If you're working more than 40 hours a week, you're doing it wrong.
Yeah, I know your brain has something to say about that, but that's exactly why you need to listen to today's podcast episode.
Working 40 hours a week is possible. It's also mandatory if you want to truly be successful.
Give it a listen.
P.S. Our BRAND NEW time management course: Life By Design: Master Your Time to Live Your Dreams is now live! Learn more here: www.fromhostagetohero.com
👀 Check out the free H2H training below!
EPISODE 139 TRANSCRIPTION
When you are up against a hostile room of people who don't want to be there, you need real strategies that get results. Welcome to From Hostage to Hero, the show that gives you practical advice you can use right now in the courtroom, boardroom, or classroom. Learn how to move your unwilling audience to one that is invested in what you're saying, eager to participate, and engaged in the process. Learn from the attorney whisperer herself, your host, Sari de la Motte.
Sari de la Motte:
Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to another episode of From Hostage to Hero and welcome to December. How did this happen? Crazy, crazy, crazy. Here we are in December and I hope that you are having a wonderful holiday season. I know I am. I always love this month, very, very fun. And today we are continuing our discussion that we started last week about time management and continuing these discussions in the From Hostage to Hero Facebook group. If you are not in there, that is our free group that is different than the H2H Crew. The H2H Crew is a paid membership. And I'm going to tell you right now, the price is going to increase like a lot in 2022. So you're going to want to get in as soon as possible.
So our next open is in January and you can go to fromhostagetohero.com and get on the wait list. We only open two to four times a year and so you want to make sure that you get that. So in H2H, they have their own private Facebook group, they have access to my course. They have all the things.
But if you are not in that group and you're not in our free group, you can just search Facebook for From Hostage to Hero and asked to join. You have to be a plaintiff attorney or criminal defense attorney, and we'll let you in there and it's free. It's a group of 1,500 trial lawyers, and we're just having fun back there and having conversations. And it's a place where you can interact with me if you have questions about any of the things, the book and the brand new course, which is called Life By Design: Master Your Time to Live Your Dreams.
So if you want an overview of that brand new time management program that is now available also at fromhostagetohero.com, you must go and listen to last week's podcast where I give you an overview to why you need the course, how we tend to have a dysfunctional relationship with time. And I give you an overview of all the lessons and all the modules. So everything you're going to learn, I talk about it over there. But I wanted to do a separate podcast altogether today on the concept of working 40 hours a week. And not only it's possible, but mandatory.
Before I do that, though, I'm going to do our listener shout-out. This is again from trial guides. This is by Robert W who titles his review five-star review, "Great book. Sari's book is the must have guide on how to connect with the jury conduct voir dire and win your case. Buy it, join the Facebook group and listen to the podcast. Every trial lawyer should have this."
Well, thank you, Robert for your review. I really appreciate that. If you haven't reviewed the book yet, go to trialguides.com. And if you haven't reviewed the podcast yet, please do that. I want to get the numbers up over there too. I love podcasting. I'm hearing from so many of you how you love the podcast as well. So let's get it into the hands of more people and reviews, help us do that. Thanks in advance.
All right, so let's go back to this concept of only working 40 hours a week because I think when I tell you this that your brain explodes, and you think that's just not possible. And so I'm here to tell you that not only is it possible, but it is a mandatory if you ever want to get into a level of success that you have not seen before. Now to understand this concept, we have to understand what belief we are holding that causes us to work so many hours.
And so I've identified a few, the first one is that you have to work hard to be successful. Just check in with yourself and see if that's something that you believe is true. I think most people believe that truth, especially in the legal world that this is really hard work and you have to work really hard to get it right. And while that might be true at the beginning when you're a baby lawyer and you're figuring out how to do all the things that you need to do as a trial lawyer, I don't think that is true for most of you who are now established in your careers. And I think that that belief is not serving you.
When you think that hard work is the reason why you are successful or conversely the reason why you're not successful is because you're not working hard. This causes disordered thinking because it's not ever, not even at the beginning, hard work that makes you successful. Let me say that again. It is not hard work that makes you successful. Is hard work often required to actually learn whatever it is you're learning in whatever career? Yes, at times it is for sure. When you're first building your business, when you're first learning all the things you need to learn as a trial lawyer or any other career that you might be in, absolutely.
