The Playbook is set up to help you stay intentional so you don’t fall into the trap of wishful thinking about how you spend your time. On this episode, Melissa is walking you through the brain dump process that makes your schedule work effectively and brings the Monday Map tool to life.

Listen in this week to discover how to discern where your tasks and projects should fall on your calendar, and where to start as you execute Monday Map. Make sure to tune back in next week as Melissa concludes this series with the Friday Wrap process and her tips for setting yourself up for success.

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:

• What the brain dump process entails, and how to set up your own.

• How identifying task buckets helps create an orderly calendar.

• The various task buckets you could include in your schedule.

• Vital questions to ask yourself about what should be on your calendar.

• How to tee yourself up to delegate tasks.

• Melissa’s tips for intentionally extending your work hours.

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.

#216: Monday Map/Friday Wrap: The Playbook (Part 1)

Do Hard Things by Steve Magness

David Allen

Buy Back Your Time by Dan Martell

John Grant

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Full Episode Transcript:

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I’m Melissa Shanahan, and this is The Law Firm Owner Podcast Episode #217.

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. So, I just looked back, because I was thinking, “I feel like we're coming up on four years. I know it was in August that we started the podcast, and I should look back.” It just so happens that the date was August 8th. That means that this episode that is rolling out is officially the four-year mark. We've crossed the four-year mark as a podcast, and I cannot believe it.

Because this is something that, for any of you who have a podcast, you understand the level of work and love that is put into it. That is true over here, as well. Here we are four years in. It's straight up nuts, people. I mean, listen, I know I talk a lot about self-discipline and what it takes to do the hard thing even when you don't feel like doing it. So, this really shouldn't come as a shock.

But even though I talk a lot about this stuff, and I hold people's feet to the fire for this inside of our community, inside of Velocity work, with law firm owners, it doesn't mean it's a cakewalk. I'm not a robot, right? This is a big feat for me and for the company. So, I'm really proud.

And welcome. Welcome to the marker of the four years as a podcast episode that is this episode. How fitting is it that we are rounding out the Monday Map series that is being done right about now. A big thank you to all of you who have been listening from the beginning, first of all, and all of you who have chimed in to the podcast at some point and have gone back and listened to all the episodes.

I’ve talked to many of you who say you've binged the podcast, once you learn about it, then you dig in and you binge episodes. That's a big deal to me. That means the world to me. I do that with certain podcasts; I have done that in the past. It's such a breath of fresh air when you feel like there is a podcast that you want to dig into like that, so it's not lost on me all of the time that you all have put in, in terms of listening to these episodes, even if you have 2x them. Listen, you're my kind of person if you speed up the episodes. I just really appreciate it.

I show up every week, because I'm thinking about you as law firm owners and the challenges that you're facing, internal challenges and external challenges, inside of the business. You know, what's funny is on this podcast, a lot of what's talked about is the internal challenges. However, I am here to serve law firm owners and the challenges they meet.

I mean, I've even had law firm owners that have gotten to a place where they need to consider how to exit. I have put them in touch with people to be able to make those decisions. It doesn't matter the barrier you're facing; I am here and equipped to help, at least, at the very minimum, push you in the direction of people who know what they're talking about with the barriers that you're facing.

It's such a privilege, and it's such an honor, to serve this community of people. I am grateful that my life led me here to work with law firm owners. Yeah, you just don't know, right? There's no way you can know what it means to me to be able to show up to work every single day with you all at the top of my mind, and creating things that matter to you all. That will make a difference in your day to day, your week to week, your quarter to quarter, your year to year, and your life that matters to me.

It fuels me, and I am pumped to get up and do what I do every day. I'm pumped to be able to bring it to you in a way that I hope lands and I hope truly is helpful. Okay.

So, we have been digging in the last few weeks on Monday Map. We revamped the guide this year, and it has been a hit with people. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and that it has been useful. People have been putting it into practice.

