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Melissa Shanahan

#170: The Final Step: Drive Success with Reminders, Rest, and Rewards in Practice (Part 3)

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This week, Melissa is wrapping up her mini-series on the importance of bringing thoughtfulness to planning so you can set yourself up for success. You’ve heard an overview of the three R’s: reminders, rest, and rewards, and last week, she dove deep into reminders and her best tips for honoring your plans.

Rest and rewards are the next two crucial pieces of the puzzle, and examples of Wee Things that matter. As all business owners do, we get sucked into always being on and available for people, we don’t stop thinking about work, and our brains are constantly cranking with ideas and anxiety. Your work is to come up with small ways to tee yourself up to win at this game, and to do that, you need to implement rest and rewards.

If you don’t want to be a shell of yourself when you get to where you want to go, or leave yourself in the dust along the way, tune in. Melissa is showing you the importance of being thoughtful around getting better rest in your everyday, and the power of using rewards in the completion of your rocks so you can start baking these into your plans.

If you’re a law firm owner, Mastery Group is the way for you to work with me. This program consists of quarterly strategic planning facilitated with guidance and community every step of the way, so click here to join us!

Show Notes:

What You’ll Discover:

• The 2 different types of rest you need to implement.

• Why, as a business owner, creating space for leisure time is crucial.

• Melissa’s process and top tips for prioritizing leisure time.

• Why proper sleep is a Wee Thing that gives you an undeniable advantage.

• How to be thoughtful about getting better rest in your day-to-day.

• What becomes possible when you are properly rested.

• 3 types of rewards you can use, and the effects of rewarding the behavior we want to see in ourselves.

Full Episode Transcript:

Download Transcript PDF

I’m Melissa Shanahan, and this is The Law Firm Owner Podcast, Episode #170.

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. Thanks for tuning in, and welcome back to The Law Firm Owner Podcast. I am finishing up a small series that we did for you that dug into the really important thoughtfulness that you need to bring to planning that will set you up for success. So, we did an overview in Episode 168 of the three R’s: reminders, rest, and rewards.

And then, I went into more in depth reminders last week, in how to set yourself up to have daily reminders that you read. That keep you mentally at the top of your game, so that you're making the right calls, decisions, you're thinking on purpose in the way that you need to, so that you are able to honor your plans.

And then today, we're going to talk about rest and rewards. Rest and rewards, these are two very important pieces of the puzzle. I'm going to go into rest first, and what we mean by that and how to think about that.

And then rewards are second. I would recommend that you sit down with a pen and paper, you can pause this as you would like, to give some thought to certain things.

But your work is to create and come up with some really small things that will tee you up for success when it comes to rest, and when it comes to rewards.

We're going to start with rest; there are two pieces to rest. One is leisure time, just space where you don't have a plan to frickin honor. We don't have to be honoring a plan 24/7. It's more about space, to give yourself, to do whatever the f** you want to do, right? I don't think we do that enough for ourselves. I know my clients don't do that enough for themselves.

It's important to figure out how you're going to set yourself up to have leisure time, where you don't have to do anything. You only have to do what you feel like doing in the moment. And if that is sitting on the couch and watching Netflix® and eating popcorn, all right. If that's going for a long walk with someone you care about, alright. It doesn't matter if it's going for a hike, whatever you want to do.

Now, there's two ways to think about leisure time. I like to think about leisure time, for myself, as space with nothing on the calendar. I get to decide in the moment, whatever I want to do, just like we said. I do think it's also important that if there's stuff that you enjoy and you know you care about, going for a hike for example, or making a plan to see friends, you do need to think ahead of time for those things.

And that can be leisure time in your calendar as well, that can be restful and rejuvenating; you get to decide. But I do think, even if you make plans that feel really good to you, once a week at least, you should have an amount of time on the calendar that you aren't expected to be anywhere. No one is going to be poking you for anything and you get to turn off all notifications if you would want to, and go do whatever the hell you feel like doing.

As a law firm owner, you get very sucked into, as all business owners do, to this idea of always being kind of on, kind of always there. People can always get a hold of you, you never stop thinking about work, ideas are cranking your head, maybe anxiety is cranking through your head. Your brain is always going. You have got to have space where you give your brain a break.

It doesn't have to do anything, you don't have to be anywhere, it allows your nervous system to calm down. And if you can take this regularly for yourself, you're more fresh week to week to week to week. You get to decide how much time you take, how much leisure time you take. But I would recommend that you bump it, from whatever it is now, you bump it up a notch.

