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Melissa Shanahan

#218: Monday Map/Friday Wrap: The Playbook (Part 3)

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Last week, Melissa wrapped up the nuts and bolts of using the Monday Map process. On this episode, she’s offering her top tips for setting yourself up for success using The Playbook, as well as the final piece of the puzzle: the Friday Wrap process.

Melissa believes Friday Wrap is the most critical component of your growth and development as a law firm owner. It’s what offers you the opportunity to evaluate your progress, hold yourself accountable, and learn from the experiences you’ve had, and she’s showing you how to make the most of this period of reflection that you’ll go through every week.

Listen in this week to hear why, while short and sweet, Friday Wrap is a rich process that should never be skipped. You’ll hear Melissa’s tips for setting yourself up to win at this game, the immeasurable benefits of practicing Friday Wrap, and how this reflection will allow you to carry forward lessons you’ve learned from week to week.

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:

• Melissa’s tips for setting yourself up for success with Monday Map.

• How to navigate unexpected obstacles.

• The importance of eliminating reactivity to stay in control of your plan.

• Why having an accountability partner is valuable.

• How Friday Wrap is a critical component of your growth and development.

• What the 3 steps of Friday Wrap entail.

Full Episode Transcript:

Download Transcript PDF

I’m Melissa Shanahan, and this is The Law Firm Owner Podcast Episode #218.

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. We are digging into the final bits of the playbook for Monday Map/Friday Wrap. If you haven't listened to the other episodes in this series, Monday Map/Friday Wrap, I highly recommend you do that.

Each one is building on the previous episode, so please go back and listen to the Monday Map/Friday Wrap from the beginning, all the way to the end with the foundational concepts; there are two episodes about the foundational concepts. And then, we move into the playbook, because it's a different PDF guide for the Monday Map/Friday Wrap process. It's the second guide.

And it is the playbook that walks you through the steps, the nuts and bolts of planning your time and honoring the plan; there’s a little bit in there about honoring the plan. And then, Friday Wrap.

Last week, we wrapped up the planning your time portion, the nuts and bolts of planning your time using the Monday Map process. And so, today I'm going to give some of the tips that we have listed in the playbook. To set yourself up for success you want to review these things often. And then, we're going to go into the process of Friday Wrap, which is short and sweet, but so rich and should not be skipped.

Alright, so the tips to set yourself up for success, when it comes to Monday Map, the first one I have written down is to take your schedule seriously. Treat it with the same level of importance as any other critical business task. People don't take their schedule seriously enough. Most of the time, it's because they don't plan it well enough so they can't take it seriously.

If they actually took it seriously, either a lot of the stuff that they thought would get done is not going to get done, or things are scheduled wrong and inaccurately and so it's all just a mess. You want to take your schedule seriously; you want your calendar to be your boss. Because if you can follow that, if you allow it to be your boss, that means that you're more focused and intentional in terms of execution.

The second tip I have, is to review your goals and priorities regularly to ensure that your schedule aligns with them. You don't want to forget about why you are doing what you're doing, and what you are trying to align yourself with, with all this hard work that you are engaged in.

The third thing, have a reminder each morning of where you're headed in the coming months and years. Oftentimes, this goes hand in hand with reviewing your goals and priorities. But this is the kind of thing that members and clients that I work with, of course, they keep top of mind; their goals, the priorities, the things that they said were really important.

It is up to them to have a reminder each and every day of where they're headed in the coming months and years. But the conversation definitely stays alive about their goals and the priorities, because we have accountability calls surrounding those. And that looks different for private versus Mastery Group, but it is a thing.

So, the reminders come in. Because day to day, I can't be sitting next to you at your desk. But what if I was? What would I say? Every day you come in and sit down, what would I say to you before you hit your day? Those are the things that you want to remind yourself of so that it's fuel for you to stay focused and not get caught up in the minutia and not get sidetracked by things that will pop up in front of you. You stay intentional.

The next one is to eliminate distractions by turning off notifications, closing unnecessary devices, programs, tabs, etc., dings, pings, all the things. There was a member that really liked that I said that, dings, pings and all the things. You need to set yourself up to win by making sure that you are eliminating distractions when you are supposed to be doing something that your calendar says to do. Shut down everything else, even on cell phones.

I have a Do Not Disturb setting on my phone that I turn on all the freaking time. And the reason I feel comfortable doing that is because I have, through my settings, the ability for… If my husband calls, we use a messaging app called Telegram, my husband and I. He’s the only person I use Telegram for. So, if anything comes through on Telegram, if he calls…

Actually, might that might be it. I think my dad is in there, I don't know. But there are very few people that get to skip the Do Not Disturb. So, if they call or if they message, it comes through. And that feels safe because there's times where my kid is sick. Or if there's something going on, I don't have to worry that because I shut down my notifications, and I put on Do Not Disturb, that I'm going to miss something that's really important.

