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Most lawyers are pretty good at prioritizing their clients, and allocating their time among them in some fashion that reflects clients’ relative importance, need and urgency. All except their most important client, that is. So, who is your most strategically important client?

While respecting your obligations to your firm and your roster of clients, I’ll argue that it’s yourself. You are Chairperson of Yourself, Inc., fully responsible for your success or failure. How could any external client be more important than Yourself, Inc.?

Let’s say that your biggest external client’s top goals are

  1. to grow revenue by 20%

  2. change their product mix to invest in those with the greatest upside; and

  3. add key talent for the future.

If your goal is to help the client accomplish those things, would you set aside no time for this task, trusting that somehow you’ll find "extra" time to pay attention to these issues? You’re either laughing at the absurdity of the thought, or aghast at the mental image of how your external client would regard you.

Many of you have similar growth goals for Yourself, Inc., yet appear to attach low priority to this client, and allocate little or no time, resources or thought to its growth.

Shouldn't we move your top client farther up your priority list?  Here’s how:

  • Establish a weekly time budget to invest consistently in this strategic account.

  • Create 30- and 60-minute appointments with yourself equal to the weekly total.

  • Place them in your weekly calendar in some logical way, but don’t pay too much attention to where they are; you’ll end up moving them.

  • When you do your weekly planning, fill in all the time blocks with considered activities, and move each to the day/time that seems logical for it.

  • The rule is: you can move blocks around during the week, but you can’t cancel them. You can only shift a maximum of one block to the next week.

Honor these appointments with yourself as you would with any external client, and you’ll begin to serve yourself as well as you’re used to serving them.

Mike O’Horo

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