It’s Not Complicated. Simple is Better.

“Business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective.” ~ Warren Buffett

Simple is more effective.

One of the most simple practices I’ve used to take control of my business and my life in this is gratitude.

I used to think that gratitude was something that was satisfying or brought me joy.

Then I discovered I had it wrong.

Gratitude doesn’t come last. It can come first.

A gratitude practice can cause satisfaction, wellness, and joy.

Yeah, the business guy is talking about joy. But why not?

Don’t we deserve joy once in a while?

It’s not a spiritual thing

My gratitude practice has never been a spiritual or metaphysical quest for a higher state of being.

I started it on the advice of my coach at one of the lowest points in my professional life.

I figured, “what the heck, I’ve got nothing to lose”.

It was difficult at first. And after a while, I started to feel the difference.

Differences I later learned are supported by scientific studies, like:

  • Lower stress
  • Better ability to deal with overwhelm
  • Sleeping better (because it had become pretty elusive)
  • More focus to work my way out of the situation I was in
  • Improved resilience to roll with the punches
  • Improved relationships – which helped to lower stress.
  • Giving myself space to have fun – and appreciate it.

A gratitude practice is a really simple idea.

But it doesn’t mean it’s easy to adopt or maintain so you get the benefits I found.

Luckily the critical thinking skills that make you a successful executive can help you find the things you can be grateful for – even in the most difficult and unfortunate of times.

There are so many ways you can practice gratitude. Here are 4 simple steps to get you going.

  • Commit. Simple things don’t work immediately. The real benefits come over time through consistent practice. Be prepared for some immediate wins, followed by backsliding, and then more progress. You are learning a new skill and you’re bound to fall down – just like my kids when they learned to ski. Don’t give up.
  • Start, Imperfectly. Just start doing it. Right now. Take a deep breath. Think back on the last 24 hours. Identify a single thing you are grateful for. It could be a big thing, like a relationship, or something very simple. Don’t judge. Just identify. Keep it simple.
  • Write it down. Getting your thoughts into writing makes them real and out of your head – which is a pretty busy place where stuff gets lost. When you write it down you will process it and remember more effectively. This practice has helped me through some of life’s most stressful times – and to remember some of the most joyous. Use paper. Yes, paper. Writing things by hand requires more engagement of your brain and physical systems which makes it more effective. And if you don’t like paper, use a stylus and a handwriting app on your tablet (I use Penultimate with Evernote). Or type it. Just do it.
  • Share Your Gratitude. Make the effort to say “Thank You” regularly. It might be for little courtesies at the store or the delivery person. You could reach out and say thank you to a client for trusting you, or a referral source. Or a friend for just being there. What would it be like to make an intentional effort to say “thank you” in a sincere and genuine way, just three more times a day?

Prompts can help you get started if you are stuck. Here are some that I like and use:

  • People. Start with family and think of one individual person and one thing you’re grateful for about them or your time together. You can do the same thing for friends, clients, referral sources. The list gets pretty long when you think about it.
  • Places. Your home, or your community. Places you’ve traveled, vacations you’ve taken.
  • Moments. Something you are looking forward to. A happy or satisfying memory. A time when you turned around a difficult situation. It could be a simple as the place where you enjoy your morning coffee.
  • Your career. What you’ve accomplished. The people you’ve helped. What your job has allowed you to accomplish.
  • Yourself. Your knowledge, skills, and abilities. Your relationship. Your ability to learn and solve problems. Your energy, passion, and presence.

I am grateful for the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives and in the businesses of my clients – and the people in my world. Maybe even my dear readers, like you.

The best part is that the people I work with all have the ability to achieve their goals.

And I get to be their guide, to help them do the work and find simple solutions so they can live the life they were meant to live.

“You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. Once you get there, you can move mountains”. – Steve Jobs

How will you simplify this week?

Doug BrownIt’s Not Complicated. Simple is Better.
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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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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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One Giant Leap To Attorney Productivity Profit

You are building a successful law practice with happy clients.

It’s exactly what you were trying to do.

Except now you have so much going on that it feels like you’re playing “Whack a Mole” all day long.

No matter how hard you try – or how long you work – it feels like you can’t get caught up.

It isn’t like you haven’t tried.

You’ve taken more time management CLEs than you can count.

You’ve downloaded the tip sheets and bought the books.

You might even have paid for courses or programs that promise magical results.

Yet you haven’t yet cracked the code to get more done in less time and escape the time for money trap.

My private coaching clients are trying to solve these same problems.

They know they need a flexible and repeatable system that works for their unique situation. And they need to know where to start.

You might find yourself in the same situation. That’s why I’ve packaged up one of the tools I use for my clients for you to use in your practice. It’s called the 7 Bucket To-Do List | The First Step to Attorney Productivity and Profit. This is a step-by-step guide you can use to finally tame your to-do list.

Just click here to get your copy.

