Step 4: Do Not Spend (Much) Money When Work Gets Crazy

Here is a thing that happens when you are a lawyer: sometimes you get very, very, very busy.

Some examples drawn from friends:

  • It’s 4pm, and I haven’t eaten my breakfast yet.
  • My spouse has stopped asking when I’m going to come home for dinner because he knows I’m lying when I give an estimate.
  • I went to work with mismatched shoes because I got two hours of sleep last night.

Here is a thing that happens to me when I am slammed at work: I BUY THINGS.

Lunch (didn’t have time to bring it).  Coffee. (Obvious why I need this).  Chocolate (same).  More chocolate.  Yet more chocolate.

This time, however, I was determined to avoid I-Am-Running-Around-Like-A-Maniac-And-Therefore-Need-To-Purchase-Dumb-Stuff-Itis.  It worked . . . mostly.  My plan of action was:

  1. Bring cans of soup for lunch.  Keep them under my desk.  Going out to buy lunch is a giant waste of time when I’m slammed, anyway.*
  2. Bring a giant Ziploc of almonds to work.  This is healthy and cheap.  And, I swear, it is almost magic in terms of energy boosting.
  3. Pack my dinner (if necessary).  I did this three times this week.  It is possible.  I swear.
  4. Carefully save and submit ALL my receipts for reimbursement.  I can’t tell you how much money I have wasted by stupidly failing to submit reimbursement requests.  Hopefully you aren’t as dumb as I am.
  5. When I felt like I must leave my office for 15 minutes or my head would explode, instead of going out to buy a cup of coffee, I took a quick walk around the building.  Works even better.
  6. Bring my own, nice, tea bags.  This is key.  Everywhere you go has hot water, and this prevented the urge to go out and buy fancy coffee because the (free) office coffee is terrible.

Like I said, it mostly worked.  That leads to point 7: it’s OK to cave and buy a salted carmel brownie.

*This can be hidden by a pile of briefs or other lawyerly-documents if you are worried about looking like you’ve been evicted and moved into your office.

2 thoughts on “Step 4: Do Not Spend (Much) Money When Work Gets Crazy

  1. Abby

    I totally understand about forgetting to expense receipts! Here are two tricks that have really worked for me. (1) Use online ordering, whether it’s Eat24.com or Uber. Both services will send you an electronic receipt, which can act as a reminder to expense the item. If you have an assistant, you can simply forward this along to him/her. (2) Put all expenses on one credit card, separate from your personal credit card. That way, you know everything on there must be expensed by the end of the month. Makes it a lot harder to forget about those pesky expenses this way! Best of luck!

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