So, just set yourself up to win at this game. Eliminate distractions, turn off notifications, and of course, make it so that people that matter can still reach you. But other than that, no, the world does not get to just pull at you.

The next tip I have, begin tasks promptly at the scheduled start time. This is really important, and it's strikingly harder than what I would imagine that should be. But, beginning tasks right at the scheduled start time. So, if at 11 o'clock on a Tuesday, you're supposed to sit down to work on a brief, at 11 o'clock, it's go time. It's freaking go time.

You don't check your email one last time at 11 o’clock. Because then you'll be sucked into 11:10 or longer. You don't do any last-minute things. No, at 11 o'clock, it begins. And beginning tasks right on time allows you to stay on schedule.

It's crazy how getting behind by three minutes, five minutes, eight minutes here and there throughout the day will totally screw up your day. And it's unnecessary, totally unnecessary. It's just procrastination. And in many cases, that you heard me talk about before, and I've done a whole podcast episode on it before…

There's a member that uses the term “virtuous procrastination.” That is, oftentimes, what has us run late. It’s the procrastination that feels necessary and pretends to be important in any given moment. It's not. It's not. Shut it down and get going. Begin tasks promptly at your scheduled start time.

A tip here too is, we have one big team meeting every week. And people want the ability to catch up with one another and just have a little bit of social time before we dig in to be all business. So, we start that meeting at 9:50am so that their first 10 minutes can be about catching up and just chit-chat. And then, at 10am, it's go time we dig in.

Even if you need to build in something so that you can schedule start time on purpose, for meetings or other things, that's fine. But think through it. This is part of Monday Map and thinking through it.

So, if you didn't do that, if you did a whole plan for Monday Map and you realized, “Oh, I actually needed a little bit of space to sink in, or to give space to the other party that I'm dealing with,” whatever, then, all right, now you know that and you can handle it better when you plan moving forward. So, take note of those things.

Alright, the next one, use timers to help you focus on the task at hand and avoid checking the clock. This is a game changer for people because typically, they will know that they have from 10:00 to 10:30 to work on something, and they keep their eye on the clock, keep their eye on the clock, keep their eye on the clock. They work and then they keep their eye on the clock.

That is allowing yourself to be distracted. And it feels responsible, because you need to keep on time, just set a timer. Have a way that you're going to be pulled out of that activity and you trust that you'll be pulled out of that activity, so you can move to the next thing and not be late for whatever you're supposed to do next.

So, use timers to help you stay focused on what is in front of you so your brain isn't supposed to hold on to that and be responsible for pulling you out when it's time. No, forget it. Don't rely on your brain for that. Rely on a timer.

All right, the next one, review your schedule for the next day, before the end of the current day so that you can orient yourself for a really strong start in the morning. The days that I don't do this, for whatever reason… Usually the reason is that I allow myself to be scheduled up until 5pm on certain days. But at 5pm I have to go get my kid, I cannot wait any longer or I'm going to be late for pickup. So, I have to skedaddle out of the house.

And those days that I didn't allow for any padding to look ahead at the next day, I start the next day a little wonky and I have to get oriented. And really, the days that I do that at the end of the day, and I look ahead at tomorrow, and I see oh okay, I have this and then this and then this and then this. It just allows my brain to create a sense of order about the next day.

Which makes it much easier to slide into the next day instead of feeling a little disoriented, and having to get myself oriented the next morning. It's not the best way to execute.

Alright, the next tip, if something unexpected comes up, pause, evaluate it against your priorities, and adjust your schedule accordingly. I alluded to this last week as I ended the podcast, but it's worth really stopping here to talk about it. Unexpected stuff is going to happen. Oftentimes, it will happen because you didn't plan well enough earlier in your journey with this. And so, you'll kind of find your flaws with the scheduling.

So, there was something unexpected come up, and it was like, oh, I did not account for this, but I could have. Okay, there's some learning there to do. But sometimes, stuff just flies in your face that you couldn't have foreseen. It doesn't matter. You couldn't have planned any better. This flew up, and you wouldn't have placed money on that happening, so either way.

Your job is to not just fly into the next thing, your job is to pause. Remember, we talked about pre-frontal pause. This is your opportunity, and opportunity that you have, to pause and allow the executive functioning part of your brain to evaluate it against your priorities and adjust your schedule accordingly.

And because you've done Monday Map well, and you have buffer time, and you are aligned with your priorities, this makes it easier. The planning that you did makes it easier to handle the things you didn't anticipate coming up. But don't fly into it; you always pause.

