By Todd Keeler, Director, FileProWith the influx of artificial intelligence and the constant introduction of new technology, it appears that we are losing access to some of the work tasks that we often rely on to recharge or take a breath. Whilst you don’t want to be wasting time on the more low-level tasks, I think you’ll probably agree; there’s an almost meditational quality to switching into autopilot as you scan those documents or fill in your time sheets.
It’s not news that as a lawyer your time is increasingly valuable. It doesn’t make sense for you to be wasting time on tasks that anyone, or anything, can do. But as technology continues to focus on delivering efficiencies and AI becomes widespread, will the mundane and repetitive tasks become extinct? And if so, what does this mean for maintaining sanity during the work day?
Whilst the future of AI is out of our individual hands, you can control how you incorporate productive mini-breaks into your day. Here at FilePro, we were recently joined by Executive Coach and time management guru, Linda Murray. During her sessions, Linda encouraged us to deliberately structure our days; to build balance, to work in manageable blocks, and to take regular breaks in order to maximise efficiency.
Here are my three favourite tips from her sessions:
1. Be realistic with your daily to-do lists and schedules. Work out how long each task will take, and allow a buffer for over-time and unforeseen issues. Don’t create a to-do list which you know you can not complete in a day. Start a second list for the next day if necessary.
2. Focus on the task at hand. Multitasking does not save time! Focus on completing one task before you move on to the next.
3. Divide your day into deliberate blocks of focused attention (maximum 90 minutes). In between these sprints of effort, try to switch your mind off, be present and recharge your mind ready for the next sprint.
Once your time management is under control, start to incorporate some breathing techniques into your day. Dr. Herbert Benson believes that controlling our breath can counteract the fight or flight response and replace it with a relaxation response. Breathwork can be used to physically change the structure of your brain so that it performs at a higher level, even when you’re under pressure. You can read Dr. Benson’s advice on breathing techniques here.
Mindfulness expert, Jodie Gien, recently equipped FilePro readers with 3 quick breathwork strategies she uses to manage stress and anxiety in the moment. Anchoring, 7/11 breathing, and breath counting are all ways in which we can force our brains to remain present. Jodie takes you through her simple techniques step-by-step here.
Next time you're feeling nostalgic for some quiet time at the scanner, have a go at practicing the above strategies. We can’t control the future of AI, but you can control how it works for you.