So, if you have none right now, I think you should just have like a four-to-six-hour window every week, where you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. Okay, now let's chat for a second, because many of you out there have kids and responsibilities that make it more difficult to get that space. So, let's just address that for a moment.

Take control where you can take control. And sometimes, that means just asking, getting on the same page with someone in your life, so that you can have the space for a short period of time. Setting expectations differently with people. But usually, we just don't do those things. We just roll with the punches.

And I'm asking you right now, if you have a set of circumstances that makes it more challenging to take leisure time or to have leisure time, than someone who may just have a totally different set of circumstances, you still do it; you don't not do it.

I have a toddler, so I know what it's like to have a kid and, you know, he's not at a stage where he doesn't require attention, typically. So, if he's around, that's what I'm doing, right? But I try to take time for myself during the week when there's childcare involved. I'll take a window to go do something just for myself, just for me. And, it feels really good to take that space. It's not a ton of space, but it always happens.

And, it's an example of a wee thing. It's a wee thing that matters. For me, it’s taking that leisure time for myself when I know that my kid is being taken care of. Which I do, sometimes, ask my husband to watch our son on the weekends, so I can go do something that I want to do. But I don't have to do that in order to get leisure time. I build it in to my days, Monday through Friday, so that I have a little bit of space for myself.

Now, on the weekends, there are chunks of time where I don't put anything on the calendar, and I will be with my family, I will be with my son. It's not alone time, but it's still leisure time. And we get to decide what we want to do. We can go to the museum that we are members of. We can go for a hike; just decide that morning, get in the car and go. We can drive to a new playground that we want to check out. I mean, it kind of revolves around the family and around the kids.

But that is good. You know, that's what I want. I want to spend quality time and not supposed to be doing something else. But I feel like I'm cheating on the work, because I'm going to spend time with my family. No, this is leisure time, we get to decide what we're doing. And we don't have plans, we get to just decide what we're doing.

I'm sharing this example because of myself, in implementing this. Because I implement exactly what I ask my clients to implement, which is, you practice Monday Map / Friday Wrap. And that means, that your week is scheduled like a freaking pro, and you need to show up and honor your plan.

Now, in Monday Map, which we talk about, there's buffer time built in where when things don't go as planned, you can shift it and it doesn't make your day just totally screwed. But you still have most of the hours of the day, you have a block of time dedicated for these kinds of tasks. You get those things done, and then you have a block of time to work on this project. And then you have a block of time for returning client calls or whatever it might be.

So, you have the time on your calendar to give attention that you need to give. And if you honor that calendar, you are knocking it out of the park. And so, that's your job, is to honor your calendar. That is not healthy to do seven days a week, where you're on to the next, on to the next, on to the next, on to the next, without leisure time.

So, my suggestion is, if you don't have any leisure time built in, you do feel like you're on to the next because you've always got plans, you've always got a calendar to abide by. You need to start setting yourself up for success for the long game. And do that through your work weeks. Do that when you're supposed to be on and really cranking, and on to the next and moving and grooving, and creating value in the world.

But when it's time to be off of work, you need to have space. And sometimes that looks like making plans with your family. But you need to have some space in there where you don't have to be looking at your watch to make sure everything's okay. You just get to flow, man. So, that's what I'm saying is, leisure time is super important. And whatever amount you have right now, I'm going to encourage you to bump it. And you don’t have to bump it by a lot, but you need to bump it.

If you have none, right now it just feels like you are go, go, go, then put a six-hour window on your calendar, consecutive hours, on a weekend if you need to. I'm imagining that's where many of you are going to do this. Put a six-hour consecutive block on your calendar that happens every week, that you don't touch. And if you need to put something else there, maybe you move it to the other day on the weekend, whatever, but have space.

Something I learned a long time ago, at least that's true for me is, to me luxury, the epitome of luxury is space. Physical space and where I live, and where I work, space on my calendar. Space is luxury to me. It's so funny, I've always identified with luxury, always. I love luxury, but I don't love opulence. Like, that's not my thing.

And a couple years ago, I had a realization that; oh my gosh, my version of luxurious space: I want tall ceilings. I want openness. I want to be in nature, there's a lot of space there. I want my calendar to be appropriate, where it's the appropriate amount of time for me to work on things. And I have space in it to move and to breathe; that's luxury.