But it's not the key to your success. That that's where we need to divorce this because what actually, truly makes you successful, we're going to talk about that in a minute, but that brings us to the second thing that I see particularly is pervasive in the legal field. And that is that you believe that you must be 100% totally prepared. And that if you lose a trial or whatever that that is the reason why because you weren't prepared enough. This also causes the overworking because the disordered thinking here is, again, not that being prepared is wrong, but that you believe it is possible to be 100% prepared.
It's not. As you may have heard me say in previous podcast episodes, I have never met, not even once, a trial lawyer who has ever felt 100% prepared. It's just not possible, but because you think it's possible, that causes you to continually overwork. I mean, think about it. If I were to say what does it mean to be 100% prepared? I don't think that most of you could even answer that question. It's a feeling that you get. And so you're chasing this feeling and the feeling really has nothing to do with being prepared.
Let's just play with that for a minute. The feeling that you're chasing by saying, "I want to be 100% prepared" is you're saying, "I want to be confident." And you think that preparation is what's going to do that. Now, again, does preparation have something to do with that? Yes, it's a piece of that pie, but because you don't separate those things and you just in your mind to say, "I want to be 100% prepared" and you don't bring out into the light the actual feeling behind that, which is, "I really actually want to just feel confident going into trial." Then you keep working and working and working chasing that feeling thinking that it is preparation that's going to give it to you. It's not.
When we talk about this idea of confidence, we tend to think that confidence and I'm going off the rails here from what I planned on talking about, but you know I do that. Confidence we tend to think is what comes first. I have to have confidence to then go and do whatever it is I want to do. But what I want to suggest to you, and what I know is true is that confidence comes at the end. Meaning, it comes from doing whatever thing you are attempting to do, thinking you need confidence to do it.
Meaning, you get confidence when you go to trial. You get confidence when you speak in front of an audience. It's not before, it's after. So that feeling that you're chasing is not going to be supplied by what you think it is going to be supplied by. It's actually the doing that's going to supply the confidence and also the knowing that you are awesome, that you do have this. And I'm going to do a whole podcast on brain management and how that's essential for trial lawyers. Because if you do not manage your brain, then you are not going to be successful.
That's really what it is when I said I was going to say what it is. What really truly gets you success in this field or any other field is brain management, period. If you can manage your brain, then you can do anything because our brain, I'm going to go into this in-depth in an upcoming podcast, our brain is wired to keep us safe. And you have chosen a career that constantly puts you in danger, emotional danger. Risk of failure, risk of humiliation, risk of rejection, all the things that the brain is wired to keep you away from.
So to be truly successful does not take hard work, does not take preparation. What it takes is brain management. Hard work is what helps you do your job. Preparation is what helps you get to trial and have things ready. Success comes from brain management. All right, so now that we went off on a completely different tangent than I had planned, let's talk about why 40-hour work week is not only possible, but mandatory.
When you recognize that you are overworking because you're trying to chase a feeling, a confidence, a feeling of worthiness. Whatever it is that you're attempting to do, that's the first step. You need to recognize why am I overworking in the first place? The second step then is to limit your work time. Now, notice how I didn't say is to limit your work time and do the same amount of things in a limited space, a time of work. That is not what I am saying.
And if you go back and you listen or if you've purchased the course already, you know we talk a lot about getting really clear on what you want to spend your time on because here's what happens when you allow yourself to work 60, 70, 80 hours a week is you are not constraining yourself. And we have a whole lesson on constraint and constraining down to a goal, and constraining down to your time. When you are not constraining yourself and you are in your brain saying, "I have the evening to work on this. I have the weekend to work on this." There's a concept that you may have heard before, which is task stretch to fill the time you've allowed for them.
Meaning if you have a 20-minute task and you allow yourself 60 minutes, it will take 60 minutes. If you want to get your work done during the day, but you allow yourself to think, "If I don't get this done, I can do it tonight or if I don't get this done, I can do it this weekend." Then you will be working on evenings and you will be working on weekends. We think it's because we have too much to do, but that's not true. Because two things, one of which I just said, we're allowing this big container of time and it will get filled. That's how time works.
But two, who controls that shit, i.e., the things you have to do? You do. We tend to think that it's someone else. There are other people that are controlling the things I have to do and that's not true. Not for most of you, not for most of you who run your own firms. And even those of you who are in firms, most of you have control over your own time. There may be some things that are required of you, but in general, your time isn't scripted by someone else saying you do this this time, you do this that time. You get to decide that.
