Procrastination is the Thief of Time. It makes easy things hard and hard things harder. The next thing you know, that easy thing has turned into a huge burden.
How many times do you say, “I don’t have time” or “There’s not enough time in the day to get everything done”? In my case, I say these things, uh, every day. 🙁
Today I realized that TIME is not the problem, I’m the problem. The truth is that there’s always enough time if we don’t befriend the thief, Procrastination. He seduces us with momentary pleasure and blinds us to the PAIN we’ll suffer when we needlessly delay. He lies to us about the ultimate COST to us in the future when we put something off. Procrastination cozies up to you and whispers in your ear, “You can do that tomorrow, no problem.”
Tomorrow rolls around and you put it off one more day. Then you do it again, and again, and again, and the next thing you know it’s two months later and you completely forgot exactly what it was you were supposed to do. Or, you wait until the last minute and you have to drop everything else, be totally stressed out, and operate on little sleep. It’s hard to do anything, or do it correctly, when you’re irritated and sleep-deprived. Procrastination drives some people to drink or overeat. It can make one less than pleasant to be around.
One day you’re carrying around a marble in the palm of your hand. All you have to do is take 1 minute to put the thing away in its place. It’s quite simple, but you don’t do it. Then you wake up one day and find you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Before we procrastinate, count the cost. Procrastination is a liar and a thief. Just Do It!!!
Or, as we southerners like to say, “Git ’em done!”
Straight from the horse’s mouth! From a Judge who’s heard it all, here’s some priceless advice to help you avoid emotional turmoil, alienating family and friends, and spending unnecessary time and money litigating.
What do you do when life throws you a few curve balls?
Today I had a nice, organized list of tasks to accomplish. Before I even had a chance to look at my list, my mother had a crisis of epic proportions: she couldn’t watch ANY of her favorite shows because our satellite service provider is currently not carrying that particular network.
My morning was derailed.
What could I do about this problem?
Obviously, there’s not much I could do about the cause of the problem. I have no control over the two companies who are in contract negotiations and may or may not reach an agreement.
All I could do was figure out how I could respond to put out the fire. Unfortunately, I felt like I was wasting time when I could have been checking items off my task list, and it made me irritated.
The fact of the matter was that actually doing the things I had to do to help my mom by putting out the fire was not what irritated me.
It was the interruption of my plans and the detour in my day that got me out-of-sorts.
You may be truly having a crisis of epic proportions.
Do you feel like you’re suffering through a crisis that you don’t deserve and that’s ruined your dreams?
Did your spouse let you down when your marriage didn’t turn out like you had planned?
It’s not fair, it’s not right, it shouldn’t have happened. But, it did happen, so the question is HOW will you respond to this life-derailment?
Will you make the necessary repairs, get back on track, and continue on, or will you remain a heap of crumpled, useless, metal?
I realized this morning that, on one hand, I could complain, snap at my mom for wanting to watch her TV shows, and blame the people who couldn’t reach an agreement to provide us with services we’ve paid for and expected to receive.
On the other hand, I could accept the fact that I can’t control the network or the service provider, I could do what I could to enable my mom to watch her shows, and then I could get back to my list.
Complaining, blaming and lashing out at my mom wouldn’t change a thing. She still couldn’t watch her TV shows, and I would be even more worked up and annoyed.
As irritating as the whole interruption was, I had to deal with it, which is what I did. I’d like to sit here and tell you I didn’t complain at all and didn’t lash out at my mom. After 2 hours of trying to access her shows online and hook up my digital TV receiver that came with my internet, with another service provider, I was not a happy camper.
It was at that time that I realized I could either finish doing what I could to help my mom, or I could complain and blame. It was my choice.
Loss of a few TV shows is NOTHING compared to the loss of a marriage, family, and security.
However, the principles for handling these situations are the same.
It’s never easy when life doesn’t turn out as we planned.
We do have a choice: will we complain, blame, be angry and grow bitter, or will we do what we need to do to handle the situation the best way we can, accept it, and move on?
Remember the old adage, “loose lips sink ships”?
Today, loose fingertips blast ships into smithereens.
Tacky tweets, ferocious facebook updates, smutty pics, and malicious public posts can and WILL be used against you in a Court of law or otherwise.
On numerous occasions I’ve seen parents and spouses pummeled by their social media activities. If it’s on the world wide web, even if it’s shared with “friends only,” rest-assured it will resurface at the most inconvenient and embarassing times.
As good as it may SEEM to feel at the moment to go on rabid rants about the ex and the paramour, and as badly as you want others to see how “rotten” someone is, it will come back to hang you. Instead, write it down on a piece of paper and then immediately shred it!
Sometimes people intentionally post things on social media about the other parent and the “other” woman/man for not only the whole world to see but also, more destructively, for their children to see. The consequences are disasterous on numerous levels.
When someone “friends” a new love-interest when they’re still married, that opens up Pandora’s box. I’ve seen “friends of friends” post all manner of incriminating tidbits that are gobbled-up and used to devour an opponent.
The list goes on and on.
The best way to avoid any temptation to destroy your reputation, relationships, and any hope of reasonably resolving your divorce or post-divorce case is to deactivate your social media accounts before, during, and for a time after your lawsuit.
Once upon a time there was no internet, and we all survived! We didn’t shrivel up and die from lack of social media connections. Actually, life can be far more pleasant when we take a break!
If you’re still recovering from the breakup of your marriage, shying away from or limiting social media while you’re healing can be tremendously beneficial.
Text messages, emails, and voicemail messages also can and will be used against you! My advice is to send messages with the knowledge that the Judge will be privy to them and will “judge” you accordingly.