And, I'm not perfect at it. But that is important, because the more you can be there and live in space, and you have space around you, the easier it is to continue to make headway, in all the ways that you want to make headway, towards the results you want to create, space matters.

And, I do try to build it in as much as I can through the week. But listen, you know my business is in a phase where I don't just have a bunch of space on my calendar. As a matter of fact, my team is really struggling with how to figure out how to get me in all the places that I need to be, how to make that all work.

But I still make it a requirement that I have some leisure time for myself every week. When my child is being taken care of, during the day. And, I have space on the weekend that's leisure time. I get cranky if we have plans all weekend. That is a no, I don't do that. Because very rarely, do I feel willing to do that, unless it's an event of some sort. Because I need space to rejuvenate and to recover, and make sure that I'm refreshed for the next week ahead.

If I have too many weekends in a row or too many evenings in a row, throughout the week, like weekday evenings where I am just on to the next event, or go here, go there, appointments, whatever. I, very quickly, start to burnout and resent having to show up like clockwork, for the things I need to show up for. Because I don't have any space to just chill for a minute.

So, leisure time is really important. The clients who I watch implement this, they're always more successful. They can always sustain the level of effort that they're supposed to have, because they are not creating a scenario where they're leaving themselves in the dust. They're not a shell of themselves, when they arrive at their goals.

It's because they've built in space, they have leisure time on their calendar, and they have… The next thing that we'll talk about with rest, which is sleep. They take care of themselves. So, make sure you have leisure time. You get to decide how much. Bump it, no matter where you are; bump it up, that's my recommendation.

No one's probably not going to give yourself permission on your own. So, let me be the one to give permission and give you a challenge to create more leisure time. And understand, and sort of expect, that if you bump your leisure time, you're probably going to move more quickly towards your goals. Because you will be a more whole version of yourself that you're bringing to the game.

Alright, the second part of rest is sleep. And let's just get right to it. Stop effing around with your sleep. Sleep is so important. There's so much research out there that will back this up, and shows the long-term effects of cutting short the sleep that you really need.

Everybody is different, with the amount of sleep that you need, but most of the experts out there agree that it's extremely rare that you need less than seven and a half or eight. So, people that are like; well, I am actually good on six and a half, you just don't know what you're like on eight. The science shows that that's typically not true. Like, 99% of people, that is not true for.

And someone who I like listening to, just to educate myself and help kind of keep me motivated on making the calls I need to make, to ensure that I'm resting, is Dr. Andrew Huberman. His podcast is the Huberman Lab, I believe. But there is an episode, I looked up what episode it was; number 31, with Dr. Matt Walker. Dr. Matt Walker is a sleep scientist from Stanford, I believe. And so, that episode is really good.

And then the Huberman Lab, Episode 84. That is Dr. Andrew Huberman on his own, Sleep Toolkit: Tools for Optimizing Sleep & Sleep-Wake Timing. So, it's a great episode. They're both great episodes. Dr. Andrew Huberman is incredible. I love learning from him, his podcast is a really great learning space, I only listen to the ones that the title sounds like something I'd be interested in, because they're so in depth.

And, a lot of it's over my head. So, it really feels like deep learning when I'm listening to it. And I really only am interested in deep learning on things that I care about. So, I'm not going to listen to every episode, because I don't care about everything that he talks about. But there's a lot that he offers, it's really great. I highly recommend, for a deep understanding on health, your health.

Proper sleep is a multiplier. It is a wee thing that matters, because it is something… If you can tee yourself up to get better rest, then it's an advantage. It's an edge that you have. And the amount of research done on this is insane; the benefits of proper sleep, the detrimental effects of not getting enough sleep, they're undeniable. So. definitely take this seriously for yourself.

There are so many clients that I talk to, and myself included, if you listen to the wee things podcast, you'll hear this. My husband kind of rips on me a little bit because of… I was cheating my sleep and I'm known to do that. I don't like going to bed. I really don't. It feels like, you know, I know rest is important, and I do like getting good rest.

But sometimes I just want to stay up. I want to keep working on the thing I'm working on. I want to keep watching the show I'm watching, like I don't want to go to bed. I don't want to make that call. It feels like my time to do what I want to, after my son goes down and it's just my husband and I.

