A computer has 2 competing purposes: a mind organizer and a mind eraser. The tool we use to refine our thoughts in precision crafted legalese is married to the ultimate implement of distraction – the internet. There are few things as mindless in life as surfing the internet. It’s a semi-passive act. While we do the clicking, the choices are fairly narrow with highlighted keywords, pictures, or video serving as our options. It’s a dissociative experience where most people report “losing track of time” along the way.
I’ve worked in treatment with lawyers who have frittered away hours following the stock market, reading up on gossip, watching videos, or chatting on Facebook as opposed to doing their work. No one’s talking about how much fun it is.
There are no perfect solutions to this inconvenient pairing. Getting your work done requires being able to write briefs on Microsoft Word or to use Outlook to check your schedule and email. At the same time, the internet has become how we learn about things, buy plane tickets, pay our bills, make plans with friends, get directions, etc.
4 Tips to Avoid Procrastination
- Use an egg timer! This way you are being held accountable for the time spent on online distractions.
- Make a list of the things you need to research online and only go to those sites.
- Wait until you get home before you forage in the world of internet mindlessness.
- Print out web pages you want to read, rather than spend more time than necessary behind a computer.
It’s natural for all of us to need breaks from hard work. The trick with procrastination is to feel rejuvenated by the time we spend away from our work, as opposed to feeling avoidant of our responsibilities. Try to recognize if taking a walk around the block, meeting a friend for lunch, or taking a few minutes out to meditate in a local park will serve you better then the latest updates on the Huffington Post or playing Solitaire.
One thought on “4 Procrastination Busters for Lawyers”
Arjen ter Hoeve
Thanks Dan for the ideas on procrastinaton.
Perhaps these tips are also helpful for people (I use them a lot myself and they work for me).
1. schedule time in your day to procrastinate. All the procrastination websites can be viewed in let’s say the last 5 minutes of each hour, or in 30 minutes at the end of the day.
2. Make sure your computer can only access certain sites and have the rest blocked (could be helpful, you can even do this for certain times of the day).
3. Ask an assistant to do research or even create a list of specific pages that you can read. You can also ask your assistant to copy the information in a Word document for less distraction).
Again, many thanks!
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