P.S. … By the way, I’m putting the finishing touches on a program to solve the 5 biggest obstacles to growing your law firm. And I want to make sure I didn’t miss anything – so I’d be grateful if you’d tell me what is the biggest thing keeping you from growing your firm. Just leave a comment below – or send me a private message and let me know. And, as a thank you, I’ll answer you back with a tip you can use to breakthrough.

Doug BrownOne Giant Leap To Attorney Productivity Profit
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What Fishing and Legal Marketing Have in Common.

Things business coaches think about when they are fishing: Like how it’s a lot like legal marketing. Tune in to see how. And if you’d like to know more about the system to find your “fish” just send me a message at

If you liked this video please subscribe to my channel, and let’s connect on LinkedIn


Doug BrownWhat Fishing and Legal Marketing Have in Common.
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When do you Hire more Attorneys or Staff?

Jessica runs a small and busy law practice in the Midwest. She’s at the point where she needs more help – but she’s not sure how to do it.

I’ve been helping her figure out what she needs and whether to outsource or hire part-time or full-time. It’s a pretty common conversation these days, especially for lawyers who are getting the hang of marketing to ideal clients.

The first step was to make sure her current staff is as productive as possible – which included mapping out what people are doing and how much time they have to do the work they are assigned.

She hadn’t seen the productivity calculation used before.

She thought it was pretty useful.

You might too.

When you’re mapping employee productivity start with 2080 hours.

That’s 52 weeks x 40 hours a week for a full-time employee.

Take 85% of that to get your maximum possible productivity: 1,768 hours (34 hours a week, 6.8 hours in an 8 hour day).

This accounts only for vacation time and regular productivity leakage for things like coffee breaks, arriving, departing, and the like.

You need to factor in that no human can work at maximum productivity all week, every week, for an extended period of time.

So we discount 1,768 by 20%, which is 1,414, or 27.2 hours/week or 5.4 hours a day – on average.

If your regularly scheduled activities – the actual work you need your team to do – is consistently more than this number of hours a week then it’s time to look for help.

The next step is to make sure that the stuff they are doing is a good use of their time. I’ll write more about that next time.

Have a great rest of the week


I will help you scale your practice profitably – so you can work less and make more money.

P.S. … Do you think you might be ready to add capacity to your practice – but you’re not sure what to do, like Jessica.  I can help. For a limited time, I’m offering a 1-hour, 1:1 review session to help increase the chances of making a profitable hire. To claim your spot just CLICK HERE to claim your time.

Doug BrownWhen do you Hire more Attorneys or Staff?
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Your Law Practice Swim Lane

My clients are determined to grow their practices. They are often tempted to move into practice areas well outside of their swim lane in search of a different kind of win. In this video, I share a story of one client’s situation and how we approach new opportunities based on what he wanted to create. Enjoy.


Doug BrownYour Law Practice Swim Lane
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It’s not Complicated… Simple is better.

You’re really busy with lots of really important stuff going on.

It all feels so complicated and precarious that it’s easy to believe that a simple solution won’t work.

In fact, our higher education leads us down a road of complexity when it just isn’t necessary.

Warren Buffett has observed that “Business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective.” 

Warren is right.

One simple practice makes things much better for me when I feel up to my you-know-what in alligators: gratitude.

Yes, gratitude.

For me, gratitude is a very specific, and practical business strategy.

Gratitude helped me pivot to try new things and eventually to start living the life I’d always wanted – but didn’t know how to find.

A simple 10 minute a day gratitude practice helped me

  1. Reduce stress & sleep better.
  2. Improve relationships with clients and referral sources.
  3. Increase creativity, engagement, and mental function.

Even when it felt like the wheels were coming off and I felt stuck.

These prompts can help you get started if you are stuck. Here are some that I like and use:

  1. People. Start with family and think of one individual person and one thing you’re grateful for about them or your time together. You can do the same thing for friends, clients, referral sources. The list gets pretty long when you think about it.
  2. Places. Your home, or your community. Places you’ve traveled, vacations you’ve taken.
  3. Moments. Something you are looking forward to. A happy or satisfying memory. A time when you turned around a difficult situation. It could be as simple as the place where you enjoy your morning coffee.
  4. Your career. What you’ve accomplished. The people you’ve helped. What your job has allowed you to accomplish.
  5. Yourself. Your knowledge, skills, and abilities. Your relationship. Your ability to learn and solve problems. Your energy, passion, and presence.

How will you simplify this week?

Doug BrownIt’s not Complicated… Simple is better.
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How To Avoid Collapsing at the Finish Line and Build Momentum Instead!

Have you noticed that time seems to pass more quickly as we age? Or maybe it’s just me.

We’re always coming up on a month-end, quarter-end, year-end, or some other big milestone.

It’s exhausting, right?

So it’s pretty tempting to give ourselves a break and coast over the finish line.

Unfortunately when you do that you can lose your edge and can make little mistakes that can have a big impact.

You can lose the momentum you need for the next period – or lose the race altogether.

My kids were ski racers through high school.

