If you are in my inner circle, you know that I have been dreading February 2020 for months. I have even been calling it Dread-u-ary. Why? I have not one, not two, but THREE trials scheduled for the month. Ok Wendy, you are a lawyer, duh, that is your job . . . Here is the thing folks . . . I settle almost every case I touch. I pride myself on saving my clients the emotional headache and financial pain of trial. I estimate that I have about one “BIG” trial per year and the rest we plow through and get our act together and sign on the dotted line without having to actually step foot into the courtroom.
But not this February. Somehow I have 3.
Trials are not only exhausting for clients . . . they emotionally tax us lawyers too. When we are in “trial mode” we put everything else on hold (including our own families) and eat, breathe, think, LIVE of what we need to do, say, and show in the courtroom. It creeps into our every waking (and dreaming!) thought. It creeps into our brains when we are in the middle of conversations with our spouse, trying to play with our kids, eating dinner, working out, showering, putting on makeup, driving down the road, catching up with a friend. It is ever present.
I found myself falling into a trap this month. I thought well, if I could just also tackle my e-mail inbox first thing every morning, I will have a headstart on the day and get in “more” work and “more” prep and just do MORE. Surely by doing “more” I will be a super woman, super mom, super lawyer.
After about 10 days of that nonsense, I was wiped, done, tired, snippy, sad, anxious, not myself, “needing” wine and chocolate every night . . . Each morning I was waking up worse than the next.
I asked myself what is GOING ON?! Why can’t you pull out of this? Get your act together! But, by 830PM, I just didn’t give a hoot. I was so spent, I just couldn’t muster the energy to actually try to care.
Luckily, over the last 4 years, I have read a lot of books, listened to a lot of podcasts, and surrounded myself with like-minded friends and I thought OK, Wendy, think back . . . what is going on? What small steps can you do to get back into you?
E-Mails. E-mails are killing me.
I wasn’t protecting my morning headspace. My favorite part of the day. I was starting it all wrong by opening up my work emails before I even got out of bed. I was letting myself get emotionally whammied before my feet touched the floor. I started feeling stressed out before I set out to begin the BEST part of my day.
But wait, go back further.
I was wrecking my headspace by going to bed too late and with sugar and wine in my bloodstream. Not good.
So, I started a new plan:
- Wake up. Do not LOOK at email.
- Switch my AM, so I START with my gogo juice (my pre-workout) instead of coffee. (I noticed that if I wait too long to workout, those suffer too).
- Sit in a chair (away from my computer); do my 5 Minute Journal; read a chapter of my book. Check in with my challengers. DO NOT CHECK WORK EMAIL.
- Workout. Be intentional. If I began to drift away, I refocused IN. Do not check work email mid workout (yes, yes, I am guilty of that!!)
- If the kids are still asleep when I am done, work on all things related to my health and fitness business. Do NOT check work email!
- Spend time with kids and get them ready. Be present. Do NOT check work email!
- Get ready. Do NOT check work email!
- Get kids to school. Do NOT check work email!
- Get to work. THEN check email. THEN plow into work.
- Come home. Do not sit on the couch. If I am tired, go (the f) to sleep. Do NOT check work email before I lay down my head.
Yes, I need to constantly remind myself of this. I need to give myself a HARD no. It is not “easy” but it is necessary.
By letting myself have my morning, I am not only gifting myself “me” time. I am protecting my headspace. In turn, this makes me a more focused lawyer when I am in the office.
In just about 3 days of doing this, I have changed my mood around. Am I still stressed? Course :). Trial would stress anyone out! BUT! I am pushing off that stress each morning. I am relegating it to the time I am AT work. I am allowing myself the GIFT of my morning routine. I am allowing a safe place in my head space.
So, ask yourself. What tweaks can you make to your morning so you protect your headspace? What can you give up? What can you replace?