But that's not playing the long game, that's playing the short game. Long game: you go to bed, you get your rest, so that you can get up and you can do what you actually want to do the next day, without feeling depleted. So, this is something that clients that I talk to deal with, I deal with, and chances are, likely, you are dealing with.

But there are wee things that you can do, and I want you to journal about, like write down some ideas. What are the small things you can do to tee yourself up for success in this area? So, you don't have to do an overhaul. But stop ignoring it and start giving attention to this very important part of life.

What do you need to do differently? Do you need to set an alarm before you go to bed, so that you wind down? I actually have an iPhone®, it has a reminder to wind down at a certain time. I have that set correctly for myself, and it does help. It's like, oh, yeah, because I'll be, you know, watching a show or something, and it'll make that lullaby sound. And I'm like, oh, yeah, okay. Alright, so 10 minutes, I'll go back and brush my teeth, etc.

So, do what you need to do. What are the wee things that you can do to set yourself up, so that you actually get the rest that you need? I have people that oftentimes, they'll make a wee thing to wake up at 5am, like do the early morning thing. Okay, but can we all agree you need sleep more than you need to wake up early.

So, how are you going to make sure that if you want to wake up early, that's fine, what time you need to go to bed, so that you're taking care of yourself? Don't mess around with your sleep, it's not worth it. And I'm certainly not trying to convince you of that here. You should come to this on your own, educate yourself about this. But don't mess around with your sleep.

And you can do small things to set yourself up to win at this game, or be better, progress, not perfection. I'm not perfect with this. And there are nights, I'd stay up later even though my little lullaby Apple® thing has gone off. And like, I make a conscious decision to stay up later.

And you know what? I pay for it every time. I'm just not as sharp. I'm not as patient, I'm not as sharp, I'm not as nice, my face looks tired by 1pm instead of you know, normal time that you would start to really weird out or get tired.

So, just be thoughtful for yourself and write down; what do you need to do? What are the small things you could do, that would set yourself up to get better sleep, to get better rest? And for you, that may be length of time that you sleep, or it may be quality. Just make progress here, you don't have to do 10 different things to make your sleep perfect. That's not what this is about.

It's about giving this part of your life, taking it as seriously as you should be taking it, because it has a profound effect on your productivity, on your outlook, on your perspective. I mean, when I'm tired, it's really hard for me to be positive. I'm so much more negative when I'm tired, because I'm grumpy. But when I'm rested, and I'm not alone in this, when you're rested, you are able to have a higher-level perspective, you're able to think longer game, longer term, be more patient, make more rash calls. So, just tee yourself up nicely here.

So, rest. We've covered leisure time, we've covered sleep. I want you to write down; what are the small things you can do that will make a big difference? And it'll be a multiplier for you in this category. Make sure you're taking care of yourself, and that's what this category is about. So, that you're not a shell of yourself when you get to where you wanted to go. And, you're not leaving yourself in the dust on the way.

Okay, now we're going to talk about rewards. This is something that many of you, and I know this, because I work with many of you, don't do enough of. I am similar, where it's hard to take time, it's not our tendency to take time to celebrate and to reward ourselves for the hard work. And sometimes it feels like a waste of time, it feels a little cheesy. We can justify all day long, why we don't do it.

But there's way too much research out there, to show the effects of rewarding the behavior that we want to see out of ourselves. And that, that positive reinforcement is really meaningful towards where we want to go. I have taken this more seriously this year.

Again, as I mentioned earlier, I had a lot of these realizations once I was pretty clean and clear headed, during 75 Hard. Where I had all of the stuff that was clouding me before, was gone, and my depression, anxiety lifted. It was very clear what I wasn't doing, that matters. And so now, I do think about these things, and I work to integrate them. And I'm not perfect, but it has made a big difference for me.

And with the clients I've shared this with, as they've been implementing it, it has made a difference for them. It's a subtle shift, in terms of the difference it makes for you, on your journey, on the way to a goal. But it's almost like you didn't know what life was like before you started doing this. But once you start doing it, you can see it's like grease on the wheels. And that's why it's part of the three R's, that I determined for myself. And I've shared this with clients.

And, I'm not the first one to say this on this planet. This is not rocket science. It's just claiming it; that this is something that matters on the journey, if you're really stretching, and growing, and developing, and all the challenges that come with that, with growing your firm. These are things to be considered and rewards is one of them.

