Time is on My Side

Sheila Murphy
May 30, 2023

In the 1957 movie classic version of the 3:10 to Yuma, Ben Wade, played by the incredible Glenn Ford, states: "What are you squeezin' that watch for? Squeezin' that watch ain't gonna stop time."

And Wade was right. There is nothing that prevents time from marching on. That is why you need to invest in what will give you the greatest return - whether in your career or life.

And too often lawyers don't invest our most valuable commodity where it will give us the most significant return. Here are three tips for creating more time to invest in you.

Tip 1 - Change Your Mindset

Too often, we mistakenly believe that people, whether clients, partners, or others, are more worthy than we are of our time. We give it to others first (and many don't even deserve it). When these thoughts enter our heads, we need to re-frame them.

We need to say to ourselves that I deserve the career and life that I want, and I can and should invest in myself. To firmly fixate the thought in your head - consider saying the mantra every day to yourself and by doing this, you start to re-wire how your brain reacts.

Also, track when these thoughts arise. Does it occur when the investment of time would be in a place outside your comfort zone, a skill that you have not mastered, or a false belief that you will become unneeded if not readily available for others?

Understanding when these thoughts occur can help you understand better how to counter them.

We make time for that which matters. Make sure in your mindset that you are telling yourself that these investments matter - it will make a difference in the career and the life in design.

Tip 2 - Create Time

Assess where you are spending your time and be brutal in determining whether it is necessary. Does it serve you well or is there someone else who can take it on? This includes thinking about delegation if work and outsourcing if something at home. I am not saying to outsource time at your kids' little league games, but if you are helping them with math or doing laundry, is this something a partner or someone else can help you with. Spend your time where it matters.

I have had clients decide that volunteer work, such as the PTA, did not matter to them (and I have had others adamant that it did). The one who dumped her volunteering got several hours a month back, which she used on herself. The one who did not leave the PTA instead got rid of some office "housekeeping" work and landscaping, which she did not love, to create that same space for herself. That is the beauty, you get to decide - but time is a finite resource so use it as to what matters to you.

Both leveraged that time to power their careers forward.

Tip 3 - Use The Time

This is the most important tip - you need to do something different and use the time to move forward. Several of my clients free up time to propel themselves forward and then don't. They start to use the time to take on projects and tasks that neither bring them happiness nor the careers they want.

To prevent this from happening, hold this time sacrosanct and block off the time you have created on your calendar. You can even give a heading "Investment in Me-Because I am Worth It). If you have to give up that time, you must reschedule it.

An accountability partner can also help ensure that the time you have created for yourself benefits you. As Steve Jobs stated, "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life." The good thing is you have the power to change how you spend it.


Want to learn more about how to become the in-house leader you are meant to be?

Check out Sheila's 10 Tips for In-House Counsel Struggling to Advance.

In this guide, Sheila shares her time-tested tips for in-house counsel to release fear, jump-start your career, and propel towards promotion.

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