Do This 1 Thing To Manage Remote Professionals Effectively

If you want to keep your remote professionals engaged, happy and productive then you need to focus on the results you want – not the time they work.

Focus your management (and leadership) on the outcomes you need the employees to achieve to accomplish your goals. This gets everyone in alignment.

And you will avoid all of the downsides of old-school management focused on physical presence and face time.

Start by reaching an agreement on how you’re going to measure success unrelated to the hours it takes to get there. The word “agreement” is critical because simply transmitting your “expectations” doesn’t achieve the meeting of the minds you need.

Now, you might be thinking that you need a simultaneous physical presence for things to work well. And you might be right – for some things. But the truth is that asynchronous work can be more effective if you do it properly.

I invite you to:

  1. Start managing your professionals based on outcomes and objectives – not time.
  2. Think critically about which work tasks must be synchronous remote, asynchronous versus in person.

These changes are not easy – but they are essential.

A good coach will guide you through this process to you get results faster, and with less pain.

If you’d like help with that, just CLICK HERE and let’s talk.


Doug BrownDo This 1 Thing To Manage Remote Professionals Effectively
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Essential Quarterly Questions for Success

Can you believe it? We’re in the last week of the 3rd Quarter!

That makes today the perfect day to stop and check in on how you’re doing on your roadmap for the quarter.

This short and simple exercise gives you a greater sense of control and certainty for the weeks ahead. If you invest just 30 minutes to work on these 3 questions you will also greatly improve the chances that you actually reach your goals for the quarter and upgrade your income.


Turn to a new page in your handy notebook and write down your answers to the 3 questions below. The act of physically writing out your thoughts, either in bullet points or sentences will help you remember and get into action. It will also be a handy reference when you do this again in 6 weeks.

1) What has worked really well for me in the last 6 weeks?

2) How am I doing on my cash flow and time/productivity goals?

3) What can I improve in the next 6 weeks?

Answering these 3 questions will allow you to celebrate your wins, and to course-correct to make sure you achieve your goals for the year!

And if you’d like the “TL;DR” version – and how to do it – keep reading.

Read on to learn more …

Ok, you’re still here.

1) What has worked really well for me in the last 6 weeks?

Starting with your wins helps get you in the right state of mind – especially if you are not in the habit of celebrating as the wins come along.

If you’re struggling to find wins it might help to think of it in categories. You might use business categories like time & productivity, cash flow, clients, the team that supports you, your network, and your own well-being. You might also use personal categories like career, family, fun, relationships, community, or spirituality.

2) How am I doing on my cash flow and time/productivity goals?

This gets its very own question because these are the primary causes of stress for most attorneys and entrepreneurs. How has your cash flow and productivity been over the last 6 weeks? What do you need it to be in the next 6 weeks?

If you’re ahead of plan then don’t let up – see how much better you can do. If you are behind the plan, or you are unsure, then this is the time to decide what concrete thing you can do in the coming week to improve. Commit to working on that for 30 minutes in 3 of the next 5 days.

If your thing is getting more qualified cases then you might start with the referral strategy. Simply identify one person who has been a great referral source in the past. You can call them – on the phone. Have a conversation about what is going on in their business, and see if there is a way you can be of service to them. They will ask the same of you, and that will be your opportunity to share with them (or remind them) the profile of a good and qualified referral for you.

One of my clients did this and after a single phone call got 3 additional referrals. Just imagine what it could do for you if you make one of those calls each week for the next 6 weeks. Remember, you are not calling to ask for referrals – you are calling in the spirit of service to that person because the relationship is important.

If you are not sure how to describe a qualified referral then it is time to get busy working on that. Because if you can’t describe the referral you want then there is little chance that your people can deliver those referrals to you. If you’d like help with that just hit REPLY and we’ll find a time to talk.

3) What can I improve in the next 6 weeks?

You’ll probably have a lot here besides money and time. Most attorneys are so self-critical that this can be a pretty long list. That’s ok, for now. Let the thoughts flow so they are all right in front of you. Don’t get hung up on what didn’t work. Focus on what you can do to make it better. Then pick the top 3 things that you control, and block time to work on one of them each week for the next 3 weeks. Then repeat for the following 3 weeks. You’ll have a chance to review how you did at the end of the quarter.

You will get whatever you focus on. If you focus on problems you will get more of those. If you focus on opportunities and growth then you will get more opportunities and growth. So use the experience of the last 6 weeks to find the opportunities in the next 6 – and work on those.

