When The Mind And Mobile Technology Are In Sync (And When To Disconnect)

There’s no doubt that new technology is an asset in boosting the learning curve of young associates and in increasing the survival rates of outdated law firms.

Just this morning, results about the prevalence of smartphones among lawyers were staggering. In biglaw, nearly 100 percent of lawyers use a smartphone for law-related tasks. In general, at least a majority (88 percent) of lawyers use a BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, or Windows phone each day.

And, the number of lawyers hosting a law blog is on the rise. Blogging and the use of social media makes for innovative marketing and business strategies in a tight economic climate.

Computers and mobile technology allow attorneys to keep apprised of legal developments for their clients, as well as passing litigation for legal precedent.

So what happens if you unplug, desync, and disconnect?

That’s what Keith Lee, author of An Associate’s Mind Blog, asked  his readers after an incredibly busy work week.

“It was almost with dread that I opened my RSS Reader on Monday morning. There were 300+ new blog entries, news stories, infographics, etc. waiting for me. There was a sense of obligation about the whole thing,” writes Lee.

Although, according to Lee, “With social media, blogging, etc. many people seem to think that a person needs to remain ‘engaged’ and stay on top of things 24/7 in order to be doing it properly,” Lee suggests just saying, “No.”

Unplug the Blackberry, stop monitoring emails on the iPhone, don’t update Twitter on the Android, and forget downloading the latest legal app on your iPad. Once in awhile, throw caution to the wind and mark as “read” every lingering RSS story and blog post.

Instead, spend more free time and weekends with family and friends, pursuing a hobby, or even (horror!) spend the time to cook a few healthy meals at home. Finally, get some rest and sleep well.

While Lee’s joie-de-vivre post is certainly valuable personal advice, it turns out he’s onto something professionally as well.

For decades, studies have indicated that sleep is essential to the consolidation of memories and learning. When you’re up late at night wondering why you can’t remember that research fact—after all, you just read it on your Facebook feed—it could be that you were spending too much time thinking about this information in the first place.

“People who take a nap after learning a new task, for instance, remember it better than those who don’t snooze,” reports Time Health.

Apparently, the brain is doing its best thinking while people doze off or are (seemingly) idle.

“The brain is trying to weave ideas together even when you don’t think you are thinking of anything,” notes Johns Hopkins behavioral neurologist and memory expert Dr. Barry Gordon to Time Health.

So if our brain is busy learning and needs to shut off for improved data processing, why are we so worried about disconnecting from the electronic world of law?

Give Siri, your virtual personal assistant a break once in awhile. Shut off your smartphone and computer. Believe in the benefits of technology without being a slave to it.

And, finally, never worry that “an idle mind is the Devil’s workshop” while scientists can continually confirm, there’s no such thing as a mind at rest.

-WB

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