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Choose One Thing

By Sally J. Schmidt

Several years ago, I found myself traveling home on a Sunday after speaking at a conference where fewer than 10 people attended my session. I felt like I’d wasted the whole weekend, and I was determined to get my time back under my control. On the plane, I wrote what my sister fondly called my “manifesto,” with rules and regulations for life and work.

Years later, as I reflect on it, I didn’t implement everything in my manifesto—not even close. But I did implement one thing that has made my life so much better: No travel on Sunday. It’s a rule, etched in stone. I tell clients I will take the earliest flight out on Monday, but I do not travel on Sunday. Period.

How does this relate to marketing your law practice? So many times, lawyers know what they need to do but they just can’t break the inertia. Or they have a plan, in writing or in their heads, of things they want to or should do, but the list becomes overwhelming. If that’s the case, I think the best thing to do is to pick one thing and make it your new habit. Vow to call one client every Wednesday just to say hello. Or block one hour on Friday afternoons to follow up with people you’ve met that week. Or schedule some time on the first Monday of every month to look at your contact list and pick someone to contact.

Make your new habit a recurring appointment on your calendar.

I find the “one thing” rule works for life as well as work (e.g., I will not miss my son’s basketball games). After all, what you are trying to do is establish a new behavior. Once you have that one down, you can add another.

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Sally J. Schmidt Sally J. Schmidt

Sally Schmidt is President of Schmidt Marketing, Inc., which offers marketing services to law firms. She was a founder and the first President of the Legal Marketing Association. She is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and was one of the first inductees to LMA’s Hall of Fame. She is the author of “Marketing the Law Firm: Business Development Techniques” and “Business Development for Lawyers: Strategies for Getting and Keeping Clients.”

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