And, by the way, if you request to re-schedule a Court hearing for a “doctor’s appointment,” tweeting that you’re doing something crazy during the same time that you were supposed to be in Court / at the doctor’s office doesn’t go over so well with the Judge!
- Write down all of your questions and the things you want to tell your attorney ahead of time and have them with you when you meet with your attorney, phone your attorney, or email your attorney. Carry a notepad or journal around with you and jot down your questions when you think of them. If you have an iPhone, take full advantage of the Notes application and/or the Voice Memo application and record your questions and thoughts as soon as they come to mind. Taking this step will ensure that you won’t forget to tell your attorney important information and that you won’t forget to ask your attorney any questions; it will also help you to stick to the topics that you need to address. You and your attorney will get a lot more accomplished in less time, and that means less money out of your pocket.
- Make your emails to your attorney well-organized, concise and to the point. Doing so will help your attorney to better understand what you are trying to say or to ask, and it will also help your attorney respond to you more quickly than if you send a rambling email that is one long paragraph and asks 5 million different questions. Many attorneys do charge clients for reading and responding to emails. The easier they are to read and to understand, the less amount of time your attorney will need to spend reading and responding to them, and the lower your bill will be!
- If you are emailing your attorney with a question about a document, ATTACH a copy of that document to your email. Your attorney can then quickly look at that document and answer your question. Otherwise, you may be billed not only for reading and responding to the email, but also for pulling the file, locating the document, possibly copying the document, and then putting the file back in the filing cabinet. Doing this one simple step should also get you a more rapid response because your attorney is more likely to deal with your email immediately if he or she sees that it will not be necessary to pull your file and to locate the document.Email Tip: Send a copy of your emails to your attorney’s assistant. Doing so will lessen the chance that your email gets lost in your attorney’s overflowing inbox. You can always also call the office and alert your attorney’s assistant that you have sent an important email and you want to make sure that your attorney sees it.
- Hire a psychologist or a counselor. I always recommend that divorce clients and their children participate in counseling or psychotherapy during and after a divorce. It is necessary to help clients and their children deal with and heal from the destruction of that which they have held most dear: their family. You need to address your emotional issues and struggles with a psychologist or a counselor, who is trained to help you work through those specific issues. You need to let your lawyer focus on your legal issues, which is much easier for your lawyer to do when you are not relying on your lawyer to provide you with psychotherapy (which most of us are not licensed, trained, or qualified to do anyway). When you are interacting with your attorney, you and your attorney need to be primarily focused on the logistics of your case and the legal issues that are involved. In many instances a therapist charges less per hour than an attorney does anyway, and they usually end the therapy sessions in one hour and on time!
- When you have a question about your case, talk to the paralegal or legal assistant who works with your attorney first instead of going straight to your attorney. Depending on the fee agreement you have with your lawyer, you may or may not be charged to communicate with your attorney’s support staff, however, it will almost always be less expensive to funnel your questions and problems through the support staff. I have found that oftentimes when a client calls me with a question or a problem it takes 10 to 15 minutes to get all of the facts and to clarify what it is the client really wants and needs to know. It is extremely helpful to me for my legal assistant to obtain and sort through that information on the front end so that I can quickly and easily respond and provide the client with the answers he or she is seeking. Many times it results in me “no charging” the client for the time it takes me to answer his or her questions, as opposed to me billing them for a 20 or 30 minute phone call. Additionally, my staff member can record notes for the client’s file at no charge, further reducing the cost of that phone call for the client.
- Limit the frequency of your communications with your attorney. Some clients call and/or email their attorneys several times a day, nearly every day. This habit is not a problem if you are looking for a sure-fire way to increase your attorney fees. If you find you always have questions for your attorney popping into your mind, then please jot them down on a notepad or otherwise record them and make that call to your attorney only once per day.
- Conduct as much business as you can with your attorney over the phone or via email as opposed to meeting with your attorney in person. For some reason, face-to-face meetings almost always last longer and are more costly to the client than phone calls or emails addressing the same issues. It’s easier to stay on track and to end your conversations in a punctual manner when you are on the phone than it is when you are meeting in person.
- Take your attorney’s advice. I have had clients tell me, “Next time I will listen to you,” far too often. Simply following your attorney’s recommendations can save you many dollars and much heartache. If you don’t trust your attorney’s advice, please hire a different attorney!
- Narrow down your issues. If at all possible, communicate with your spouse and determine what issues the two of you can agree on, write those things down, and tell your attorney. Your attorney can then spend billable time dealing with your outstanding, unresolved issues. The fewer the disputed issues, the lower your bill.
- Be reasonable. Most divorces are ultimately settled out of Court. The goal in settling a lawsuit is for both parties to walk away with an agreement they can live with, not for both parties to get everything they want (that’s impossible). The alternative to being reasonable and reaching a tolerable agreement is to let a neutral third party, who doesn’t know you from Adam, intervene in your life and ORDER you and your spouse to do as he or she sees fit. Not only will you be taking a gamble which could result in an intolerable and unacceptable outcome for you, your attorney fees and expenses will increase exponentially.
One final note about the cost of your divorce, please keep in mind that every time your attorney goes to Court, there are usually, at the very least, several billable hours involved. Your attorney will have to prepare for the proceeding, travel to and from the proceeding, attend the proceeding, and conduct follow-up work. Oftentimes Court appearances are in the client’s best interest and/or they are unavoidable, and therefore it is necessary to incur those fees. There is not much that you can do about that fact. However, despite the fact that sometimes you cannot control the amount of your attorney fees, there are some steps that you can take to reduce your attorney fees, as I’ve outlined above. Try them. You will thank me later!