This week marks the fall equinox, with 2014 approaching faster than we want to believe. While we may prefer to be distracted by drinking pumpkin lattes, watching football games, raking leaves and breathing the crisp air, there is still time to take stock of the year and make sure you aren’t falling behind.

Obviously there are several opportune times during the year to evaluate progress, and it takes intentional effort to set aside time for planning. Aside from the start of the new year, fall is the next best time to hit the reset button. It’s back-to-school time and, whether for your children or just remembering your own school days, that routine seems to automatically influence your mindset and attitude.

4 Self-assessment tips

Open your calendar and block off some time each week to cover these suggested activities, and you’ll be entering the last part of the year with a greater understanding of what still needs to get done.

  • Goals: At the beginning of the year, you may have set some goals for yourself and/or the marketing department. What did you achieve on your list, or what do you still need to work on this year? There’s still time!
  • Budgets: Budget season is nearly upon us. Assess where you are year-to-date against your current year’s budget. Are you on track? What areas have already gone over, before the year has ended? What line items didn’t require as much budget as previously thought? What came up unexpectedly? What did you learn about this year that you want to include in next year’s budget? These answers should help you be prepared to formulate a strategic budget for 2014.
  • Law firm marketing and PR: How have law firm media relations and marketing efforts helped with the firm’s and/or attorneys’ public reputation? Has the strategic focus (if you have one) helped increase visibility? Are the goals being met at this point?  
  • Professional growth: You wear many hats in your job, each one stretching you in 100 directions daily. But don’t lose sight of your own career path. Did you attend a conference or meeting, or take a class that helped you learn a new skill? Professional development is easy to put off and push down the priority list among your increasing tasks, but taking that “you” time will reap greater rewards with your colleagues and supervisor.

These are just to get you started. What other fall-timed planning and assessment activities should you be or are you doing? Leave a comment below, or email me at