I didn't actually say this, I referenced that I was going to talk about this on a previous episode in this series, and I didn't. What I did say, for sure, in the series, was the disclaimer that it feels weird to put this stuff out there, because this is not some cute productivity tool that you're going to be able to adopt, and just fly your way to all the success that you want.

Now, listen, I think that you can have a tremendous success just by implementing this tool. I'm not saying that it is fruitless, your effort with this tool without anything else. But what I understand and what I know, is that when you apply this tool, after you've done strategic planning, longer term, on the macro, strategic planning, it brings this tool to life. It brings your plans to life; it is worth the effort.

What I didn't say before was, because I said it feels weird to put this stuff out there, because this is not just some cute productivity tool. If someone thinks that's what it is, they should go elsewhere for their cute productivity tool, because that's not what this is. This is something that's a layer that is meant to bring life to things.

What I didn't say, is that I did attempt to put out this tool into the world on its own a few months ago. I called it Monday Map Accelerator. Many of you probably saw the marketing for it. It was a very low-priced entry, just to get people engaged in the activity of it because it draws people. You know, a lot of the times, the work that I do with clients is very unsexy.

But this is probably the “sexier” side of the business, is the productivity side and Monday Map/Friday Wrap; it's hooky for people. So, I decided to put it out there and see what happens. The revamped model, I did videos to accompany the PDF guides that I've covered here on the podcast.  I learned a lot from it.

Basically, what I learned is, it's backwards. It doesn't feel in alignment for me, and for this company, to put that forward first, without being very transparent that this has legs, once you have some macro planning done.  It was a good, worthwhile program. It was short and sweet. Actually, many of the people who joined that did end up joining Mastery Group, which is my opportunity to work with people on strategic planning.

It was a success on paper, but when I look at it, and I look at the flow of things, it didn't feel like a home run for my company, because it is basically some sort of draw in that people are really excited about. They think that them paying the very small amount that they had to pay to be a part of the Accelerator is going to fix a lot of problems. That's just not true.

I don't feel right putting that out to the world where, okay, if you do this, your problems are fixed. Do I think it brings a lot of self-awareness and that it's a net positive? Yes. But it is not the full picture. It is not why I started this business. It is an amplifier of the work that I do inside of this business. So, it feels misleading to throw that out there and think that if you participate in this, and if this is the only thing that you do, you're good to go.

I don't believe that deep down. Not that I don't think you're better off. But I really care deeply about doing things in an order that makes sense for the success that you want to see. All of that to say, that the feedback that's been really positive has been from members who've been a part of this for a long time, who've been adopting this for a long time.

Now they feel like they have a more robust and more thorough manual for how to think about this stuff for themselves. So yes, my coaching has been great, but this is something that they can really sink their teeth into. That matters a lot to me. Where the new people coming in, that came in through the Monday Map Accelerator, that we experimented with, and we put out as an experiment into the world, people liked that.

But the depth of feedback wasn't as strong. It was very much like interest was really high, but I wasn't getting emails from them the same way I was getting emails from people who've been around us for a very long time. Saying, “This is really good. Thank you for the work you've put into this. This is complete. This feels thorough. It feels well thought out. It feels well written.”

The gratitude on the side for people who have been through doing the work for a while, and now this is really supportive and supplemented to them, I was very pleased with that. So, when I said earlier that we've gotten a lot of positive feedback, we have gotten some superficial positive feedback from the public.

I've gotten deep positive feedback from people who have existed in our world and take part in quarterly strategic planning and have been growing their businesses inside of Velocity Work. That is what's meaningful to me, not what's public says.

So again, I say to you, if this is something you're interested in really nailing for yourself and finding your new normal with some of this… not perfection, just progress… your new normal, I invite you in. Because inside is much different than coming at this from the outside.  

