Managing Self Monday Morning Practice Practice Management

Monday morning practice – the morning planning ritual

Written by Allison Wolf

The summer went by in a whirlwind and here comes the mad dash of September to year-end. Doesn’t it just seem like you say goodbye to summer and five minutes later you land in December?

I know that for me, and everyone reading this, one of the big challenges is staying focused when everything is moving so quickly.

This Monday Morning Practice is about planning. I find that nothing helps my attention and productivity like a good plan for the week and the day. With my strategy for the week mapped out (subject to change of course!), and my to do list in front of me, I no longer need to think about the future or the past. I can focus on now, and the task I am working on at this moment. When it is done, I take a short break, revisit the plan, and move on to the next item.

Morning Ritual:

At the beginning of each week, begin the day with a quick planning session:

  • Review priorities and upcoming deadlines.
  • Identify one, two or three big projects you want to move forward in the coming week. This is what Steven Covey referred to as your “big rocks”.
  • Decide the one to three of the most important tasks to complete during the day. Write them on a slip of paper and keep it visible on your desk. Aim to get one or more of these tasks accomplished by noon. Your top three might include a big rock (see above) as well as other urgent matters that have come up.
  • Every morning for the rest of week, revisit the plan and choose your top three tasks for the day.

Our days are filled with email, phone calls and fighting fires, and it is easy for those “important but not urgent” projects to be pushed aside. There will always be emergencies to take care of, but this habit helps you to keep your focus and to dedicate time to your priorities.

It is important also to understand that the plan, and the tasks you focus on, are subject to change.  This ritual provides a guide but it isn’t a strict guide.  Celebrate what gets done each week, and give yourself a break for what doesn’t.  We no longer live in a world where it ever all gets done!

About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

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