And most of my clients are in firms of their own and totally can decide this. So I'm not taking that as an excuse from you, you get to decide. But the thing about it is is that when you constrain yourself, the opposite happens. Because now if you tell yourself, "I am only working until five o'clock" or whatever time it may be, then you now start to get really, really picky and really choosy about how you're going to spend your time.
If you only are working 40 hours a week, things get real clear, real fast about how you're going to use that time. If I said to you, you can only work 40 hours a week. That's all I'm going to allow you to do. And if you work one minute beyond that, you're going to lose your law license or you're not going to get a million dollars that I promised you, or whatever. There's some big incentive for you to only work that 40 hours or there's a punishment maybe, you would have to start making some decisions because here's what I see happening.
Most of you when you try to work less, you just try to shove all the things you were doing in the 60, 70, 80 hours into a 40-hour work week and you go, "It's not possible." Well, hell yeah, it's not possible. I mean, this is why we talk about in the course, too, about I'm just going to squeeze something in. There is no such thing as squeezing something in. Everything takes time. So when you say yes to something, you're saying no to something else.
So the same thing goes goes for this. You can't take 80 hours of work and shove it into 40. Now, you probably are wasting some time in there. So it's maybe not totally 80 hours a week. Just looking at your time wasters, you may be able to bring it down to 60. Fine. Great. But you still can't do 60 hours in 40 hours. The whole point of constraining your time down to 40 hours and I want to be really clear about this work 40 hours or less, I tend to work 32 to 35 hours and take about eight to 10 weeks of vacation a year. And I make more money than I ever have in my life, not because I make more money can I take the time off. But the fact that I took the time and constrained is why I make more money. We're going to talk about that in just a minute.
But you've got to get super clear about what you're going to be doing in that time versus trying to shove all the same things in that amount of time. That's never going to work. So when you have that constraint down to 40 hours, now it forces you, this is why it's mandatory, to get focused really quick. What if I only had 40 hours, what am I going to spend my time on? If I said to you only have $40 to buy food this week, you get really choosy about how you're going to spend that $40.
But if I said you had all the money in the world, then you just spend it willy-nilly. This is the same thing with time. When you think it can just spill out all over your life, evenings, weekends, vacation, then there's no incentive for you to get your work done because in your brain and the way the brain works, you've taught it that you'll just do it whenever. "If I don't feel like doing it now, then I'll do it later." And then you end up overworking yourself.
Now, when you constrain yourself down, not only do you get more focused, you get more rested, which is a huge piece of this. So you're more creative, you're more focused, you can do more things when you are constraining yourself down to the 40 hours a week. And that is really, really important. But the more importance is that you start getting really clear about what you want your life to look like. And that's what the time management course is all about is that when we try to organize our time, we are missing the hugest part of it, which is what do want my life to look like? Instead we look at all the things we have to do and we say, "How do we organize the things?"
But we need to step back and say, "Okay, why am I doing these things in the first place?" In the training, we talk about the difference between want tos and have tos. When you create your to-do list, I have you look through it and say, "What are the things on this list that are have tos?" And once you identify the have tos, I say get rid of that shit. Brain goes crazy there too. Everybody has to do things, they have to. There's things you have to do. You can't get out of that. And my answer to that is who gave you that idea? Who gave you the idea that life is about doing things you don't want to do? That's not the life I live.
I choose everything that I do. I don't have to do anything and I don't do anything when it's a have to, period. I either delete it or delegate it. I'm not spending my limited time here on Earth now with this cancer diagnosis who knows how much time I have left. I know for sure that I am not going to spend that time on things that I feel I have to do. That shit is gone. And by the way, if you don't have a cancer diagnosis, your time is still limited as well. All of our time is limited, so why the hell are you spending it on things that don't matter?
I mean, that's really the true time waster when you spend time on things that don't matter. That's really the only true way we can waste time. And if you look at your life and you're spending your time on things that don't matter, that's the first place you can start to cut, but constraining down to 40 hours helps you focus on what's really, truly important. We're going to talk in another podcast episode hopefully before the end of the year, I think I have a plan for the end of the year about how to get into your zone of genius and what that is, and some steps to get you there, but this is one of the first steps to do that.
When you only have 40 hours, it focuses you on doing your best work on things that you love because there literally isn't time to do anything else. And when you get that focused, then you create some amazing results. When I got super focused, first on who I was serving, plaintiff attorneys, not just plaintiff attorneys or lawyers, first of all, because I used to work in corporate. And then not just lawyers, but plaintiff attorneys. And not just plaintiff attorneys, plaintiff attorneys who go to trial. And not just plaintiff attorneys that go to trial, but plaintiff attorneys that go to trial and are open and willing to changing their mindset and turning this around from the inside out.