There is an opportunity soon… I mean, I'm thinking of when this airs, doors will probably just about to open. So, just make sure, if you want to get involved, if you want to do this and approach this from the inside and not the outside, get yourself on the waitlist. Let us give you the information when it opens, and you can see if it feels like a great fit at that point. Go to

Okay, so are you ready for part two of the playbook? This is a weekly thing that you will do. We stopped last week, after the weekly calendar scan. The reason I did that is because it stops before you're getting ready to do a big brain dump, brain download is what we call it, in the guide. So, we went through the prep section of the playbook, which is something you'll walk through the steps of; it's not the foundational concepts.

There's prep steps number 1,2,3, and 4. Prep step number one was creating your ideal week, mapping that out, and creating a template. We walked through that.

The second prep step was calendaring recurring activities and thinking through this more thoughtfully than you have before; drive time, meals. What are the recurring things you have to do? Responding to clients. It's not in your calendar, but it should be because it's what you do every single week, maybe multiple times a week. So, really thinking through the recurring activities that should be calendared.

Prep step number three is scheduling buffer time. We talked about that. Then, defining emergency. So, what is it that actually gets to take you off track from your plan? What are those emergencies? Define each of those scenarios so that it's very clear to you, to your brain, and to your team, what gets to pull you off of the plan that you have calendared for yourself.  

From there we went into, every week you're going to sit down and… We went through the first two things: identifying a force multiplier, and weekly calendar scanning. What you need to look for as you look forward in your calendar.

There are things you should take away. There are things you should add. There are things that you should look for that are going to blow up your schedule, calendar grenades. Then, what should you consolidate or pull together that's just going to help make more sense for your time and how you're spending your time?

So, now we're going to start with step three of the playbook of the weekly activities you're going to do when it comes to executing Monday Map. Step three, is the brain download. This step, the process is to get all of the to-dos, the tasks, the priorities, out of your head and onto paper. It involves writing down everything, everything that needs to be done.

Now, when you do this, as I've learned over the years in working with people, and myself putting this into practice, I highly recommend that you use task buckets to categorize your tasks. You can take a page from the ideal week template, where you created categories of types of tasks or zones for certain things to be scheduled for yourself.

You can take a page from that. Mine do vary a little bit. I give some examples in here of task buckets. So, these buckets will have a place in your calendar template. But it may not look exactly the same as the zones that you have created for your ideal week. Task buckets, which is, for this part of the exercise, they are where you will group related tasks together.  

By sorting your tasks into these categories, you create a sense of order and structure. Meaning, that when you are downloading, you have a place to put them and it doesn't just feel like a mess on a page. It creates order and structure, and it allows you to prioritize and tackle these things more efficiently and place them in your calendar more efficiently.

This process not only helps you stay organized, but it also supports a proper brain download, because it reduces mental clutter and overwhelm. I'm actually reading a book right now, which I'm going to record podcast episodes about. Because it is a great book on the fundamentals of a lot of the things that we're talking about here.

The book is called Do Hard Things, by Steve Magness. He talks about a lot of brain science, and about how your brain is meant to create order. When there is uncertainty, it will find the fastest path to order so that it has a sense of certainty. Identifying task buckets gives you an opportunity for your brain to feel orderly as it is emptying itself onto the page.

Now, you can use a notebook page or you can use a document, it really doesn't matter, but having task buckets… As things come out of your brain, they are easily dropped into the right task bucket. I gave you some to look at and think through, however, feel free to customize it to better fit your needs as you practice Monday Map over time.

Alright, so the ones I give you are deep work, not client related. Shallow work, this is important but less mentally demanding tasks. This could be responding to emails, attending meetings, administrative work, and Client Services, which is tasks related to providing quality services to support plants.

This could include tasks like responding to client inquiries, working on a client file, providing updates on ongoing projects, delivering completed work to clients, and anything to do with the client.

There's another bucket, things to delegate. This is tasks that can be assigned to someone else to free up your time and energy. So, as you're doing a brain download, and you're getting everything out of your head, and all the things that need to happen, all the things that need to be done in this upcoming week and maybe beyond, you have a place to put them.  