If you don't pause and you fly into it, you are not in control anymore. You stay in control by pausing, evaluating it, and then shifting some things around your schedule, and then getting back to work. It's like you lift your head, evaluate, and then you put your head back down and you go again, with execution. But you don't just fly into the next thing, that's super reactive.

And the whole point of all of this is to eliminate reactivity, so that you're in more control and you stay aligned with the things that really matter. It helps you stay intentional.

The next tip is to stay accountable. Find an accountability partner, or a coach to help you stay on track and provide feedback on your progress. And I put a note in the guide, “I might know someone.” But really, whether it's me, and it feels like a good fit to come into the Velocity Work sphere and have us be helpful in that way or not, it doesn't matter. You need to provide accountability for yourself.

So, figure it out and find it. It is so valuable. And I’ve got to tell you, from experience, very rarely does free accountability workout. Most of the time, you need to pay for accountability, like a real accountability partner. You need to pay for it. Because friends let friends slide, and/or if they’re colleagues and you're not really friends, it still feels weird to put the hammer down when you're not making the right call, or you're not being disciplined.

Find someone that's not afraid to say. “Yo, what is going on? Let's talk about this. Let's think through it.” You can make whatever decision you want to make, there isn't shame in it. But you must stay aware and you must stay intentional. And so, let's just make sure we're taking a moment to do that.

That's important in an accountability partner, and sometimes that's hard with a peer; speaking from experience. Also, on this front, I haven't talked about this a whole lot, I'm going to have her on the podcast someday. But I hired a running coach a few months ago. And I used to be a runner, then I had a kid and a business, all at the same time. And since then, it's been really tough to find my groove back with that side of myself.

And I finally just got so sick of it that I hired a coach a few months ago, and it is the best decision I've made. I know that everything really unfolds as it should. I do believe that deep down, but there's a part of me that wishes I would have hired her sooner. That is true accountability.

I mean, I pushed the limits with that early on, when I really wasn't taking it as seriously yet, as I could have been, and I think I was, not consciously testing the boundaries, but I thought, “Oh, she won't care if we move that workout to the next day. We kind of shift things back a day.” And it wasn't really convenient for me to do the workout that she had slated.

And I got push-back the first time that I had said… Actually, the first time I had asked for it was because of travel. And she said, “Okay, sure, we can push this back a day.” And then, three days later, while I was traveling, I was butting up against some barriers. And she was like, “Hey, why are we shifting this again?”

I told her my reasons, got really specific with, “Well, there's all day sessions, and then there's a dinner. The sessions end at 5:00 and the dinner starts at 7:30. I have a massage scheduled at five. And so, it just got really tight. I'm just thinking we can move it to the next morning.” In my head, I was totally justifying why all this made sense.

She wrote back this long message and just basically said, “Listen, I'm reasonable, but today you can run.” And so, essentially, what happened is I did my massage and then I went for a run, which I never thought I'd be the kind of person that would ever do that. But I had a massage and then I went for the run that she had slated, and then I went to the dinner.

And you know what? It fit in. And it really helped me understand that she's not effing around. And I’m paying her a fee, per month, to give me workouts and to help coach me through them, and to look at results, and to measure progress. Do I really think she's going to be cool with just slipping things to the next day? And then a few days later, slipping things again to the next day? Absolutely not.

And thank goodness. I am paying her for a reason. And she showed up as a coach for that reason. And if I had had a running buddy, do you think that they would have had that sense of authority around it all? Absolutely not. I would have walked all over it; I would have justified my way around it, and wouldn't have really thought twice about it.

But having someone like that in your corner, who is basically saying, “No, what are you doing? Let's go. Are you taking this seriously? I'm taking this seriously.” And that's made all the difference. It's totally changed my life, having her in my corner when it comes to my health and my progress with running.

So, I'm offering that here because when I say stay accountable, I mean it. Stay accountable. Figure out a way to stay accountable. We will always be at the mercy of our brain and what is going on, and so, we're going to have to help you stay cognitively at a level that is going to get you where you want to go.

We all are accomplishing really big things. We're all busy. We all lead full lives. Who do you have in your corner to help you achieve what you say you want to do?

Okay, the final tip I have for you here, is to review your progress regularly because this ensures that you are actually making progress towards your goals. So, you want to stay in tune with that. Now, Friday Wrap will take care of this, and we're going to dig into that.

The last thing I'll say before we dig into Friday Wrap, remember to evaluate your schedule periodically to make sure that you are on top of what's working and what's not working. Because as you evolve, your priorities will need to evolve as well. Honoring your calendar can be a tool for developing self-discipline and a deeper understanding of yourself.

And that will ultimately open you up to more freedom of time and money. But you've got to stay on top of it to make sure you're evaluating your schedule periodically, to make sure that you understand what is working, what's not working, what needs to be shifted, in terms of the calendar template, etc.

