That is something many lawyers struggle with. Whether management is requiring you to develop business or you are requiring it of yourself the issue of “overwhelm” needs to be addressed. Your practice needs help! Get your infrastructure in place. Here are a few ideas to help you create a process that will keep “overwhelm” to a minimum.
1. Identify your team. Who can you count on? Who produces work that is of the quality and standards you require? I’m a fan of identifying contract professionals that can be called upon when needed. You need to do this in advance, when there is time to have meaningful conversations. Not at the moment of “overwhelm.” Get a team of good, qualified, happy people around you. People that will be thrilled when you bring in a new matter, and that you can count on to get the job done right.
2. Learn to say no. Sometimes our “overwhelm” is imposed by others. Practice saying, “No… not at this time.” When you say it this way, your “no” isn’t personal. Then follow it up with… “I can fit it in next Monday, would that work for you?” With this method you are in control of your schedule, instead of letting someone else be in charge.
3. Plan in advance. This will help you identify where you will need assistance and what tasks can be done ahead of time. Advanced planning makes the crunch time easier to manage.
Make a commitment to do it! It’s easy to become complacent when things are under control. But just as sure as the sun comes up in the morning… you will have another crisis of “overwhelm.” It will happen; it’s just a question of when. Be prepared and you’ll get through it with a minimal amount of stress and chaos.