By Ritu Goswamy, Esq.
[Reprinted with permission from the author and Santa Cruz County Bar Association]
While the abilities to focus and concentrate are paramount to being a lawyer, it seems that interruptions and distractions constantly pull us away from what we are doing. When we try to give our attention to everything coming our way, we lose focus and cannot concentrate. Even though we know that focusing on one thing at a time is the only way to really concentrate on it, we still have the habit of pulling that focus away.
It has become the norm to do several things at once in the name of productivity. We feel proud that we have several windows open on our computer, tons of files on our desk, and all the notifications beeping. We feel like we are working! If we just have one task in front of us, it feels weird. So how can we move from the multi-tasking mania to the calm of doing one thing at a time?
Just as we developed these habits of doing many things at once, we can develop the habit of concentration. Here are 5 five ways to make the transition:
- Keep it simple. We feel overwhelmed by all that we have to do at work and in life. Consider simplifying what you really must do. Instead of preparing a case for trial, think about the first simple step to take in that direction. And then concentrate on that action.
- Trust yourself. While others may be doings things differently and perhaps bragging about it on social media, you must trust your own choices. When we make a habit change it feels uncomfortable and we want to go back to our comfort zone. Trust that you are moving in the right direction.
- Focus on the long-term goal. The daily distractions keep us from achieving our long-term goals. People at the end of their lives regret this loss of focus and wasted time on what was not important. Keep a long view of your goals to help you make better choices in the present.
- Let it flow. When we have a simple task in front of us, there may be hiccups and fear of moving forward. That is our resistance to change. Instead of letting the current carry us, we think we should grab onto a tree branch to keep safe. It’s time to let go.
- Have fun. As I move deeper into my self-growth and evolution (as are you), I need to remind myself to have fun. As lawyers we tend to take life very seriously (and it is!), and we forget to enjoy the beauty and wonder of it all. Let’s remember to be playful and to laugh at ourselves.
To improve our concentration, we need to learn how to manage distractions, which is completely in our control. In changing our ingrained habits, a new way of ease and flow awaits. If you are interested in learning more concrete ways to improve concentration on a daily basis, download my book for free at www.newbillablehour.com/free-book.
About the Author
Ritu Goswamy, Esq., is a lawyer and productivity consultant for lawyers. She is the best-selling author of The New Billable Hour: Bill More Hours, Be More Productive, and Still Have Work Life Balance and The Holistic Lawyer: Use Your Whole Brain to Work Smarter Not Harder. Ritu is the creator of the New Billable Hour™ system, which helps lawyers increase their productivity by billing themselves first. She teaches this system directly to lawyers in a way that is engaging, fun, and practical. She consults with lawyers individually and in groups and is an active speaker and trainer in the areas of lawyer productivity, competence, and mindfulness. She also hosts “The New Billable Hour Podcast” for lawyers about time management. For a free copy of her book and other resources, visit: www.newbillablehour.com. Ritu can be reached directly at email@example.com.
Source: Santa Cruz County Bar Association Bar Briefs Newsletter (January, February, March 2020 Issue)