Time Management: Even Successful Attorneys Need Help
Many people associate ADHD with childhood learning disabilities. Few understand that, until one learns the skills necessary to address particular needs, ADHD often sabotages work and career success. Coaching is a way to learn new skills within the context of a safe and supportive relationship.
Bob was in his mid sixties when we began working together. He was terrified when he first called, as he had just been written up and put on “probation” at the large and prestigious law firm where he had worked for over a decade. Bob’s immediate challenges were in the area of time management. Though he had extraordinary strengths in creating and maintaining relationships with extremely high-end clients, his abilities to manage his time to meet the needs of his impressive number of clients and simultaneously complete the billing practices necessary at the law firm were in need of serious help.
It was easy to understand why Bob was struggling with time management and billing documentation. Once Bob detailed his overall responsibilities as well as the billing practices required at law firms, it became evident that multitudes of executive functioning skills were required to do his job well.
I asked Bob to describe how he spent his time each workday. It was immediately clear that much of his time was taken up by meeting other people’s needs. As an empathic person, the same qualities that allowed him to create and maintain relationships with his clients were undermining Bob’s ability to manage time and remain on task.
Bob was extremely responsive to the needs of others. He took telephone calls and responded to emails willy-nilly. Bob loved mentoring and was readily sought out by younger colleagues. A quick analysis of his daily schedule revealed a lack of planning as well as far too much time and energy spent on these tasks.
We created a system for addressing emails and telephone calls. Bob responded to these the first thing each morning, immediately after lunch, and just before leaving the office every evening. He was open to meeting with younger colleagues at particular times each week and kept his interactions to limited amounts of time. Finally, we created a billing log for Bob to complete while working on cases and a time at the end of each week when he would transfer this information to the proper format for his firm.
After some time and with much courage, willingness, tenacity and effort, Bob was removed from probation.
I was honored to work with such a brilliant, successful client and so happy to see him flourish in his career.