Make it a great week this week!


Doug BrownEssential Quarterly Questions for Success
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FOMO is Real

What if there was a way to discover and overcome the hidden obstacles that are keeping you from growing your firm into exactly what you want?

And what if you missed it?

Perhaps you saw the opportunity and a voice in your head said you don’t have time to do it.

Here’s another chance.

This past Wednesday we revealed how to Overcome 5 Hidden Obstacles to Growing Your Law Firm.

We were so happy to see so many people attending – and to get great feedback on strategies we shared.

Here’s your link to view the replay.

I used to be in the same trap that makes it so hard for lawyers to grow their businesses.

The day-to-day grind was so intense that I’d lose perspective and motivation.

It was all I could do to “get through” the next thing and hope the next week, month, or year would be better.

Then I made the shift that we described in the webinar.

When I reconnected with my values and what I wanted to create in the world everything changed for me.

I just needed to give myself permission to do it – and a system to follow.

If you would like some of that just check out the replay here.

And don’t listen to the little voice in your head saying you don’t have time for this.

Doug BrownFOMO is Real
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High (Time) Anxiety

You’ve tried countless time management techniques and productivity strategies. Yet you still feel like you don’t have enough time – and that time is slipping away. The more you try to get better the worse it seems.

You might have time anxiety – the feeling that you never have enough time to meet your goals, or that you’re not maximizing the time you have. Time anxiety is a close cousin to productivity shame – that feeling you haven’t done enough.

Time anxiety isn’t another short-term spike in your already overloaded and stressed-out schedule. It is an emotional state that haunts you and causes procrastination on important tasks – and ultimately burnout.

You can’t just power through time anxiety.

It won’t get better by itself. Trust me on this one. To manage it you have to understand it and how it infects your thoughts.

Time anxiety shows up in a number of ways, including:

  1. Daily where you feel rushed, stressed, overwhelmed like there is not enough time in your day.
  2. Future where your brain obsesses about “what if’s” and all the things that might or might not happen.
  3. A life where you are anxious about the limited time you have to live your life – and you want to make the most before the finish line jumps out at you.

That’s a pretty daunting list. I know I’ve been in each of these places – sometimes all at once.

Here are a few strategies that have helped me get some relief from time anxiety:

Fix Your relationship with time

Lawyers have a really tough time with this because it seems our entire worth and value is tied to the billable hour. If you spend more time you are more valuable. If your billable rate is higher, you must be a better lawyer. Wrong. For most lawyers, your relationship and mindset about time is the first problem. So let’s accept some truths:

  1. Time exists, and it can’t be managed or controlled.
  2. You do control your energy, actions, and attitudes about time.
  3. Your value as a professional and a person is not time-centered.

Create a picture of time well spent

You get anxious about time when you feel like it is not well spent. But do you know what “well spent” is to you? Can you define it in advance – rather than just know it when you see it in the rearview mirror?

If you are like I was, your answer is probably “no”.

If you’d like to be in more control and cure some of that anxiety then make some time in your daily and weekly planning to visualize what “well spent” will mean when you review at the end of your day.

Get Real about your Production Capacity.

Do you believe that an eight-hour workday means you should expect eight hours of productivity?

How’s that working out for you?

When I started at a big firm we were expected to have 1,900 billable hours a year. Yeah, I know, your firm might expect a lot more. But let’s do the math. That’s 36.5 billable hours a week for 52 weeks a year. That is 7.3 hours per day in a 5 day week (or 5.2 in a 7 day week). This expectation alone sets you up for time anxiety and burnout – because our brains are just not wired for that kind of production.

Study after study shows that most people have, at best only 2.5 truly productive hours a day. So even if you are twice as better as average, you only have 5 hours a day – and that’s a stretch.

I don’t mean to increase your time anxiety. I only mean to make the point that you have to be really intentional about how you schedule your time and realistic about how much truly deep knowledge work you can expect to accomplish in a typical day – it’s probably 4 hours maximum, on a good day. So make sure you put the right tasks at the right time of day.

Don’t worry about maximizing time

This was a tough one for me. I always thought I should be making choices that gave the maximum benefit down the road. It was pretty stressful because I always felt anxious about whether I was making the right call, and whether it would limit my choices in the future. Of course, it did, but that’s not the point.

