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Did You Ever Work All Day And Feel Like You’ve Done Nothing?

by Carolyn Elefant on October 24, 2005 · 6 comments

in Law Practice Management

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Have you ever left the office feeling exhausted after a hectic day where it seemed as if all you did was talk on the phone and respond to emails?  Whenever that happens to me, I’m inclined to blame myself for lacking the focus or discipline to stick to task.  But truth is, apparently, the difficulty with staying on task in this sound-bite, fast moving, multi-tasking  age isn’t a personal deficiency.  Rather, it’s a logical outgrowth of technology that enables us to do so much that it constantly sends us into overdrive.  That’s part of the message of this NYT Magazine piece by Clive Thomas, Meet the Life Hackers (thanks to GAL  for the tip and his post on the piece).

We solos face these issues even more directly because we don’t always have the luxury of delegating a return phone call or email to a subordinate.  So it’s all too easy to get pulled away from what we’re working on.  And as Thomas’ piece points out, the problem with the interruption isn’t so much the time consumed by the new task, rather, it’s the time that’s required to resume the previous one.

I don’t know that the article offered many solutions to the problem of interruptions; it’s still a topic being studied by scientists.  But at least it made me realize that there’s not something wrong with me – and that realization will at least improve my mood after one of those harried days when I get nothing done.

  • Robin

    I read that article and was very interested in the results of the survey of productive people: a large % of them used a single system to remind them of their “to do” list and other critical information and most relied on a low-tech solution. I have been criticized for years by everyong from colleagues to my husband to my chiropractor for using a paper (Franklin) planner. I feel vindicated!

  • Robin

    I read that article and was very interested in the results of the survey of productive people: a large % of them used a single system to remind them of their “to do” list and other critical information and most relied on a low-tech solution. I have been criticized for years by everyong from colleagues to my husband to my chiropractor for using a paper (Franklin) planner. I feel vindicated!

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq David Giacalone

    Carolyn, I don’t think we should let ourselves off the hook so easily. See my post multi-non-tasking, which discusses Paul Chin’s recent article, “Unplugged: Information Overload Requires a Human Solution,”
    (Intranet Journal, Oct. 13, 2005).
    For example, Chin says: “If you don’t already possess the basic skills to manage information, technology might become a hindrance more than a help

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq David Giacalone

    Carolyn, I don’t think we should let ourselves off the hook so easily. See my post multi-non-tasking, which discusses Paul Chin’s recent article, “Unplugged: Information Overload Requires a Human Solution,”
    (Intranet Journal, Oct. 13, 2005).
    For example, Chin says: “If you don’t already possess the basic skills to manage information, technology might become a hindrance more than a help

  • http://www.jeffreytdonner.com Jeff

    Great post. Low tech is the wave of the future. Oliver Wendall Holmes never had a computer, and he was a very successful lawyer.

  • http://www.jeffreytdonner.com Jeff

    Great post. Low tech is the wave of the future. Oliver Wendall Holmes never had a computer, and he was a very successful lawyer.

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