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The Five-Second Rule: Attorneys and Timekeeping

Posted by Gaby Isturiz on May 25, 2018 at 8:56 AM


Attorneys, it’s time to face the facts: you’re never going to feel like time entry. What? You say, you’re not surprised?

Ok, so it might not be surprising that you are never going to find yourself “in the mood” to engage in a good time entry session. That said, you may still find yourself saying things like:

“I need to get in the habit of contemporaneous time entry so that I don’t waste hours trying to reconstruct it.”


“My system of writing time entry post-it notes is giving me anxiety.”

Even, “I know that there is time that I’m working, but not recording it, such as when I’m commuting or taking a call at my kid’s soccer practice.”

But still, you haven’t gotten around to it, have you?

In her straight-talking, action-inspiring Tedx talk, Best-selling author of The Five Second Rule, Mel Robbins, offered up this truth nugget:

“In any area of your life that you want to change, there is one fact that you need to know: you’re never going to feel like it. Ever.”

Yikes. So, you are never going to feel like embarking on a practice of contemporaneous time entry. Why not?

“Scientists call it activation energy: the force required to change what you are doing on autopilot to do something new,” says Robbins.

We all know that as adults, we do plenty of things that we don’t feel like every day. In her talk, Robbins explains the need for adults to “parent themselves” in order to adopt positive habits and drive behavioral change. As she points out, this is simple, but not easy - and exactly what holds back many adults from having the life that they want.

So, how can you jumpstart change? Robbins explains that when you have the impulse to do something, if you do not act within five seconds, you will “pull the emergency break” and abandon the thought. Therefore, she advises taking action as soon as an impulse arises. She also explains that the mental impulse needs to be paired with a physical action in order to initiate a change.

She says to start practicing the 5 second rule like this: set your alarm tomorrow morning for 30 minutes earlier than you typically wake up and jump out of bed without hitting the snooze or other delay. Then, begin taking action immediately on things as soon as you have the thought or impulse. “Make yourself do the crap that you don’t want to do so that you can be everything that you are supposed to be” she said.

“Anything that is a break from your routine is going to require force.”

In other words, stop procrastinating and make it happen. Habitual procrastination can create limitations for attorneys, who underestimate the importance of taking action immediately on recording time entries. These limitations can include, but are not limited to: generating inaccurate time entries, violating client guidelines, and compromising client trust.

Are you ready to get started? Do it now.

Will you give the five second rule a try? Let us know how it works out in the comments below.

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