So, all the things that even if it is client services related but it's not yours, you can delegate it to an assistant or to a paralegal, and then you can put it in the “to delegate” bucket versus the client services bucket. It helps you discern where tasks should fall on your page. Because after you do this whole brain download, you're going to have to calendar these things at some point. This kind of helps mark what actually should be put on your calendar and what should not.

The next bucket; personal. Any tasks related to your personal life, appointments, errands, hobbies, etc. “On deck,” this is projects or tasks that are important but they can be scheduled for a later time. They don't make the cut for this week, but you need it out of your brain and onto paper.

The reason that I say this, and you've probably heard me say this before if you’ve been listening to the podcast for any length of time, is David Allen always says, “Your brain is meant for processing, not for storage.” That is true.

The reason there's an “on deck” bucket for tasks is because if there's something that hits your brain, but you think it doesn't need to be done this week, then you might just write it off and hope that you save it or you remember it next week or the week after, whatever it needs to be remembered.

But instead, you can just put it in the “on deck” bucket so that it's there. You don't need to remember it. You don't need to hold space to remember things. Our brain is not meant for storage, it's meant for processing. So, the more that you can free up space in your brain, the more processing power you have to stay focused and productive.

When you are going to do your brain download, you want to set up your paper with these task buckets on it. You can decide if there's a different kind of task bucket that you need. You want to divide your sheet of paper into these buckets.

Now, in the playbook there is a page that already has the ones I have mentioned. I have the buckets already broken out for you, that you can print out and you can use. It's page 11 of the playbook, if you are using the playbook. I usually divide mine up on my own sheet of paper.

But once you have those sections divided out, that allows your brain to know easily where to put certain kinds of tasks. Okay? So, you're going to empty your brain into these categories by writing down everything that needs to be done, everything, and you want to be really specific.

So, client work that needs to be done, calls that need to be made, personal appointments needed; doctor, dentist, haircut, therapy, massage, car, home repair, soccer practice meetings, research that needs to be done. Everything. Don't leave any stone unturned, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Get it out of your head and get it onto paper.

Once you're done, you think you're done and you think you've emptied your brain, ask yourself: What else? Just stop and pause, and keep asking what else because more will surface. You’ll want to write that stuff down too. Now, if you are listening to these steps as you are doing Monday Map, push ‘pause’ and really give yourself the space to do this to get it all out of your head. Once you're done with that… Hopefully, now you’ve pushed ‘play’ again…

The one question I like to ask myself is: What are the things that I wrote down that should actually be recurring on my calendar? That way it gives me an opportunity to add it as a recurring event, right now.

Because some of the times, the things that come up that feel really reactive, are like, “Oh, I know that that thing should be done for that client. Well, yeah, that happens nearly every week, I'm going to need space for that nearly every week. Okay, let's go figure out where that should live as a recurring event, and where it makes sense and fits into my ideal week, so that I don't have to think about this fresh every single week.”

So, this is really about cutting down the load, the cognitive load, for yourself during this exercise week to week. Once you have done the brain download, that is step three, for me that takes the most amount of time. It’s just really allowing myself finality, and get everything out of my head on paper.

Once I have done that, then the next step is to break down each thing into smaller tasks. A project consists of two or more tasks. Oftentimes, you're going to write down projects during your brain download, not the steps. Tasks are the individual steps that need to be taken to complete an objective.

So, this step four is breaking down… You just did this whole brain download. Now scan and go through your whole brain download, with everything you wrote down, and figure out what are the necessary steps to getting this thing that you wrote down completed. Your answer will reveal the smaller tasks that are required to finish the “project” you have listed.

You didn't think of it, maybe, as a project when you wrote down. But truthfully, there's more than one task to get it done so it is, by definition, a project: maybe a small project, but a project. I give a couple examples in the playbook that you can read through when you opt in. But this will be really helpful, I think, for you to wrap your head around what that might look like to break down something that you have written from your brain download.