If the word “reward” doesn't feel like a fit, I'll offer a couple of alternatives. Celebration is one. But for me, that's in even more of a direction that feels hard to identify with. Like celebrating, to me, I think of confetti and party, and that's not really what we're talking about here. Though, you totally could do that. And, I think there's time and a place to do that.

So, celebrations, rewards, acknowledgments, and treats are the words that most resonate with me, but it's still rewarding the behavior that I want to see. Now, acknowledgments can be a high-five, it can be just stopping to look at the work that you've done, and experience a sense of pride, and fulfillment, and contentment around that.

That can be as small as the acknowledgment is, but it's still an acknowledgement that it's there and that exists. And also, with treats, I think about; you can assign a treat ahead of time, attached to the milestones that you hit, or to the certain behavior that you exhibit that is a stretch for you. It's not currently the way you operate, and you're trying to operate differently.

How are you going to reward that for yourself, so that it bakes in a bit more to your brain and for your brain, that this is a yes, and it reinforces that kind of behavior. And listen, here's what I'll say, just high level, because this is meant just to spark this in you and get you going on your own path. There's no perfection with this.

But I'm going to offer this, there are three kinds of rewards: there's immediate, short term, and long term. And here's how I think about this. And I actually just heard this talked about in a way that it just lined up with exactly how I think about it. It's a guy named Demir Bentley, who is all over the place right now. He's in, all over, ads of me and my friends, and all of that. So, we had good conversations around the concepts that he's sharing. And I love that he's an evangelist for these concepts, because they're really important.

He feels similar to me, like near IL. I always tell you guys; I feel like he’s a brother from another mother. I kind of feel like that about this guy, too; his name is Demir Bentley. So, there's immediate rewards that you can implement. There are short term rewards, and there are long term rewards.

Now, I'm going to start with long term. Long term rewards are achieving the goal, in and of itself. There is such a win to that, it is a reward, in and of itself. But oftentimes, really big things we're working on, it takes a while. You have to stay focused and committed, in order to see it all the way through.

And so that's why along the journey, it's really important to build in rewards, acknowledgements, treats, along the way that are tied to the right behavior. And tied to hitting milestones, along the way to the bigger goal. So, the long-term rewards are the goal, achieving the goal, in and of itself.

Now, short term rewards are the Rocks. Completing your Rocks, those are the milestones that you need to hit. That is the thing you should reward, because it's the effort that you put forth, in order to take yourself and to be on track for your goals. So those, you should have some sort of acknowledgement, treat, or reward attached to the completion of those things.

And yeah, it's like a milestone along the way. Now, you can also attach them to numbers along the way, that are, it's like you're on track, you can tell. And so, certain numbers are being hit, on track to the ultimate number that you want to hit. I think that is something you should put a treat or a reward around, as well.

But you need to decide the stuff ahead of time, because you won't do it in the middle of the quarter. If you're anything like me, you just keep plowing through. And I see my clients do this all the time. You have to decide ahead of time when you're planning, what you have tied to each milestone or the completion of each Rock, as a reward for yourself, as an acknowledgment to say yes, good job.

And when you take a moment to do that, anytime you take a moment to reward yourself, you feel a sense of completion and pride. That's where dopamine gets to have its moment. Dopamine is a powerful neurotransmitter that affects the continuation of behavior.

And by the way, I mentioned Dr. Andrew Huberman for the sleep stuff, but he has a ton of good information on dopamine. I don't have any episodes, specific things, that I think you should listen to you. But if you go search Dr. Andrew Huberman, neurotransmitters, he breaks this information down, so it's digestible. And it feels like knowledge that will fuel, which is great.

Anyway, dopamine, powerful neurotransmitter. And so, anytime you feel a sense of pride and completion, that is when dopamine will hit, and it continues to become a motivator to move in the same direction. Knowing that it is important, like I said, ahead of time, to decide how you're going to reward certain milestones and or completion of Rocks.

And then… So, those are the short-term rewards. Then, backing up one more type of reward, is the immediate rewards that you're going to give yourself. And immediate rewards, are rewards for behavior that you exhibited that you want to keep up. It's the more in-the-moment stuff that matters, that is moving the needle.

You know, we talk a lot about, we make these strategic plans, we set goals we set Rocks, and then week to week, Monday Map / Friday Wrap, is a process that members and clients are expected to practice, so that they line themselves up with it, in terms of how they spend their time.

