In this article I want to share with you my top three time-saving, energy-producing strategies for lawyers. I’ve chosen these because they produce big benefits without taking much or any time. There may be other things that take a lot of time that produce big benefits, but these ones don’t take much time, or save you time, and produce big energy-producing benefits.
1. Drink more water.
Drinking enough water is essential for good health. Our bodies are two-thirds water. We can literally die without water after just a few days. Thankfully access to water is not an issue for most of us—but drinking enough of it certainly is. As lawyers we’re chronically dehydrated. We drink lots of liquids—coffee, tea, milk, juice, pop, energy drinks, alcohol, etc.—but not a lot of water. There’s a huge difference between liquids and water—all liquids are certainly not created equal.
Dehydration—even of the mild variety—can lead to constipation, headaches, lethargy, and mental confusion. Now these things aren’t great for anybody—but it’s especially hard to practice law effectively when we’re confused, tired, have a pounding headache, and are dealing with stomach cramps! And those are just a few of the symptoms you may experience from not drinking enough water.
How much is enough? Most experts agree that the average person requires 6-8 tall glasses of water a day—more if you’re exercising vigorously as well. One way to determine the amount of water that’s right for you is to drink ½ your bodyweight daily—in ounces, not pounds thankfully. So if you’re 150lbs, then try to drink 75oz of water a day.
Another great reason to drink water is that you’ll eat less when well hydrated. We often mistake thirst for hunger. So a good strategy for hydration and for eating less is to drink one or two tall glasses of water before every snack or meal.
Make sure you’re drinking the right kind of water. Tap water in many urban areas is not great at best and can be harmful at worst, so stick with natural mineral water, distilled water, filtered tap water, or bottled water.
Here’s a great strategy for making sure you get enough water during the day. I call it the “water as your meal ticket strategy.” Commit to not eating anything in the run of the day—breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, whatever—without drinking a glass of water first. Drinking a glass of water is your ticket to allow you to eat.
If you get your eight glasses of water every day and spend most of your days hydrated (as opposed to your chronically dehydrated colleagues) you will find you have more energy—and it doesn’t take much time out of your day to drink those glasses of water. It’ll probably save you the time spent in line at Starbucks twice a day.
2. Exercise less time.
Many lawyers think that exercise equals one hour at the gym. That is just not true. Exercise does not require an hour at the gym! Exercise can be as little as ten or fifteen or twenty minutes, and it can be done anywhere—even in your office.
If you’re not exercising regularly because you think you don’t have time, because you’ve got to get to the gym and that takes a bit of commute time and then you shower afterwards and blah blah blah…excuses, excuses! It doesn’t take an hour! It doesn’t take forty-five minutes! It doesn’t even take a half an hour if you don’t want it to!
You can get a great full body workout in as little as fifteen minutes. I do them all the time. So when you’re thinking about exercise, think shorter. That’ll save you some time and will produce those energy-producing benefits that you’re looking for.
3. Be more grateful.
It’s all about expressing gratitude more often. What do I mean by gratitude? Gratitude is just being thankful for your life. There are many things we can complain about on a day-to-day basis if we want to. But aren’t there so many things for which we should be grateful and which we should really acknowledge our gratitude for on a daily basis?
If you’ve never done this before, if you’ve never been consciously aware of expressing gratitude, you probably don’t understand how it is energy-producing. But it most certainly is.
Biologically, a cell in your body—and we’re all made up of trillions of cells—can’t be in growth mode and defense mode at the same time. When you are expressing gratitude, that’s a growth emotion and when you’re in stress mode, that’s a defense emotion. Gratitude can actually trump stress. If you can just sit back and take a few deep breaths when you’re feeling stressed or low on energy and just think, “Wow, I’m so grateful for this or that or the other thing. I’m grateful for my spouse, I’m grateful for my kids, I’m grateful for my house, I’m grateful for this job, I’m grateful for my car, I’m grateful for the sun and the moon and the sand and the ocean and the waves, etc, etc, etc…”
Taking time to do that and really be thankful for all that you have and all that is good in your life—even when things may not be going as well as you’d like them to be (especially then, actually)—that is energy producing and it doesn’t take much time at all.