Once you've done step four, breaking things down to the smaller tasks, step five is to ruthlessly weed out your list. So, now you have tasks in buckets, broken down into smaller steps. Now, and only now, can you ask yourself: What can I delegate?

We often tell ourselves that we have to do all of these things. The truth is that we choose to do these things. You get to do these things. Now, you may decide that not all of these things are something you're going to choose to do, so what can you get off your list? By choosing to simply either delete it, get rid of it because it's not important enough and it doesn't make the cut, and if you're being honest with yourself, it doesn't have to be done.

Or what can you get off of your list by delegating it? Maybe you can find pieces of what you had done on your brain download, that you can move into the delegation bucket. This is important and you can't do this step until you have broken things down small enough.

Because oftentimes, we think, “Well, yeah, I have to be the one to do this thing that I wrote down,” but when you break down the smaller steps, there are things that someone else could do to tee you up for the final piece of the thing that you wrote down.

So, if you need to get documents signed, and you need to be part of that meeting, okay. But there are things to get documents signed. You have to call a client, schedule a time to secure witness, secure notary, and then complete the signing appointment. So, there's maybe three steps in there, of the four that I just mentioned, that you could delegate. It doesn't even fall on you.

Yeah, you need to get documents signed. You also don't need to be involved in every step of the way in order for those documents to be signed. So, that's what I mean. If you don't break things down, it's going to be very difficult to figure out what you can parse out for yourself.

Now, for some of you listening, that may be such a basic example that it feels really hard to do. Just follow the process. Because when you follow a process, whatever things you have written down from your brain download, and then the steps that you break down, you're going to see pieces of your brain download that you can delegate so that you are freed up to actually knock it out of the park with the final objective of what you have written down.

Sometimes you can put a whole objective on someone else's plate and that is their job and they can do a great job at it. Maybe you need to train a little bit. This helps to figure out how to weed out your list, how to determine what to delegate and what to delegate next. So, be ruthless about this process and get as much off of your plate as possible.

Now, once you've done that, we're at step six in the playbook. This step is something that people want to skip. I am telling you don't skip this step. It is one of the easiest steps that you can take. It will provide you the ability to make your schedule math. The more that you can make things math, the better off you will be because it allows you to go on facts and not feelings.

So, let's dig into this. Step six is to write an amount of time next to each task that you have written on your brain download. This is the amount of time that you estimate it will take. Sometimes we'll be very certain, and sometimes you won't be certain, but you're going to estimate it. You're going to think through it, and give your best guess on the amount of time that you need to give yourself to get that thing done.

The key here is to be brutally honest, do not cut corners. If you think there is something that's going to take 40 minutes, don't put 30, put 40 next to it. Or 45, if you want. I would rather you err on the side of a little bit of buffer until you know yourself so well, and you understand how long things take so well, that it allows you to bump up to the margins specifically. So, if you're not sure how long it's going to take, make an educated guess, and pad it just a little bit so that you give yourself the space.

You can take inventory afterwards to figure out what's right, what's wrong, and what do you actually need for that kind of a task. Rarely ever assign a task to be less than five minutes. I very rarely do this. There are times where I have things written down on my brain download, and I'll just say 10-10-10-10, because I know that stuff happens. It allows for a little bit of space to be built in, so I don't have to be a robot moving through my things.

I mean, I try really hard to be robot moving through my things, but a little bit of padding is nice to be able to move through everything with ease and with flow, not racing all day. You cannot race all day. People do this to themselves. You know how you feel at the end of the day where you've raced all day. I don't mean having expended all the energy that you have. I don't mean fully utilizing yourself racing.

Racing is not something you can keep up, and we are not running a race, we are running a marathon so treat this as such. Don't race through every single day. If you have a day where that has been your experience, you need to go back and look at where were you wrong. How can you better estimate how long it's going to take to do the things that you had set to do for yourself?

