Tips for maximizing productivity

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  • | 12:00 p.m. May 2, 2016
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We all have days when there just aren’t enough hours to be as productive as we intend. Between work, family, health and other activities, we constantly are on the go.

During my year as president of The Jacksonville Bar Association, I’ve had many amazing opportunities that conflicted with my already-packed schedule.

I found that to successfully accomplish my tasks, goals and dreams, I had to refine and implement some “life hacks” to maximize my productivity, focus and enjoyment.

No. 1: Intentional multitasking

To increase efficiency this year, I committed to multitasking less with the exception of intentional multitasking.

We tend to believe that multitasking makes us more productive. However, when our brain switches back and forth between tasks, it has the opposite effect.

My “life hack” while working on key projects has been to turn my phone to airplane mode, close email tabs and set a timer to focus on that project for a certain amount of time.

But, I also choose to intentionally multitask by leveraging portions of my time to listen to audiobooks and podcasts while I drive, work out and do house chores.

For all of us, it is critical to read and acquire new knowledge, but it is difficult to do with growing demands for our time.

I’ve found that listening while completing routine tasks is the perfect solution.

We are in the process of developing a series of mentoring JBA podcasts to use this “life hack” to support our members and legal community.

I’d like to thank County Judge Gary Flower, Circuit Judges Elizabeth Senterfitt and Tatiana Salvador and others for their support of this endeavor.

Thanks also to Michael Bateh, JBA board member; Heather Quick, chair of the Judicial Relations Committee; and members of the JBA Judicial Relations and Professionalism committees.

Florida Coastal School of Law also deserves thanks, in particular, President Dennis Stone; Dean Scott DeVito; Korin Munsterman, associate dean, library and technology; and Christopher Johnsen, technology.

This team has helped provide insight, guidance and support during the development of these helpful podcasts.

No. 2: Taking to the outdoors

Research shows the average American spends 89 percent of their time indoors.

Experts say that amount of indoor time can create a “nature deficit disorder,” which leads to depression and anxiety.

I encourage you to spend more time outdoors. Going outside will help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve immune functions.

It gives our brain a boost, which leads to increased productivity, focus, and creativity. It also improves mood and self-esteem, increases Vitamin D level and improves physical strength and endurance.

The JBA has provided an outlet to help you get outside and network with our Tuesday Walk and Talks and the Yoga for Legal Warriors.

These programs have provided me, as well as many others, an opportunity to soak in the benefits of being outdoors while building and enhancing relationships with JBA members and staff.

Thank you to Alison H. Sausaman, Meagan Logan, Jamie Karpman, Sarah Sullivan, Kathy Para, County Judge Eleni Derke, Kathy Carver, Susan Sowards and many others for your participation.

Although that list includes only women, we’ve had some male presence at our yoga and Walk and Talk events. We appreciate and welcome everyone.

Research shows that on an average day, men spend more time outdoors than woman do and as a result, they get the amazing benefits of being outside.

Ladies, I’m encouraging you to make time for yourself and some of that time should be outdoors. I specifically mentioned the ladies above to congratulate them and to encourage others to follow their lead.

The Yoga for Legal Warriors and Walk and Talks are inspiring, energizing and fun. If you are looking for a pick-me-up, come join us. You will not regret it.

No. 3: Teamwork makes dreams work

When motivated people join forces to achieve goals, remarkable things can happen.

I praise Anthony “Tony” Zebouni, vice chair of our Community Outreach Section, for his leadership and ideas.

Tony reached out to explore recognizing the Duval Legislative Delegation by inviting them to our members luncheon with Mayor Lenny Curry.

Many of our representatives in Tallahassee have served our community well for years and are term-limited.

We put a plan in place and the team got to work. Tony, along with Loree French, chair of the Governmental Relations Committee, General Magistrate Maria Aguila and many others coordinated the invitations, news releases and marketing.

The majority of our legislators attended and reconnected with our members. The impact of this idea and teamwork was phenomenal.

During this past year, I have benefited from the help, support and ideas of many of you to make what, in June of 2015 seemed like a far-reaching dream, a reality in 2016. Thank you.

No. 4: Conquer technology

Technology is a double-edged sword. It helps us work faster and more efficiently, but it also allows us to spend limitless time on emails, texts and social media sites. It deprives us of uninterrupted personal time.

Technological advances also have raised the expectations of clients and colleagues, who expect speedy responses 24/7.

Detaching from technology is essential to our well-being. I have accomplished this primarily while swimming, practicing yoga and working out, but you can find a way to limit your screen time with a method that works best for you. Just give your eyes and thumbs a break.

On the other side of that notion, we must also be educated on the rapid advancements of technology.

Do you know about the ethics rules that apply to legal social media and blogs? Do you know about the latest e-discovery tools to best position your client? Do you know how to use technology to best present your case?

To get the answers to these questions and much more, I invite you to join us May 11 at the JBA Technology Conference at TPC Sawgrass. You can register

Please join me in thanking Michael Orr, JBA board member, for his outstanding planning and work for this conference.

I hope that these “life hacks” are helpful to you and that you will come to our events and share your insight with our fellow JBA members so that we can all be less busy and more productive.

Have a happy, healthy and productive month!

Giselle Carson is an attorney at Marks Gray.