Mick Jagger has the moves, but like Hamilton he couldn’t get no satisfaction. Generally, satisfaction is the fulfillment of one’s needs or wishes. I see the fulfilment of needs as the “little s” and the fulfillment of wishes as the “Big S.” The beginning of the year is a great time to assess both.
As you progress in this profession, simultaneously thinking about all of the tasks you should, or at least could, perform is a fine way to system overload and crash. It turns out that one of the truest characterizations of practicing law is that it’s a pie-eating contest where the contest is more pie. So, how do you avoid going all STAND BY ME with your blueberry pie?
Baby step it from the beginning. Make your bed. Do your laundry. Clean your physical desk and your computer desktop. Put the stack of papers on your extra chair in the files where they belong. Get old files out of your office. Make a detailed to-do list. The day you spend creating that list saves you weeks later and adds years to your life because you’re not stressed about whether you actually have a handle on your approaching deadlines.
Once you’ve reached stage one of organizational bliss, you can assess what you need to survive the year.”
Once you’ve reached stage one of organizational bliss, you can assess what you need to survive the year. That can be basic. Pens? An external hard drive? Or does your firm need a major upgrade? Something a little more exhilarating like a new document management system? Maybe it’s time to invest in additional attorneys or support staff? Regardless of what it is, the demands of practicing law (and living at least some semblance of a personal life) often make it difficult to identify and address even the most basic needs without deliberate focus and action.
If you’re too busy to assess “little s” problems, will you ever really have the time to address your “Big S” concerns? Sure, you can shirk your responsibilities and daydream about quitting law to be a barista at a latte shop for rescue cats, but is that really tackling the “Big S?” You went to law school for a reason, and you owe yourself the effort of working towards that goal.
Virtually no one satisfies their most important wishes through inaction and passivity. If your wish is to be a lawyer who does cases that you believe matter, you have to assess if you’re putting in enough energy to reach that goal. If you approach or obtain that goal, then you can better assess if the achievement carries with it the potential for fulfillment. But for a lot of us, answering that question often starts with making our bed.