As you complete this process week over week, you're going to learn more and more and more about yourself and the work that you do, and your estimations will be more and more and more on point.

Okay, now, let's say that there's something that you're dealing with that you know that you need to get off your plate, but you can't yet. For some reason, you can't yet. Maybe you don't have a person to delegate it to. I don't know what your reason would be. But we have reasons sometimes where we're not quite ready yet to be able to delegate it.

Keep a spreadsheet of those items. Because as you do the tasks yourself, you want to record yourself doing it and drop the link in that spreadsheet next to the task. Something I learned from Buy Back Your Time by Dan Martell, which is such a good book. If you haven't read it yet, you should totally read it. I want to have him on the podcast at some point.

If I can get him on the podcast, I will definitely be doing episodes that have some my major takeaways from that book. Okay, that's a side note. But one thing I learned in the book was to record yourself doing it three different times, that way you catch most or all variances in the task. That tees you up for delegating as soon as you can.

Again, if there's something that you feel like you should be delegating, but you just can't quite yet, keep track of those in a very specific place. Then, as you actually do execute those things, record yourself, and record yourself three different times if you can, and drop those links next to the task so that when it's time to delegate, you can delegate it.

Alright, we're going to the next step, seven. This is called time reconciliation. You've just put down the estimated time next to each task that you are doing. Now you want to add up the estimated time for the work events and tasks that you have slated.

You want to add up the total time that you've estimated for personal life events and tasks. So, get those two numbers, then you want to count the hours that you have available on your calendar for these kinds of things. Count up the calendar hours available for work events and tasks. Count up the calendar hours available for personal events and tasks.

Then you do the math. This is time reconciliation. So, the work events and tasks that you've said need to get done, does it fit into the hours available on your calendar to be able to get work events and tasks done? Same thing for the personal side of things.

Once you do the math to figure out if this all fits or not, now it's time, it may be time, to make some decisions. So, when everything that you're “supposed to” get done won't fit into the available time, you have to make some decisions. There are, as I see it, and with the people I've worked with as it's been for them, you have three options.

In order of priority. The first option you have, if it doesn't all fit, is to be more ruthless about delegating, or deleting tasks. That was already a step. But now, maybe when you see this isn't freaking possible, you can go back and you can be even more ruthless about delegating or deleting tasks. You have that spreadsheet that I mentioned that you can start for tasks that you can't quite delegate yet.

Are you really serious about that? Can you really not delegate that stuff yet? Maybe you can. Maybe there's a way, so that someone else can take this for the first time and then for every time after that. So, be more ruthless about delegating or deleting tasks.

The second option you have is to reset expectations with others, so that it buys you more time. So, maybe this means you request a deadline extension. Maybe this means that you just touch base with the client. Like, you had an internal deadline for this; they don't have that deadline. But you told them, “I'm going to have this to you by Friday.”

Maybe just reach out to that client and say, “Hey, I'm working on your things. This is going really well. I'm going to have X, Y and Z to you by…,” and then put in a date that helps give you some room so that you aren't screwed because you have more to do than the available time that you have to give the work.

Also, resetting expectations comes with family and personal, too. I mean, maybe there's a time where communication means everything, right? It's not that you want to spend less time with your family, or that you want to back out of duties and responsibilities and being present with your family.

However, communicating that stuff up front, and not just running into space that you were supposed to spend time doing, quality time with loved ones, for example, maybe just communicating with them, “Hey, on this Tuesday, I really need to work an extra 90 minutes. If I do, it's going to make the whole rest of the week easier for me to stay present.”

Communicating expectations to others, that can give you what you need in many instances so that you can stay on track without feeling like you are pulling from other people or depleting other things in your life that you really do want to give space and time and attention to and the care that matters to you.

The third, is to intentionally, which kind of goes with what I was just saying, but intentionally extend your work hours. But this is only at a last resort. I put this in here because many of you will do it anyway. So, you might as well be honest about it and intentional about it up front. This is Monday Map; this is when you're planning your week.