Psychologists have found that people who make choices according to a set of established, current criteria (what they call “satisficers”) make better choices with less stress and anxiety. To do that you need to be clear about the criteria that matter at the moment, and let them guide your actions.

This brings me all the way back to the importance of a healthy planning routine. But that’s a topic for another day.

You’ll have to work at curing time anxiety. And you need to be patient with yourself. Remember, you are trying to adjust a lifetime of embedded conditioning, and that takes – time.

If you’d like some help getting started just email me at and I’ll send you a free time management self-assessment.

Doug BrownHigh (Time) Anxiety
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Suffering is Optional

We see way too many lawyers suffering when it just isn’t necessary.

They have busy practices – often they are busier than ever. But they’re not happy.

They’re trying to be everything to everyone – all the time.

Without even realizing it, they’ve bought into the “no pain no gain” myth about building their practice.

And when they see the truth they know that suffering is optional.

Like Steve, who got more time to spend with his daughter once he learned how to structure and grow his construction law practice – without working more hours.

This is just one of the myths we’re going to bust in our free webinar masterclass where you will Discover 5 Hidden Obstacles to Growing Your Law Firm (and Exactly What to Do About Them)

It’s on Tuesday, September 21 @ 12 noon ET (9:00 am PT; 5:00 pm IST/BST).

Reserve your spot by going HERE now (and register even if you can’t attend the live training so that we can send you the replay.)

You’re going to walk away knowing exactly what to do to avoid the causes of unnecessary suffering when you’re trying to grow your practice.

You’ll get the same strategies that we teach to our executive coaching clients…strategies make life dramatically easier… and don’t take much time to implement.

You can still make 2021 the best year ever – and set yourself up for the extraordinary opportunities ahead.

Be ready.


Doug BrownSuffering is Optional
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The Lawyers Who Saw What Others Didn’t …

What if you could discover and overcome the hidden obstacles that are keeping you from growing your firm into exactly what you want?

And what if you could radically transform how you manage your law practice so you could make money when you are not working?

Would you want to know how to do it?

Well, we’ve got it.

We’ve been helping lawyers accelerate success for decades.

In that time, we’ve seen just about everything that gets in the way when smart, busy, and successful lawyers try to grow their firms.

Like Mary, who was so busy trying to keep up that she kept working longer and longer hours – just hoping to “get through” the crisis of the week.  Every time she tried to make a plan it felt like it blew up before the day even started. She knew something had to change but she couldn’t see what it was or where to start.

We taught her a few simple systems to take back control so she could work on increasing capacity without reinventing the wheel or making unnecessary mistakes.

This is just one of the things we’re going to share with you in our FREE masterclass where you will Discover 5 Hidden Obstacles to Growing Your Law Firm (and Exactly What to Do About Them). It is on Tuesday, September 21st at 12 noon ET (9:00 a.m. PT, 5:00 pm IST/BST).

We’re going to share the inside scoop so you can identify exactly what’s in your way and then know exactly how to blast through each obstacle. Just like we do with our private coaching clients.

Go HERE to register. (And register even if you have a conflict on your calendar so we can send you the recording).

You don’t have to accept what has always been.

This is a masterclass that you won’t want to miss.

Doug BrownThe Lawyers Who Saw What Others Didn’t …
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The Dog Catches Car Problem

You’ve worked really hard to get where you are.

Now you’ve got the work coming and you’re really busy doing the work you’ve always wanted to do – work that pays you well – if you could just get to it all.

You’ve started to get the help that’s easy to get – like outsourcing your bookkeeping and getting someone other than you to worry about your IT and your copiers – maybe even your phones.

But you need to do more if you’re going to keep up.

You might have the dog catches car problem. You know, where the dog finally latches on to the bumper of the car it was chasing only to wonder “… now what?!!”

If this sounds familiar then you’re ready to do more than just grow your practice. You’re ready to do something businesses call “scaling”.

When you simply grow you’re increasing revenue and resources (expense) at the same rate. That makes it difficult to make more profit – which is why you’re in business in the first place.

When you scale you’ll be adding revenue at a faster rate than you take on costs. Which means you get to keep more of the additional revenue as profit. And probably work less if that’s your choice.

To avoid the dog catches car problem you’re going to need to go even deeper in creating bulletproof systems and processes so your business can run without you needing to be everywhere all the time. When you do that your business can run without you – and you’ll still have the control you need.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for these kinds of systems. But there are common principles that work in virtually every firm.

