Over the years, at this time of year I have given presentations and written blog posts on making the next year your best ever. Here’s a list of my ideas for 2016.

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  1. Write down what you want to accomplish in 2016 and estimate the number of non-billable hours you plan to spend.
  2. Prepare a plan so you use your non-billable time wisely. 2016 Business Plan.
  3. Divide your estimated non-billable hours by 50 and create a plan each week. At the end of the week give yourself a report card on how well you spent the time.
  4. Decide on one area to learn that will enable you to be a more effective lawyer in your field. One year, I decided  to focus on communication to juries. I bought every book I could find, listened to every tape, and read every article on the subject.
  5. Read or listen to one book a month on success, client development or other topics that will make you more effective. (Contact me if you have a topic). When reading the books, actually implement two-three things suggested.
  6. Figure out ways to bolster your energy. It is one of our two most valuable resources. Someone once said to me that a law career is a marathon. I replied that to be successful, it is better if it is a series of sprints with time to recapture our energy in between.
  7. Think of ways to apply the 80-20 rule. Let me give you examples so you can think about it. Twenty percent of the things we do create or cause eighty percent of our success. What is that twenty percent for you? Eighty percent of a typical lawyers business comes from twenty percent of his or her clients. Which of your clients generate eighty percent of your business?
  8. Get more face time with clients and prospective clients. One of the lawyers I coach has discovered that each and every time he meets with a client in person he comes away with a new matter either right then or shortly thereafter.
  9. Write down a description of you that would tell me all I need to know about you to recommend that a potential client hire you. Why am I suggesting this? First, if you do not know why a client should hire you, the clients clearly won’t know either. Second, this will cause you to think about your elevator speech. How many times have you met people who ask what you do? Telling them you are a litigator, or a corporate lawyer, or a tax lawyer may be absolutely accurate, but it will not likely get you very far. You need to be remarkable.
  10. Last, and certainly not least, write down what you want to do in 2016 just for the fun of it. Don’t make it a competitive activity.