You don't want to do this stuff reactively. It pisses people off, and it drains you. So, how can you intentionally extend your work hours, if in fact, it is what needs to be done. Maybe that means that you stop work at 5:30, you go home, you have dinner, you're present with your loved ones, and then at 8:30, you're going to fire back up the computer and work until 10:00.

Listen, this is not what I want for you. This is not what I want for clients. This is not really a way to live, beyond a certain lifting point of the firm and kind of getting yourself from zero to one in your firm. But there is a time and a place for it. This is what I was talking about with foundational concepts.

I mentioned in there, you are an entrepreneur, you're a business owner, and there's going to be times more is required of you and you're very conscious about that. Then be intentional with when you're going to be that and do that. This is your chance, in Monday Map, to make those calls. So, it's okay if you're going to extend the work hours that are most ideal for you. But be very aware that that's what's happening ahead of time, and make those decisions ahead of time.

That is planning. The definition of planning is making decisions ahead of time, so this is your chance to do that. Sometimes, for me, for example, I know that I need to give more space than what is normal for me. There are certain phases where that's required. So, I will slate early Saturday mornings where I wake up before my house does.

I get done some things that matter, and I'm going to make my life easier if I get these things done. It's a plan, and I'm going to honor my plan. But that's not how I want every week to go. That's certainly not what I want for you every week, is to be overextending past your work hours that you have set as your ideal. No, that is not the game we're playing chronically. However, intentionally and for a set period of time, if that's what needs to be the case, that's what needs to be the case.

But make a plan out of the plan. Don't just run with every free moment you have into work, that is not intentional. So, that's not what we're doing. That defeats the whole purpose of planning your time and honoring your plan. All right. So, time reconciliation is step seven.

You're going to add up, “This is the estimated time that I have written down of all the things I need to get done. Does it match the space available, that I have allotted for these kinds of things?” If it doesn't, you've got to make some decisions. I outlined the approaches, in terms of decisions that you can make there.

Okay, we are to step eight in the playbook. Step eight is to calendar the things that you are supposed to spend any amount of time on. Put them in your calendar and schedule them. This is where you push pause for sure, again, because you're going to need to focus. It's time to calendar these priorities for the upcoming week.

So, you're going to schedule time in your calendar for the things in this order. Don't forget to add in necessary time around each event for driving, for prep time, or anything that you need. If you're supposed to spend any amount of minutes on it, it should be scheduled.

The thing here is to make it so that your calendar is your boss. You abide by your calendar. You honor your calendar, because the calendar is your plan. So, you want to go in this order when you're scheduling personal and leisure time.

Schedule that stuff in; hobbies, family time, social time. Blocks of time where you don't have to honor a plan, for God's sakes. We're not robots, right? We're not supposed to honor a plan every second of every day. So, where is the space that, yes, you do have things scheduled that matter to you. For personal and leisure time around your hobbies, certain family time, social time, functions, etc.

But also have blocks of time where you can do whatever the F you feel like and you don't have to abide by a schedule or by doing a certain thing. That there is some space where you get to do what feels right in terms of your personal life.

The second thing you're going to schedule is owner focus time. This is time for you to work on the health and the betterment of your business. This is high level thinking for your firm. Now, this could be Rocks. If you're in my sphere, this is time to work on the business, not in the business. This could be Rocks, it could be financials, it could be super thinking time… that’s what I call it for myself… Super thinking time about and for the business.

Thinking about, what are the issues that are arising? What are some solutions that I can come up with? Or what do I need to delegate? Or what meetings do we need to put into place so that solutions get made right or produced? This is time for you to think about the business, owner, focus, time. Then, everything else from your brain download.

So, be specific about the tasks that you need to accomplish inside of each calendar event that you create. Do not use generalities. Don't be vague, because you want to ensure that you schedule the event for the amount of time that you estimated up in step four.

