My Apple Watch buzzes and I wake up excited. I climb out of bed, careful not to disrupt my husband and tiptoe past my sleeping pandemic pup (now an eighteen-month old Rhodesian Ridgeback who has captured every heart in the house). I practice my best tracking steps (walk to the outside of your foot) so as not to set off the creaky floorboards of our pre-war apartment. I always fail, but the kids slumber on. This hour to myself while my home is still asleep has become the most precious time of my day. I light a candle and sit in meditation with a guided practice from the app Insight Timer.
I migrate over to my desk and capture my time from the day before. “Billing time” is pretty much every lawyer, and every lawyer’s client’s, least favorite thing! My partners and I are always strategizing ways to do away with the billable hour but haven’t quite gotten there yet – let us know if you have any ideas.
The house wakes up! This hour shifts the mood as the kids come sleepy-eyed in with requests and concerns. We eat, we rally homework and water bottles, we get boxing gloves and gymnastics outfits into backpacks, and best of all we all get puppy hugs and cuddles. By 7:30 the kids are off to the school bus and the dog is out for a walk with my husband. I take a little time to clean the kitchen, make a tea, and get dressed for the day. In the time of COVID getting dressed is a riot – is it sweatpants and a tee-shirt for a day at home? Is it jeans and a button-down for Zoom meetings? And now, sometimes, it’s actually proper clothes for in-person gatherings. My husband and I take a few minutes to connect on whatever is front and center and then its off to either work, pilates, yoga or a quick dance cardio class on the Obe fitness app.
I try to keep this window open to start the day with emails I didn’t get to from the day before or client matters awaiting my attention. Sometimes client calls creep their way in to accommodate schedules (I’m looking at you Europe).
My morning calendar is packed full of internal calls with individual lawyers, non-lawyer team members or full practice areas. I love these meetings and cannot wait until we can hold more of them in person when we open our New York City office early in 2022. I squeeze in email replies and internal slack questions as I have time.
Time when I talk to clients, potential clients, reply to email questions and requests, confer with the team on client matters and review work product from associates. It’s always a true high to learn about a client’s progress and growth – new hires, new affiliations and collaborations, new business deals or business lines. Oh, and I always get out for a walk with the puppy! We usually do a half-hour in the neighborhood of over to the park around noon. Any fellow Upper West Siders want to meet for a walk?
I try to keep this window free of calls for more focused work for either client matters or firm related business. A couple of times a week I have meetings with my partners or other larger strategy meetings. However, as the kids come tumbling home between 4 and 5, this block is typically not as focused as I might have hoped! Guess I’ll need to wait for the office to open before I truly have focused work time.
Family time. I love to cook so I try to prep on the weekends in order to have time for homecooked meals. However, not every day works out that way so we do order-in sometimes too. Family dinner is important to me; I try to get us all around a table as many nights as possible. There’s also homework and showers and stories from the day; cleaning the kitchen and prepping for tomorrow. It’s a fun but exhausting window!
I will check back in with email and slack for a bit to make sure there’s nothing pressing and review my calendar for the next day – what will I wear!?
Final kisses and tucking in of kids, a chat with my husband and maybe a little reading. Sadly, I usually start dosing by the third page. When do people fit in TV!?