You could spend the time learning how to scale all by yourself – and hope you get it right in time.

Or, you could follow the example of the world’s top athletes and enlist the help of an experienced guide to help you avoid hidden obstacles and accelerate your success.

If you’d like to know more about that just get in touch and we’ll talk.

Doug BrownThe Dog Catches Car Problem
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Calendar Blocks – The Missing Piece

Mike is always running late. No matter how hard he tries he can’t seem to stay on schedule.

He is using time blocks for his appointments. He is even leaving the all-important white space between blocks as a shock absorber to deal with unexpected things. He’s still running late.

Mike is missing one important piece of his calendar block system. This one additional step made all the difference for him. It gave him more control, and he was late less often.

The missing piece is to schedule the whole appointment – including travel and transition time.

Let’s say that Mike has a 9:00 a.m. court appointment. And it will take him (on a good day) 30 minutes to get to the courthouse, another 10 minutes to park and get to the courtroom and be ready. He expects it will take an hour and then he’ll be back at the office.

Mike’s calendar block should start at 8:10 to 11:00, and say “Hearing for X Matter, 9-10 am at <location>”. The 8:10 start gives him time to travel and get in position with a little buffer. The 11:00 a.m. ending time does the same. That is scheduling the whole appointment.

His scheduling SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) would be not to schedule other appointments within 15 or 30 minutes of an existing one – to make sure he’s got the flex he needs in the schedule. His assistant would know the SOP and have access to his calendar to help him stay on track.

You are free to implement this idea in whatever way works for you. For example, some of my clients prefer to have separate blocks for travel, transit, preparation, and follow-up around their appointments.

Be like Mike. Schedule the whole appointment.

Let me know how it works for you.


P.S… Keep track of how long you expect things to take and what you actually experience. This will help you make more accurate estimates for your calendar blocks.

P.P.S. … You might also like my guide to Tame your To-Do List – which explains my 7 Bucket system to make your time blocks even more effective. Click here to get your copy.

Doug BrownCalendar Blocks – The Missing Piece
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5 Things You Must Measure to Succeed

All successful businesses use quantifiable measures to track, monitor, and assess the success or failure of a specific business process. They are called metrics.

If you’re not using the right metrics, in the right way then:

  • You’re running your practice by guessing – which means you don’t really have any control.
  • You won’t be able to repeat the success you feel like you’ve achieved.
  • You won’t be able to tell if what you are doing is making things better or worse.
  • You will spend way too much time fighting fires and cleaning up messes.
  • You will not be able to prioritize effectively.
  • Your decisions will be sabotaged by feelings, anecdotal evidence, hearsay, and bias.

Ok, so you can probably agree that not having metrics is bad.

Here are the five types of metrics you need to be measuring in your practice.

Think of these as the dashboard on the car – back when dashboards had actual gauges and information and not just the idiot “check engine” light.

  1. The cost of serving a client, including client acquisition cost, direct costs, and overhead allocation.
  2. Profitability. You must understand the contribution of each matter to your bottom line to guide your decision-making on client and matter acquisition strategies. Make sure you understand this by timekeeper, client, matter, practice area, and firm.
  3. Marketing Expenses as a percent of revenue.
  4. Technology Expenses as a percent of revenue.
  5. Realization. This measures how much you make against how much you work, including: billed vs collected, discounts and write-downs, write-offs, and accounts receivable.

Metrics only work for you when you have simple ways to gather the information repeatable routines to review and respond to what you’re seeing. Establishing these habits takes time and effort. But once you’ve got it down you’ll be in complete control of your practice. And who wouldn’t want that?


P.S… I know how difficult it is to build these business processes while you feel like you are running at full speed hoping to just “get through” whatever the next thing is. I’ve lived it. So I can show you how to get there without unnecessary stress and stumbles. If you’d like to know more just reach out and we’ll talk.

Doug Brown5 Things You Must Measure to Succeed
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Sharpening the Saw

In his classic book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey describes the practice of sharpening your saw. He’s talking about the habit of working on maintaining and improving your skills and the tools you use in your business.

I know how hard it can be to slow down to do that when you’ve got so much going on. But it is possible. In this video, I share one of my routines to make sure I keep my saw sharp.

Please comment, like, or share.


Doug BrownSharpening the Saw
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