We’ve got just over two weeks left in the year, and I bet you’re expecting me to write something about how you can fit in a bit more business development, call one more potential client, set up one more zoom meeting this week or write another article before the year is done.

But I’m not going to do that.

The last couple of years have been exceptionally hard.

I don’t have to explain why, but I’ll say that a constant low level of anxiety and stress about what’s happening next or wondering what we can expect when we wake up in the morning (you know, that feeling of “what fresh hell is this?”) is wearing on our nerves and our bodies. It’s why we’re more tired and stressed than normal, even if we’ve had two of the most financially productive years in the legal industry in recent memory.

So yes, even though we all know that we should always be preparing for the next downturn, because we know it’s coming, my advice for you right now is to just stop.

Of course, do the client work that you need to – I wish I could say that cutting out extraneous BD and networking was going to give you back a ton of time, but I know that’s not the case.

But this is when you look at what can honestly wait. Both in terms of your practice and your business development – what calls can be rescheduled for January? Which meetings? Which appointments? Yes, there are things that must be done by calendar end – but what is truly a priority, and what is something you’ve artificially set as a priority? Trust me, when you sit down for 15 minutes and look at your to-do list, you’ll be surprised at what you can identify. Rearrange your priority list, identify the items that are most essential and even discuss them with clients as necessary. They may be just as grateful as you are to postpone certain things to the new year.

Then, make a list of the things you want to do over the next two weeks. It doesn’t have to be a long one and actually, it’s better if it’s not. What are some things you truly enjoy? Maybe it’s having a cup of coffee in complete silence or watching British crime procedurals (don’t miss out on Manhunt with Martin Clunes if that’s the case!). Maybe you want to catch some holiday classics or spend the afternoon reading a book. You could wrangle your kids for a baking or lego project or even explore a new neighborhood on a walk outside. If you’re working remotely, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that if you have children home on winter break, to keep your expectations lowered for how much you’ll be able to realistically get done anyway.

All of this is to say that even marathoners take an off-season. Yes, we all take holiday time (in the US, only sort of), but no one is designed to push themselves to the limit all of the time without burnout as a result. To be the best version of yourself, as a professional, but more importantly, as a human being, we all need to stop sometimes and take a step back, focus more on the lives around us that we’re working so hard to build, and to be grateful for them. The best way to show that gratitude is to live them.

I hope everyone has had and is having a wonderful holiday season, full of love, light, and joy.

Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles recruitment, member retention, and a high level of service to members. She is engaged in the legal industry to stay on top of trends, both in law firms and law firm networks.

In her role as Executive Director, she develops and facilitates relationships among ILN member firm lawyers at 90+ law firms in 67 countries, and seeks opportunities for member firms to build business and relationships, while ensuring member participation in Network events and initiatives. These initiatives include facilitating referrals, the management and execution of the marketing and business development strategy for the Network, which encompasses all communications, push-down efforts, and marketing partnerships, providing support and guidance to the chairs and group leaders for the ILN’s thirteen practice and industry specialty groups, the ILN’s women’s initiative, the ILN’s mentorship program, the management and execution of all ILN conferences, and more.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

During her previous tenure as Director of Global Relationship Management, the ILN has been shortlisted as a Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer for 2016 and 2017, and included as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network since 2011. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry, and was recently included in Clio’s list for “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was recently chosen for as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February of 2009.