They were trained to accelerate through the last turn and power through the finish line – because the difference between a podium and 5th place was measured in hundredths of a second – even at the junior level.

The next time you’re coming up on a big milestone – which seems like all the time – use these tips to power through the finish and carry your momentum forward.

#1 Stay Focused

Maintain your focus on what you are trying to accomplish by the end of the year. Watch out for distractions or interruptions.

Cull through your to-do list and prioritize the items that will have the biggest impact this year – especially around maximizing revenue and cash flow.

If your list is like mine there are plenty of “nice to have” or “I’d love to get to” items that are not essential. They have waited this long so they can wait a bit longer.

#2 Commit to the Future You Really Want

Decide once and for all that you are finally done tolerating what doesn’t work and playing games or settling for table scraps.

Decide that this is the time you will begin achieving your potential.

You will build a great practice that you love.

You will make better time choices.

You will have less stress.

Create a vision for what you want your life and your practice to be like 12 months from now.

Get really specific – in Technicolor and Dolby Surround Sound (yes, I know I’m dating myself with those references). The more clear and specific your goal is the more likely you are to achieve it.

Once you’ve got the vision – break it down into specific, measurable, and achievable goals or milestones. Make it really concrete. But don’t get so hung up in creating the perfect plan that you don’t start. You need to be in action.

Once you have decided: Don’t waffle. Don’t equivocate. The future you will create for yourself cannot be a “should” it has to be a must. Once the decision is made. Once you have committed, you can be in action.

#3 Create Ambitious Deadlines.

If you really want to get something done you need a non-negotiable deadline. If you make it easy on yourself it won’t get done. A deadline gives you a tangible sense of urgency that will drive you to accomplish more than you thought possible. The end of a calendar year is a great non-negotiable deadline.

When you make the commitment to others then it takes away your wiggle room. When you set a tight deadline (like the end of the year) it creates a sense of urgency that you need to get into action. And that’s a good thing.

#4 Get Comfortable Saying “No”.

There is only so much of you to go around. If you are like most professionals I know then you are over-committed to things you are only marginally interested in – typically out of a sense of obligation to others.

Stop it. Stop doing things that do not serve you. Make “no” your default answer. I know that is easy for me to say, and difficult to do. That doesn’t make it less important. When you start saying “no” to others then you have more bandwidth to start saying “yes” to what matters.

Give yourself the freedom to make a “stop doing” list. If it doesn’t interest you. If it doesn’t have a direct and proximate correlation to achieving your goals then add it to the stop doing list. It will be a bigger list than you think. Even if you took just 1 or 2 things off that list you can probably save significant time and mental energy for what really matters.

#5 Get into Action – Massive Action

Once you have decided what you want to do then get going. There is no time to waste. You don’t need a perfect plan to start. You need to have an idea of where you want to go and the first and maybe second step to getting started. Then do it. Don’t just “dip your toe” in the water. Dive in and take massive action.

You’re probably trying to break years of habits of incrementalism or tolerating a less than optimum situation. The only way to do that is with massive focused and persistent action. You will probably stumble and fall. Most of us do. That’s not a reason not to be in action.

#6 Commit to Self Care.

Don’t wait until January 1st to (re)start your self-care routines. Sure, you’ll have some cheat days through the holidays, but there are still days to get good habits going. Get up at the same time each day, hydrate, meditate, eat well, sleep more. You are your most important asset. You are worth at least the same care that you give your car, right?

Which one (or more) of these will you implement for the next quarter?

Doug BrownHow To Avoid Collapsing at the Finish Line and Build Momentum Instead!
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How Every Lawyer Can Get More Done in Less Time

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training” – Archilochus

You are driven and determined.

You are used to being successful.

And you’d like to make more, in less time so you can have more fun.

Yet something’s in the way – like a barrier that you can’t see.

It seems like there is never enough time to get everything done.

Everything takes longer than you expect.

It feels like your only option is to work longer, and faster, and harder.

So you do – and it still isn’t enough.

Smashing through the barrier requires something you didn’t learn in law school or in any CLE program.

You need what they teach in business schools and to entrepreneurs. It’s the training to create simple, repeatable principles and procedures – a framework of operating systems to run the business of your practice.

Then it’s practicing business disciplines until they become a habit – and then continually testing, refining, and improving so your business works for you – not the other way around.

When you use a systematic approach to the business of your practice you’ll have the momentum you need to smash through the barriers that hold you back.

Start with your system for managing your time, your attention, and your energy – because everything is built on that foundation.

What do you need to practice?

Stay in action on that one thing (one at a time).

Be consistent – it takes time.

Manage your energy – you can’t actually manage time.

Be resilient – falling on your face is part of the process. Get up. Keep going.


P.S … If you’re not sure where to start practicing time management you can check out my latest self-assessment to get ideas on where to start.  Click here to get your free, no-obligation assessment.

Doug BrownHow Every Lawyer Can Get More Done in Less Time
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