The other thing I'll say here, and I have a note about this in the playbook, is to batch small tasks together. If you have a handful of tasks that total 30 minutes, put a 30-minute block on the calendar called miscellaneous tasks, for example, and drop the list of tasks inside of that calendar event so that you know exactly what you're supposed to knock out when it's time.

Something I've been working with John Grant; you guys have heard him on the podcast recently. He's been doing work with us internally. Such a good resource, and a resource that I am making available to members and clients, which is exciting. But he has something called GSD “get shit done.”  That's kind of his miscellaneous tasks.

So, taking that page from him, my team lately has had GSD events on their calendar. Inside are the bulleted list of items that they're going to get done in that GSD time. Call it what you want, but you can batch some really small things so you don't have a 10-minute task on the calendar and a 15-minute calendar event for this one thing. No, just the small stuff.

Put it together, like with like, put it on your calendar, and abide by the template that you made. the zones of certain types of work, and certain types of things that should go into certain days and time periods that you had slated, when you were thinking really high level about what should go where.

You want to approach your calendar like a puzzle. Configure the puzzle of how you'll spend your time and what is going to be accomplished in the week. If it doesn't all fit, make decisions on what tasks to prioritize and adjust your schedule accordingly. The aim here is to create a schedule that is realistic and reflects the actual time you have available, rather than wishful thinking.

Again, I'm going to mention that book Do Hard Things with Steve Magness. I'm going to do podcast episodes that accompany this guide so well. He just phrases things and comes at them from a different point of research and conversation. I think it'd be really useful for you all who are thinking about making sure that you're in integrity with what it is you say you want to create, what it is you say you're going to get done in a week, instead of just wishful thinking. So, we'll talk more about that.

But these principles were outlined in the foundational concepts. This playbook is set up so that step by step by step by step by step, you have an opportunity to stay aware and stay intentional, and do not have wishful thinking. That's the last step with planning.

Once you have this done, and everything is calendared, then you get to take a deep breath. Now, it's time to put this aside. You know that when you hit your week, you're going to hit your calendar, and you're supposed to follow your calendar.

This part of Monday Map is honoring your calendar, which is honoring your plan. You did the hard work of planning, and planning well and thoughtfully, and now it's your job to execute. You know, if you're doing this on a Friday, you can trust that you're going to show up on a Monday and have everything you need to knock it out of the park and follow your calendar.

Is it going to go perfectly? No, that's not the point of all of this. But it's going to be immense progress to being more productive and more focused and more in line with where it is you say you want to go. You've created a great plan, and it's time to honor it. It's not going to be easy. It goes back to the foundational concepts.

It's not going to be easy, but it's simple. So, don't let your brain create complexity, and indulge and confusion when you encounter a barrier, when you're executing, when you're honoring your calendar. Just take a few minutes to breathe and move through it, stay conscious and don't react.

The whole thing is to ensure that you aren't reacting to what is happening. You take a breath, you take a moment, you can reorganize some things on your schedule. You're going to learn from it later during Friday Wrap, which is what we're going to cover in the next episode.

Around Monday Map/Friday Wrap, we're going to round this out with Friday Wrap. Okay, you have everything you need in order to not only understand how and why conceptually these things matter, and understand how and why your brain works the way it does.

Now, you also have the playbook and the steps from initial prep, the things that you should think through beforehand, before you even sink into hardcore planning for your week, and you can revisit those things consistently. I do, my clients do. Then, every week you sit down and do these steps all the way through.

You have everything you need to sit down and plan well and to make progress. This is not about perfection. This is about progress and gaining more and more and more control over your time and how you spend your time being more intentional week over week over week over week.

Next week, we're going to talk about some tips to set yourself up for success. You want to review these things often. We're also going to talk about Friday Wrap and how to think it through. There are really three simple prompts with Friday Wrap. We're going to talk through those so that you can round out the week really well and set yourself up to knock it out of the park in a new and better way with Monday Map the following week.

Alright, everybody, have a wonderful rest of your week. I'll 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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