I’m up bright and early this morning for the long and stressful trek through security and US Customs in Montreal. Even though I have Nexus and Global Entry, it took a long time this morning.

Last night I dined at my hotel Le Germain. The restaurant is called Laurie Raphael. My waiter recommended the Cod. When it arrived I was struck by two things. First, how small it was for the money and second, how tasty it was.

In the US, we seem to think if whatever we order doesn’t cover our entire plate, we have not gotten our money’s worth. That’s not true in Canada, especially in Montreal. For the first time in many meals out, I had room for desert when I finished my main course.

Charging based on the quality of the meal rather than the quantity of the meal would be a novel concept in most US restaurants. Maybe it would be like a law firm charging based on the quality of its work rather than the number of hours it took to do the work.

Enough musing on fine dining and billable hours.

Yesterday, at the end of my lunch presentation, a law firm partner and father of three children approached me and told me that he was exhausted at the end of most days after working on billable work, and trying to spend quality time with his children.

Believe me, I get it. I have heard many times:

Cordell, I’ve been so busy and I want to be there for my children. So, I have not been able to find time for client development.

I recommended that the lawyer read a book called The Power of Full Engagement written by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.

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When a partner and I started our own firm in 1983, I knew I could never be too busy for client development. I rarely knew what I might be doing six months out. So, I was constantly planting seeds that I hoped would develop later.

In this post, I will share with you three noted experts’ approach to time management.

Noted author Carl Sandburg once said:

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how well it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.

He wrote that long before the Internet, email and other current potential distractions.

Over the years, bar associations and law firms have asked me to do a program called “Time Management: Making Time for Client Development.”

In the presentation, I  included a discussion on time and energy management and shared ideas I learned from books by Stephen Covey, David Allen and Jim Loehr.

Each author approaches the subject in a slightly different way. I have read their books and listened to their presentations. I have found each approach valuable.

Time is Money


When I made the presentations, I found a report on the effectiveness of coaching programs using each approach.

I planned my week around my roles as Stephen Covey suggested. I used David Allen’s approach to next actions. I set physical/economic, mental/learning, emotional/relationship, and spiritual/values goals based on Jim Loehr’s four sources of energy.

Take a look and decide which approach will work best for you.

One final thought: One way to make time for client development is to eliminate wasted time.

How much time do you waste each day on things that really do not matter? You might be opening and responding to unimportant emails, doing things that could be delegated, searching for things in your office.

If you saved just 30 minutes a day, that would be 182 1/2; hours for a year. Suppose you used that time for client development or your own development, what do you think would happen to your career?