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Answering the Question “How Do I Find the Time”?

The New Year is here, and with it comes the promise of new beginnings and possibilities. It is a time for setting resolutions and crafting ambitious plans for the year ahead.

And what do we all know? Making plans and setting resolutions is swiftly followed by the challenge of implementation when the deluge of day-to-day work resurges.

As one lawyer asked me recently: “How do I find the time?

An excellent question. How do we find the time when we are in a scramble of managing a myriad of emails, client needs, and administrative tasks piling up around us?

The key to unlocking your ability to implement comes in three parts: a framework, a routine, and attention.

The framework comes from Breanna Dyck and her partner Jill Joevenazzo, founders of Visionary CEO Academy.

They have developed a simple and useful conceptual framework for the roles you play in your life. There’s the Visionary you, the CEO you, the Manager you, and the Implementer you.

Your inner Visionary focuses on the big picture. This part of you asks deep questions such as what impact you are seeking to make? What do you want for your professional life? Your personal life? What is most meaningful and important to you?

Your CEO self focuses on strategy. What is going to be most effective in helping you advance your goals? What is going to help you move towards your vision?

Your inner Manager focuses on how you are carrying out your work. What can you do to improve efficiencies? Where do you need to set your priorities?

The Implementer is the doer. This is a role that draws most of our focus and time each day.

As Dyck said in a presentation I attended recently: “you need to make time for speaking with each of these roles.”

This dialogue can take the form of a meeting you hold with yourself on a regular basis.

I recommend a personal planning meeting once a week. This is an opportunity for your Manager role to take the lead to ensure the Implementer you gives focus and attention to the priorities. This is a practical exercise for looking ahead at what is coming up, noticing the holds ups and what is stalled, and developing a simple plan for the week.

These planning sessions are also an opportunity to engage with your Visionary self and the CEO. It takes but a moment to connect with the vision you have set long term and for the year ahead. Next comes some reflection about strategy. Are your investments having the desired result? What is going well? What is challenging? Are adjustments needed?

The Manager can then take over and start planning the next steps.

By intentionally creating space in a regular planning meeting for checking in with each of these roles, questions are asked, progress is tracked, and action is planned and taken.

Here’s an example from my own life. I have held a vision for many years of wanting to help, through my work, to make a legal career one lawyers recommend to their kids.

When I checked in with my inner Visionary over the summer in a meeting with my coach, I realized this vision was still significant for me. Still, the CEO in me recognized my one-to-one coaching practice hadn’t had the impact I was seeking.

The CEO in me could see that a new strategy was called for. Namely, taking on a project that would help tangibly advance this vision.

Out of this visioning and strategy session came a decision to launch a group program for junior lawyers – AMP (Associate Mentoring Plus) Club.

The Manager in me got quickly to work on developing an implementation plan. To-do list in hand, I got to work on carrying out the project and successfully launched the first cohort of AMP Club on October 15.

The bottom line is to get clear about your priorities. Create a planning routine for engaging with your inner Visionary, CEO, and Manager to set goals, choose your strategies, and plan how you want to take action. Break the insights into actionable next steps and get these on your to-do-list, and implement—one small step at a time.

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