If you have ever found your groove as an attorney, you know how pleasant and productive it can be. Work seems like play, and you can spend hours pursuing your objectives without feeling as if you expended any energy. You feel happy and confident, and it is as if you can keep going at this pace indefinitely.

Just as almost everyone has experienced the groove at one point in their lives, so too have most people been in a rut. The rut is the opposite of a groove. When you are in a rut, progress toward your goals seems slow, laborious, and draining. You grow tired of your work and wonder if you will ever find your groove again.

The good news is that just because you may be in a rut now does not mean you are destined to stay there. With deliberate effort, you can return to the positive feelings and productivity of your groove once more.

Before learning how to escape a rut, it is important to understand that you can find yourself in one without even realizing it. No individual intends to be in a rut, and yet it is easy to coast into one if you are not careful to guard against it, especially in the legal field.

A rut is a state of complacency and boredom, where the work you are doing no longer excites you or challenges you. You are completing tasks because you know they need to get done, but you’re not doing much else besides merely existing. If you are not careful, being in a rut for too long can lead to fatigue and burnout.

Grooves, on the other hand, are states of creativity, excitement, and mastery. You are learning new information, acquiring new skills, and learning the best ways to implement both in your working environment. 

With a groove, although you have a routine, you are refining it and mastering it. You are passionate about your work and excited about the challenges you will face because they offer an opportunity to grow further.

However, grooves do not last forever without modification. Expecting the things you are doing now to constantly and endlessly support the feelings associated with being in your groove can eventually lead to a rut. 

It is like driving across a muddy path: you must spin your tires, but without forward motion, you are just going to sink and become stuck. What differentiates a rut from a groove for a lawyer, then, is that forward professional motion that gives you a new challenge to master or an obstacle to tackle.

3 Tips for Finding (and Staying in) Your Groove

If you are convinced you are stuck in a rut and longing to find your groove once more, you can do so by taking the right steps. Finding your groove is not about working harder or putting in more hours at the office; instead, you will want to implement these three tips:

1. Discover and Nurture Your Passions

You cannot get into a groove if you are not passionate about your work. Unfortunately, the realities of running your own law office or practicing with another firm can require you to do work that does not always align with your passions and interests. Over time, the things that interest you about practicing law can become lost, leading to a rut.

If you have forgotten what interests you about the law, spend time rediscovering your passion. This would be the reason you wanted to become a lawyer. It could be a business goal, such as growing a solo firm into a larger operation, or it could be working toward an ideal, such as justice for marginalized groups.

Whatever your passion, identify it and set aside time to pursue it each week. This could be by reading, volunteering, or working with another firm on a case related to this passion.

2. Make Time for Deep Work

Essentially, deep work is work that requires you to wrestle with a problem or issue to solve it. It is not something that is supposed to come easy or that you can resolve using tools you already have. 

Instead, you must often develop new skills to tackle deep work successfully. Because being in your groove means developing and growing as an attorney, it is important you find time for deep work.

For example, suppose that your passion is First Amendment jurisprudence. You make time for this passion by reading books and law review articles. Deep work, then, might be representing a local newspaper reporter who is being sued pro bono. Deep work could also involve partnering with another firm working on a First Amendment case and lending your talents.

Additionally, deep work can be learning to tackle a familiar problem in a new way. Examine your current workflow and see if there are ways you can improve your efficiency. The mere act of tackling a familiar problem in new ways can stretch your thinking and help you shake the boredom of a rut.

3. Delegate Routine and Repetitive Tasks

The routine and mundane tasks essential to running a law firm can prevent attorneys from following their passions and growing as individuals. If you find yourself engaged primarily in these tasks and lacking time to pursue those things that truly ignite your passions, consider what tasks you can delegate to someone else.

For example, suppose that billing takes up a considerable amount of your time, and you cannot find a way to make it less burdensome. It may be worthwhile to hire a virtual bookkeeper or assistant who can focus on this task for you. 

By delegating tasks like these, you can unburden yourself from tasks that do not challenge or excite you and more easily engage in those that do.

You are not meant to stay in a rut. Woven Legal can help you get your groove back by connecting you with talented virtual professionals like legal assistants and paralegals who can free you to pursue your passion for the law.

Book a discovery call with us to learn how we can enhance your practice today.


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