Getting IT Done

Here are three steps when facing that “big hairy beast of a task” on your trial prep “to do” list that up ’til now have simply been moved from one day’s list to the next. Use these good, sound strategies when what needs to be done is the task you do best: draft an opening statement, or read a final witness outline, or rehearse your closing argument.

  1. Physically locate yourself in the place that is most conducive to the task at hand for a set amount of time. Commit to the time allotment. EVEN if you don’t get it done in that slot, dedicate the time (a 90 min session) in that place (small conference room) slightly out of the way of traffic so that those friendly colleagues who regularly stop by to chat are less likely to do so. This will definitely move you in the right direction and be worthy of checking something off your list;
  2. If you think you want to spend 90 minutes on one task, you need to block off that time plus another half that on your calendar. Define and schedule appointments for other the smaller items because after all everything on your list takes time. Ask yourself if you are being realistic about how much time the task takes.This does two things: it enables you to mark progress and take on tasks like “complete big hairy beast of a task.”
  3. Lastly, it is optimal, if not always possible, to allow for and plan reflection time before you sign off on the task – creating  this “white space” is like your own little dress rehearsal. So, when you get to the end of the allotted time, take more than a moment, make a fresh cup of whatever is your pleasure (black coffee, piping hot for me), and dig into the task like a beginner. Be the leader you are, reviewing your and your team’s work.

Using these strategies will help you check IT off the list; and, you will also experience the joy of a task well done.