Balance Goals & Planning

Ten practices to support you in doing your best work – part 2

Hopefully you have had an opportunity to work on and implement the Morning Ritual and One Thing at a Time practices and they are already having a positive impact on your day and how you approach it. If you haven’t had an opportunity don’t be discouraged just recommit to working on it and you will get there.

The next things we will look at is knowing and understanding when perfection is not required, or sometimes attainable, and how time management is important to stay on track.

Practice Three: Good Enough

Not every piece of work requires the same painstaking care and attention. Mastering the ability to recognize when the job is good enough is a vital way to gain back portions of your work day. 

Sandra was a perfectionist who was doing multiple drafts of simple letters and memos. The time she was investing in these was taking away from the time she had to spend on more complex work. As a result she was not recording chunks of time and was always fighting deadlines. Since she began integrating a Good Enough strategy into her practice she has caught up on her backlog of files. Now she will do a quick first draft of her letters and her veteran legal secretary polishes the draft and sends it to her for her signature. Her clients appreciate the shorter memos that get straight to the point.  And she has more time for the complex legal work she excels at.

The principle of Good Enough is especially valuable for you perfectionists out there – save your painstaking eye for detail for the projects that most deserve it.

Practice Four: Beat The Clock

Related to the principle of Good Enough, rationing time is a strategy for maximizing the ability to plough through a to-do-list in less time. For the smaller and simpler tasks such as reporting letters and memos, assess how much time each project is worth then work to complete the task within the allotted time.

I have been using this strategy to manage the amount of time I spend preparing for presentations. I used to endlessly revise my presentation slides and speaking notes. The time that went into each presentation was excessive. Now I manage my time carefully and give myself a time budget for investing in the preparation of each presentation. The result is that my work is focused and I often finish ahead of schedule. The overall quality of my presentations has improved.

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.