I mentioned a few times in this series that I do that consistently. Because I'm bumping up against things that aren't quite working as well; my template isn't quite working as well. And so, I know I need to go back and evaluate some priorities and make sure that I'm staying on top of and being really intentional with the space that I have to give different things inside of the business.

Alright, we are moving into Friday Wrap. Friday wrap is a component of your growth and development. And in my opinion, it's a critical component of your growth and development as an owner, because it's an opportunity to evaluate your progress, hold yourself accountable, and learn from the experiences you've just been through.

To make the most of this period of reflection that you're going to do every week, you want to focus on yourself and how you operate rather than on the world outside of you. And legal wins are another thing that I see people focusing on. I think that legal wins should be acknowledged and celebrated.

But when it comes to Friday Wrap, you need to make sure that you can acknowledge those things, and you need to dig in on you and how you operate. That's where the real fruit is going to come into play for you, to be able to increase progress and productivity week over week over week over week. Because you're going to learn about yourself.

You're going to evaluate the things you had control over. You're going to take note of areas where you can improve your planning, self-discipline, and time management skills. This reflection is going to allow you to carry forward the lessons you've learned from one week to the next week.

And that enables you to evolve and to refine your daily behaviors and your daily choices. This process of Friday Wrap, it typically takes five to 15 minutes, but the benefits are immeasurable. It's just a small pause to reflect before you dive into planning for the next week, and it can inform quite a bit.

So, here are the simple steps for Friday Wrap. Step number one, list your top one to three accomplishments from this week you are wrapping up. What wins did you have? Even if they were small, you want to take stock of accomplishments week over week. It's super important, so that you can understand and see the progress that you're making. That alone is motivating to help you stay on track.

This gives you a sense of accomplishment. It helps you build confidence in your ability to achieve your goals, and to take the steps necessary to be on track for your goals. And it provides feedback, valuable feedback on what's working and what's not working. So, you can adjust your approach, which allows you to optimize your productivity. Wins, taking stock of the wins, is very helpful and key in determining your forward movement.

The second step of Friday Wrap is to identify an area of opportunity. When you reflect on the week that you just had, you want to think about a recurring habit, or a pattern that did not serve you well. I'm not talking about one-off stuff. I'm talking about a recurring thing that didn't serve you. Well, you saw it flare up, you saw it rear its head, it threw you off, it left you unfocused, it allowed you to react, whatever it was.

So, this could be something that you find yourself doing repeatedly. You want to identify one thing you wish you had done differently, and how can you make a change going forward? Small changes lead to big results. You've probably listened to the podcast that I've done on the wee things.

The wee things matter more than the big swings. So, what is just one thing you wish you would have done differently? And how can you make a change moving forward, a small change moving forward?

Now, what comes of this is, sometimes people realize every week, in the Monday Map planning, you have to identify a force multiplier, something you're going to do in your upcoming week that will be the gift that keeps on giving. It is leverage. Maybe the thing that you identify here, is that.

The third step in Friday Wrap is to extract the top lesson learned from the week. So, you want to reflect on the most important lesson you learned about yourself this week. And again, it's about yourself. It's not about the world. It should not be about a process. It should not be about software. It shouldn’t be about your team, but rather something about yourself and/or how you operated.

What did you learn about yourself and how can you carry it forward into next week? This is all about self-awareness. This is about making progress, in a way that you can only make progress, because you have awareness.

Awareness enough to process a lesson and carry it forward into the next week, in next week's planning, so that chances are you're not going to have that same lesson to reflect on again next week. This awareness is everything.

That is it for Friday Wrap. Those are the three steps for Friday Wrap. So, I'm hoping that today, with the tips that I gave you to really sum up, wrap up, and use when you think about Monday Map, generally speaking, and then these steps of Friday Wrap. This is meant to fuel your progress as you move forward week to week.

I'd love the opportunity to work with any of you who feel like you want to dig into this. And especially those of you who want to dig into this alongside strategic planning for your firm, not just as a cute productivity tool. So, if you're interested in that, you know where to go. and get yourself on the waitlist. Or, if enrollment is open when you are listening to this, you can enroll.

We have, historically, open enrollment every quarter. I don't know if that's what we'll do continuing to move forward or not. We are evaluating that internally, right now. But as I say this, enrollment opens every quarter. So, if you're on the waitlist and enrollment is not open, you will be notified when it is. And if you happen to go visit that URL when enrollment is open, you have the opportunity to join our live one.

Thank you so much for sticking through all the way to the end of this series about Monday Map Friday Wrap, top to bottom. Go get in control of your schedule. I can't wait for you to apply this stuff. And again, my recommendation, you have to be clear about the macro before you focus on the micro, in order for this to really be what it should be for you in your world.

I'll see you here next Tuesday. Thanks everyone. Bye.

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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