We are now living through the snow day of all snow days! Even if you or your family’s health has not been affected by the coronavirus (and I hope it hasn’t), surely every other aspect of your life has been turned upside down. For most of us, there have been great disruptions at work (at a minimum, projects put on hold, meetings and court appearances postponed, employees working remotely).
These disruptions can impact our productivity in many ways. For me personally, I’ve been moving meetings on-line, stocking up at BJs, dealing with elderly parents, helping my daughter who is studying abroad to navigate her early return, etc. But with every crisis, there are also opportunities. So here are a few things to consider as we get used to the new normal:
- In ordinary times, self-care is important. In times like these, it is critical. Make time for exercise. If going to the gym isn’t possible, there are lots of workout regimens you can follow on YouTube from the comfort of your own living room. If that is not your thing, try jogging, walking or bike riding. Personally, I like power walking because it allows lots of time to listen to podcasts. While it isn’t quite the same as going to the gym, it’s still an important part of my own self-care. Use the time you are no longer commuting to pursue a hobby or read the book that has been sitting on your night table for 3 months.
- If you haven’t already taken up meditation, now may be a good time. Aside from the health benefits of meditation, mindfulness can improve your ability to focus in stressful situations. There are lots of apps on the web. Some are subscription based and some are free. I like 10 Percent Happier. I’ve heard good things about Headspace.
- If you find yourself with more time on your hands, this is a great opportunity to beef up your on-line presence. Does your LinkedIn profile need work? Have you been putting off updating the bio on your firm’s website? Do you project a clear message about what differentiates you from other attorneys? Do you have representative examples of matters you have worked on and industries or types of individuals who you have served? Does someone visiting your website get to know anything about what it is like to work with you? Are there testimonials to support this? Here are a couple of related blog posts for your consideration (Starbucks Sells More than Coffee Redux and What Lawyers Put in their Bios vs. What Clients Look For).
- How About Adding a Podcast to Your Legal Marketing Toolkit or starting a blog (or contributing to your firm’s blog)?
- Pull together a workshop or presentation you can deliver when things get back to “normal” (or put together a webinar which you can deliver now). Think about common questions that your clients ask and use that as the subject matter.
- Find alternative ways to connect. I’ve long been a proponent of getting out of the office. Building your own practice requires you to build your relationships with clients, potential clients and referral sources. While going virtual makes this harder, it doesn’t make it impossible. With tools like Zoom, FaceTime and Skype, connecting virtually has never been easier and now is a great time to learn how to use them. Many of your clients may be feeling isolated. Rather than checking up on them by phone or email, try setting up a session on Zoom. ProVisors , a great business networking group, is doing that very successfully. I’ve already been to two virtual meetings that worked well. One had 30 attendees.
- Take a step back to reflect on whether you are leading the professional life you want to lead. Talk to me or another career coach. Take stock in whether your firm is the right platform to grow your practice or whether you want to be in a law firm at all. Try one of my self-assessment tools (A Career Audit for Associates or 20 Questions For Law Firm Partners).
A crisis like COVID-19 can be a major distraction from achieving our personal and professional goals. The best way to survive the crisis is to look for the opportunities.
Personally, I’m looking forward to growing my familiarity with Zoom. I’m hoping to use the tool to reach out to people in my network who I have not had time to meet in person. I also hope to queue up some more marketing collateral which I’ll be ready to deploy as the world comes back to life.
If you want help thinking through any of this, I’m always happy to hear from you. I always enjoy speaking to lawyers about their marketing or their careers. Most importantly, if you are feeling isolated, find ways to connect with friends, family and colleagues. When this is all over, you will be better positioned to build your practice and progress in your career.