Every week I spend a good chunk of time with lawyers discussing practice management issues. There is a simple tool I learned in coach training called the three B’s that is often very useful for discovering solutions or improvements to everyday practice challenges.
The three B’s are:
Better it – what can I do to make this situation better? In the case of a lawyer who had a big piece of research to do that felt heavy heavy and time consuming, this question raised the answer – I will change settings and get myself a treat. I will take my laptop to the glassed-in terrace in my building and read the materials while enjoying a latte.
Barter it – who can do this for me? This is the delegation option. Can someone else do this task in part or completely? For lawyers delegation is a critical skill to develop. Once you are over three years of call there are opportunities for delegating, and some people even start earlier. Delegation is key to productivity, and the habit of asking each morning – what do I need to delegate? – is immensely valuable. For tips on developing this habit – read my Slaw article Advice for the Reluctant Delegator.
Bag it – what can I pass on? What can I let go of? It is quite amazing how many tasks pile onto our to do lists that frankly don’t belong there. There is great wisdom to knowing what to say no to, and what to take off our plates entirely. Bag it is a reminder to guard your time, and take on only those things that are essential to you. Having a simple business plan, can help you to remain clear about what you want to invest your time on, and what belongs off your plate. My Slaw article Mastering the Positive No has a list of tips for helping you to strengthen your ability to set boundaries around your time by saying no.
This week pick three “heavy” items off your to do list and apply the three B’s. How can you better, barter, or bag them?
My thanks to author, columnist, and life coach Martha Beck for developing the three B’s approach and sharing it widely through her coach-training program and written works.