Some time ago I read an article titled: “The Big Secret to Success in Anything You Do.” The secret: the ability to concentrate.
In other words, the ability to focus all of your mental powers on one important task until that task is completed and completed well.
When I was a younger lawyer it was really easy to stay focused on the work I was doing for a client. That was before I had a computer at my desk, received 200 plus emails a day and had a Blackberry to make sure I could stay connected 24/7.
I was on a team at our firm trying out the first Blackberries. My first one was quite small about the size of a pager. I remember thinking how incredibly cool it was when I received an email from a client while eating dinner with our daughter. My client was amazed I was at work so late. Little did he know.
When I first docked my new Blackberry to my computer, I remember working at my desk and hearing a buzz from my docked Blackberry signaling the arrival of a new email. I frequently turned my head to the computer screen, read the summary and then frequently read the entire email and responded. Does that sound familiar?
You likely experience being in the zone occasionally. I certainly experienced it when in court trying a case. The most successful lawyers experience it every day and you should strive to achieve it every day.
How can you experience the lawyer equivalent of being in the zone? I love a quote from Peter Drucker:
What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it, that’s another matter.
How to be focused is relatively simple. First, get your mind focused on your clients. When you put yourself in their world, you will be better able to anticipate your clients’ needs before they have expressed them. You can really differentiate yourself from other lawyers when you are looking ahead in that way.
Second, stay focused on the work you are doing for the client. To be focused on your work, you have to stop doing several things at the same time, like opening emails and responding, or chatting with someone who interrupts you.
If staying focused is a challenge for you, come up with a system that will work for you.