Piper's new backpack, lunch box and thermos for back-to-school
Today’s the “first day” back to school for my kids. Summer’s over. No more “summer” schedule of staying up late and sleeping in. Yeah, it’s going to be “summer-hot” outside today, but the fall clothes are coming out; we’ll just crank up the air conditioning inside. Back to school means a new backpack, lunch box and thermos. It signals “back-to-school” shopping sprees. It means cleaning out your drawers and getting rid of all the clothes that don’t fit, or you never wear. It means cleaning up your study space and the junk drawer with all the school supplies. It means going to bed at a decent hour and getting up early. We’re on a schedule! Same thing can be said for work. Vacations for you, your clients, the courts are OVER. It’s time to get back to work, seriously. We have about three months of “work” left in the year (minus Thanksgiving week, and the week between Christmas and New Years). So, what are you going to do?? Here are a few ideas:

  • Clean up your office. Go through all those piles that have built up all year and dump what needs to get dumped. File what needs to be filed. And make a list of all your “OMG, THAT ALMOST FEEL THREW THE CRACKS” projects.
  • Clean out your e-mail in box. Same rules apply.
  • Pull out that “goals” list for the year — sometimes referred to as a “marketing plan” — and see where you’ve had success, and where you still have some goals to meet.
  • Read a good book. Something akin to David Allen’s “Getting Things Done,” or Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers.” Personally, I’m looking forward to reading The Wisdom of Wooden: My Century On and Off the Courts (unfortunately, I cannot download it to my Nook and have to run into the store to pick it up).
  • Make a list of your top 10 clients/contacts/referral sources. The absolute TOP of your list for giving and connecting you to new business. Now, block off time on your calendar, two hours per week, to meet with that client IN PERSON. Even for those out of town clients, there’s a business trip you’re planning in close proximity to where they are. Extend your trip and swing by. Invite them to join you at an industry conference. This isn’t about asking for new business, but deepening your relationship. Spend the time (80 percent) LISTENING to what they have to say about their business. Your service. Their concerns. No excuses. This is about the work to come in 2011.
  • Print out your holiday card list and start to work on it now. You’ll thank me for this in November. Really.
  • Review your year. What did you do? Attended a conference. Wrote an article. Spoke at an industry-related event. Hosted a client CLE. Bought another table of ten that no one sat at. Purchased a tribute ad. What worked?? What didn’t?? What can you do differently in 2011.
  • Make a list of your competitors (friendly and not-so-friendly). Go to their websites and subscribe to their newsletters, blogs and press releases via email or, preferably, an RSS feed … and READ them. Do the same thing for your clients.
  • Buy a smart phone (if you don’t have one already) and start to figure out how you can make that phone work for you to keep you connected to your clients.

Come on … get moving!