SWAG - as in, the freebies you get at a conference or seminar or convention… it stands for STUFF WE ALL GET.

And for some reason, even the most discerning anti-junk, anti-clutter minimalist, when confronted with these FREE things, loses all self control and allows them into the bag, into the luggage, and into the home.

We often pay too much when we pay nothing. Most transactions have an upside and a downside, but when something is FREE! we forget the downside. FREE! gives us such an emotional charge that we perceive what is being offered as immensely more valuable than it really is.
— Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, Dan Ariely

W.T.F. Why do we go gaga for free shit, friends?! We know that stuff and clutter cause anxiety. Which is the last thing we want and need as trial attorneys trying hard to get into the zone and be as focused as possible. So why do we let SWAG into our homes and offices?

I recently attended an amazing all-women’s seminar. The vendors really went all-in for the swag and it was hands down some of the cutest best stuff I’ve seen: RBG action figure, Wonder Woman socks, scented candles, rose-gold insulated water bottles, and more. So good. So much respect to these vendors for the time and effort they put into these amazing take-home items for us.

I’ll confess- in a weak moment , I brought these items up to my hotel room. I looked at them there and then before the conference ended, I took the items back down to the registration desk and “re-gifted” them to the staff and other vendors (and other participants). I realized that if I put them into my luggage, they would wind up in my home, and I’d wind up dusting them, storing them, moving them around, sticking them in my junk drawer, and eventually struggling with their elimination.

So- I left almost all of it there. (Let’s be real here- an RBG action figure and WW socks- those are a HELL YES and those came home with me).

So why does this matter to you, the trial attorney?

“Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves. Messy homes and workspaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. Yet, rarely is clutter recognized as a significant source of stress in our lives,” Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter wrote in an article for Psychology Today.

I think by now you’ve gathered that the Trial Athlete program looks at ways to optimize the human -the trial attorney. So how much energy are we losing or giving up by accepting SWAG and having it litter our office or our home? And here’s a hint -this energy suck is 100% within our control.

So here’s the challenge - stop bringing free shit home from your conferences. Seriously. Leave it there. And- gut the stuff you’ve already allowed into your home and office. Those free tshirts, coffee mugs, stress balls, pens, lanyards, etcetera etcetera… . GET IT GONE. Feel your energy increase as you experience more white space and less “stuff” sitting around consuming energy from you.