We frequently visit a family with a daughter who will be a junior in high school in September. I have rarely seen her eyes as they are usually focused on her cell phone texting back and forth with friends.
I wonder what it will be like at a law firm when the current high school students become lawyers?
Years ago, I listened to a podcast interview of Timothy Ferriss, the author of a book titled, The 4-Hour work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich.
As I listened, my first thought was it is a shame no lawyer could ever have a four hour workweek.
My second thought was: Suppose I only worked four hours a week, what in the world would I do with the rest of my week?
I listened intently and thought Mr. Ferriss had some nifty ideas that we can apply to our own hourly billing driven careers. He coined the acronym DEAL.
- Decide what you want
- Eliminate things that do not lead you to what you want
- Automate and delegate to others things they can do that enables you to do more important things
- Liberate-use your newly found free time
Since I wanted to learn what I could do with the rest of my week, I bought Mr. Ferriss’ book and went on his webpage: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com.
There, I found an interesting discussion of E-Mail addiction.
Mr. Ferriss noted that “Crackberry” was the official winner of the 2006 Word-of-the-Year as selected by the editorial staff of Webster’s New World College Dictionary.
He also referenced IQ tests done in 2005 by a psychiatrist at King’s College in London. The tests were given to three groups: the first did nothing but perform the IQ test, the second was distracted by e-mail and ringing phones, and the third was stoned on marijuana.
Not surprisingly, the first group did better than the other two by an average of 10 points.
More interesting was that the group stoned on pot did 6 points better than the group distracted by phone calls and emails.
If the tests reflect on the ability to concentrate, what do you suppose is happening to us as you try to do important work for clients while you are being constantly interrupted by the vibration or ding that you have gotten another email?
How to confront the addiction: I know it would be challenging, but consider only looking at email from 11:30 to 12:00 and 5:30 to 6:00, or only looking at it the last 10 minutes of each hour.
I believe we could be more focused and actually more efficient. Just suppose you created an auto-response, the kind you use when you are out of the office, that told people you are focused on an important project and will be checking email at 11:30 or 5:30.
Do you think you would lose any clients? I think clients would actually appreciate knowing you are totally focused on their matters.