Now, if they spend their time the way they had it planned on the calendar, then it's all good. They keep putting one foot in front of the other. And the goal, reaching the goal and the completion of Rocks, is inevitable. And that behavior, that makes the hitting of the goals and the Rocks inevitable, needs to be rewarded. So, that you stay with it, you keep going with it, you keep exemplifying and modeling that behavior, you keep operating in a way, day-to-day, that makes hitting the goals and the Rocks inevitable.

And so, having rewards attached to things that you are trying to actively shift for yourself, you're trying to create a new habit, a new way of operating, then you should have rewards for when you do it well. And, when you do it right. And that will help you create the habit, or that new way of operating, much more quickly.

So, here's how you can think about this. Immediate rewards, that you decide ahead of time, and that you get, in moments to reward behavior you're trying to shift, form habit loops; it forms new habits. And those habit loops, those new habits, those new ways of operating, the new ways of being, is what lends itself to the completion of your Rocks, to hitting your milestones. And that, there should also be these short-term rewards attached to.

So, you are rewarding yourself for the behavior shifts, and for showing up in the ways you want to show up, in a more microscopic level. And then, you have short-term rewards for when you hit the milestones or Rock completion. And then, that makes it inevitable that you are going to hit your goal, because you're doing all the things you need to do. And you're showing up in the ways you need to show up, so that you inevitably hit the long-term goal. And that, in and of itself, is a reward.

Now, knowing this, you have to think through for yourself; what are your immediate rewards that you will have? And what are the short-term rewards you want to attach to completing your Rocks and achieving milestones along the way to the goal?

Advice, that actually… This was not something I had thought of until I heard Demir Bentley talk. Like this is the thing that made me love Demir Bentley. He talks about how, if you can make the activity the reward itself, we're talking about the immediate rewards, if you can make the activity the reward itself, then it's like a reward on steroids. And, I thought about this.

And so, I'm thinking about Monday Map, right? Like, I sit down every week to do Monday Map. And if you want to be the kind of person that sits down every week to do their Monday Map, and to do it well, and do their Friday Wrap, and you aren't currently doing it consistently. For whatever reason you push it off, you procrastinate, you half-ass it, whatever the scenario is for you.

And, I'm just using Monday Map as an example; how can you make the activity of doing Monday Map a reward, in and of itself? I got creative and I started thinking about how I could do this. And so now, in the future, I have had this planned out, I can't start yet, but soon, on the calendar, is for me to start doing Monday Map at a beautiful space, that I love, downtown Denver.

Like, I'm going to go there. And I'm going to sit down, and I'm going to do my Monday Map. And that's at a hotel called the Maven, and it feels fun, there's a coffee shop right there. There's food right there. The environment is not too loud, but interesting and lively. And it feels really good to be in that space.

That would make Monday Map more fun. So, I'm going to start doing that, and I think I'm going to start meeting a friend there, to do it with me. And that is an example of how you can turn it into a reward itself. Something that you look so forward to, that you're not going to not do it. Because you're going to show up for that, because of how good it feels to be in it.

I know someone else, who they do it with a buddy, and then they go to brunch afterwards. And then, I know someone else who, last year, I don't know if he still does this, but last year, every Friday, he would have… He had a really beautiful view from his office in Maine. And he would have a bourbon and watch the sun set. And that's when he would do it for the next week. Like that, that is a reward, in and of itself; that's a sacred space. There's a bit of a ritual around it.

So, how can you do that for yourself? How can you make the environment enticing, so that you don't want to miss it. And when you can make the activity a reward itself, or a part of a reward, automatically that can really be helpful for getting you in a groove that you want to be in.

Now, the other type of immediate reward that you can do, is something that we used to call, at the consulting firm I used to work at, a “bell ringer” incentive. A bell ringer bonus, so to speak. You know, there's times where something goes really well and, in a business, they'll ring the bell. But how can you, at the end, have like a bell ringer kind of reward? That can be small but meaningful, a bit ritualistic.

Something I'm going to play around with, for myself, just to give you ideas, is I have a playlist of just like four or five songs, that when I'm done with Monday Map, I'll have my earbuds in because I'll be in a public space and working on my stuff. So, I'll probably be listening to some music that keeps me focused. But then at the end, I'm going to turn on a song, that is a song that to me, represents fun and celebration, and badass-ery, and, you know, whatever.