That's a really select group. When I got that nichey and then decided and I only want to work 32 hours a week, 32 to 35. I want to take every Friday afternoon off. I want to take at least one full Friday off a month. I don't want to start work until 9:00. I definitely want to end at 5:00. I then looked at that and said, "Okay, knowing that I have Monday through Thursday from 9:00 to 5:00 and Friday from 9:00 to 1:00, how am I going to use that time?" Things got real clear real quick.
And at first it was super scary because it was like, "But then I'm not going to have time to do this and this and this, or I'm going to have to put this off." Guess what? Putting things off was awesome because what I used to do is I have all these things I wanted to do, and I spent an hour on one over here, and then an hour on one over there. And all I had to show for it was a bunch of started and unfinished projects.
When I finally looked and constrained down and said, "I only have this amount of time. I got to put off all this other stuff and just focus on one thing right now," then I started getting results. I've wanted to do a time management course forever. I got it done in a matter of weeks because why? It's the only thing I was focused on because of now of constraining my time. That's such a benefit.
Here's what I also want you to think about is that when you constrain down to 40 or when you don't constrain down to 40 hours a week, what message are you sending to your employees? Think about that for a minute. If your work consistently spills over into evenings and weekends, the message that you're sending to your employees, it's okay for them to not do their work. It's okay for them to just goof off, whatever because they can do evenings and weekends. So then you're not managing a very productive team, either. Brooke Castillo, great life coach. I actually like her more as an entrepreneur than a life coach.
But anyways, she talks about a client of hers that said, "We went to a four-day work week" and Brooke said, "How's it going?" And she said, "It's going great, but if it somehow doesn't, it goes off the rails, then we're going to have to go back to five days." And Brooke said, "No, go to three days." Meaning if they can't get their work done in four days, then three days will really put the pressure on them to get focused.
See, but we think it's the opposite. We think if I have more time, then I'll get more done. No, the less time you allow yourself, the more you'll get done because you're going to have to focus. That's why it's mandatory. And you know what? It's also possible because the H2H Crew has been doing a 35-week hour a week challenge. Not anything that I created. One of the H2H Crew members decided to do it. And people have been posting every day since he started it and they're doing it, they're handling it.
Now, yes, they have the course this whole time to help. And you too can have the course if you go to fromhostagetohero.com, you can buy Life By Design: Master Your Time to Live Your Dreams. Again, if you're an H2H member, you get this for free in your bonus courses. And by the way, every course that I plan and create and sell, H2H members will always get for free as part of their bonus. So that's another reason you want to consider becoming an H2H member.
But if you can't wait till January and I wouldn't suggest that you do, get the course now. The reason we are offering it early instead of in January is because we want you to do the designing part now before you get to the calendaring part. Will you learn how to do the calendaring? Absolutely. We go into major depth how to create a time map, how to do annual planning, quarterly planning, month planning, daily planning, weekly planning, all of the things. But we want you to do the designing first because it's not about managing your time. It's about managing yourself.
What do you want your life to look like? That's the first question. Once you answer that question, then you can start planning it, not the other way around it. It's not like we get all our to-dos organized so we can finally have time to think about what life we really want to be living. That's not how it works. You decide what kind of life you want to live now and then you plan that shit, and that's why I created this program. It's awesome. It's awesome if I can just say so myself. And I don't need to say so myself because the H2H Crew has been raving about it.
So get over to fromhostagetohero.com, purchase your copy of Life By Design: Master Your Time to Live Your Dreams and then go to the From Hostage to Hero Facebook group, and posting what you're learning and asking any questions. I'll be in there to answer whatever I possibly can. All right, talk to you next week.
Thanks for joining me today. If you benefited from what we talked about or just want to let me know you enjoy the podcast, go ahead and leave me a review on whichever platform you use to listen to From Hostage to Hero. Add a comment and I just might give you a shout-out on an upcoming episode.
In the meantime, head over to fromhostagetohero.com to order your copy of my book From Hostage to Hero: Captivate the Jury by Setting Them Free and to get on my mailing list. I send out trial tips and encouragement right to your inbox every single week. And while you're there, make sure you join the wait list to become an H2H Crew member when we reopen. We only open a few times each year and you do not want to miss out. I look forward to our time together in next week's episode, talk then.
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