So, I have a few songs. They're all hip hop and rap, except I think there's one 80’s song that I have down in there, I can't remember exactly what it is. But I already made the playlist, so I know what I'm going to play. And that'll be at the end, that will signify a completion. And that signal is important for your brain. There is something to that; how can you signal, with something fun and electrifying, at the end that helps solidify you’re done. It helps solidify that sense of completion; that matters.

That is a reward that you are giving yourself. And I'm saying that. even if you don't see it as a reward, your brain does recognize it as a reward. So, play the game that your brain is playing, because that is what's driving the bus here. And you want to use your brain, not let it use you.

So, I've used Monday Map to show you an example of what immediate rewards could look like. And I think creating the environment, if you can make the environment itself, or the activity itself, part of the reward because it's so great, then you set yourself up to win. And if you have a bell ringer, reward, or treat, or acknowledgement, that can be really powerful, as well.

It just needs to be something that queues up completion, like it signals to you, done. That is the kind of thing that you want to attach to the end of it. And that could be anything; it could be a high-five with the person you're with, it could be a ‘cheers’ with a mimosa if you go to brunch, it could be anything you want.

But, how are you going to choose to signal completion, in a way that feels like a treat, or an acknowledgement? I think Demir Bentley also has another way that he describes the bell ringer reward, I just can't remember what he calls it. But it's the same kind of thing. That's why I feel like he’s my brother from another mother. He thinks in the same ways, which is so, so fun when you see that out in the world.

Okay, well, that's the deal with rewards. And I hope you can see for yourself that the immediate, and the short-term rewards are very micro focused. Meaning, you know, macro is more strategic planning for the quarter and beyond. And you work backwards to figure out the big milestones for the quarter. But then, it's time to put your head down and work. You need to stay micro with the stuff you said you were going to do in the quarter.

So, there should be rewards for the micro stages. Some of those will be immediate, so that you can reward behavior that you want to shift. And listen, if you want to shift like everything, don't do that. You need to constrain down to what you actually want to shift. And if there is like one or two things, top of mind, that you want to make a habit, you want to make just a part of who you are and what you do, then you're going to have to choose those things to put rewards around immediately.

So, the environment needs to match, in terms of reward or treat or to make it better, and there needs to be some sort of, at the end, treat or reward to cue completion in your brain. And there's the immediate there, on the micro level, and then also in the micro… So, in the quarter, having rewards attached to the milestones that you are going to be hitting along the way, completion of Rocks and/or certain numbers that signify you're on track for the bigger number.

And deciding this ahead of time, when you are planning for your quarter, is very important, because you won't do this in the middle of the quarter, it will get shoved to the side. And if you do plan this ahead of time, and you build it into, it's just what is going to get done, it makes everything more enjoyable, more fun.

It doesn't mean the quarter is going to be easy. So, when I say fun, I don't mean cakewalk. It just allows you to lift your head, acknowledge what you're doing, the work that you're doing, and enjoy the journey more. Because the more that you can really be in it, and find joy in pieces of it, and experience the dopamine that needs to happen, in order to keep you going, in all the great ways.

Then, you play this game and it makes it more fun. It's like gamifying it. So, my advice is to, yes… The reminders at the beginning, which I told you about. Which, by the way, you can make that, if that's something you want to start doing, and that's how you want to operate, you want to read reminders every morning that you have written, then attach a reward to that.

What's the environment going to look like, that you are going to read them in? And, how do you signal completion after doing it? Every single day, how do you signal completion? What does that look like? How can you make that fun, and light hearted, and enjoyable, and in a way that cues completion?

The reminders. We talked about rest; we talked about it in terms of leisure time, personal time, free time, but then also, sleep. Rest needs to be taken into consideration so that you aren't burning yourself out. And rewards need to be taken into consideration, so that you are reinforcing what you want to see more of.

All of this, all of the things we talked about here today, reminders, rest and rewards. If these are taken into consideration during planning, not just you're supposed to remember in the middle of the quarter, during planning, if all of these things are taken into consideration, then you will experience more Velocity on the way towards your goal.

And not in a way that feels scary and speeds everything up. No, it's just you are moving with efficiency and more ease towards the goal. These are the things that matter. So please, when you're planning, take these things into consideration, and figure out how to bake them in. Make decisions ahead of time on what needs to be decided upon, so that those just happen, and you don't have to use a lot of cognitive load in order to make those happen throughout the quarter. This is an important part of planning.

Alright everybody, that's what I've got for you with reminders, rest, and rewards.

See you next week.

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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