links I like.

The complete guide to structuring your ideal work day. Really good advice here.

Use video on your website? This tool redesigns the interface to match your site’s design. Use it. The Youtube interface isn’t pretty.

Considering cloud storage? Dropbox and OneDrive compared.

Already using Dropbox? Use selective sync to save space on your hard drive.

Use this extension to annotate attachments right in Gmail. Without downloading.

Remember the mix tape? Go here and make one. Listen to it. Share. Guaranteed to improve your mood.

In the market for a new laptop? Check out this interactive shopping guide “map.”

Need to learn a new skill or develop a habit? Try the pomodoro technique using Persevy.

And if you don’t know what the pomodoro technique is (or why you should care), then go here.

If you don’t like networking, you may be doing it wrong. The goal? Make friends, not simply contacts.

Links I like is a semi-regular Friday feature on Inspired Law Blog, and like all other posts, is written by Caitlin (Cat) Moon, a consultant and coach to lawyers and other driven people who want to design inspired ways to work.

rabbit holes and willpower.

The internet is full of rabbit holes. Some of the known ones: Facebook, Twitter, Feedly, Reddit, and pretty much any eye candy “news” site (Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, even The New Yorker and Mother Jones for that matter …).

Staying committed to your work instead of engaging in an hours-long dalliance? This requires willpower, my friends.

Ironically, a daily visit to one of my rabbit holes (my Feedly RSS feed) yielded this timely advice to avoid the distraction afforded by rabbit holes (and other things):

• Treat willpower as a skill that you can (and should) practice.

• Set achievable goals. Start by breaking down big projects into smaller pieces. And start knocking them out.

• Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking (at least effectively) is a myth.

• Don’t deplete your reserves on things that don’t matter. Get enough sleep; delegate the work that sucks the life out of you; don’t eat junk; get some exercise. You get the picture.

• Do the hard stuff first. Mark Twain called this eating the frog. Get it out of the way and the rest of your day is a piece of cake.

• Make the effort. Strengthening your willpower muscle isn’t hard, but you have to take the steps to do it.

[Inspiredlawblog is written by Cat Moon, a lawyer + coach who is sometimes successful in exercising her willpower muscle, and loves helping others be successful, too.]

are you moving?

What are you doing to move today? Like Einstein, I think this may be a key to balance in life. The thing that keeps you from going over one edge or another. Or, heaven forbid, stopping altogether.

A challenge: each day, do one think that moves a goal you have forward. It can be a little, big, or in between thing. Just move. Act. Take a step. Do something.

Put it on your calendar. Add it to your kanban board. Each day, move the MOVE card from “ready” to “doing” to “done.” Tomorrow, start over.

[Inspiredlawblog is written by Cat Moon, who practices law and also helps people figure out how to keep moving.]

are you choosing your should or MUST?

If your work life and the rest of your life align perfectly and you are blissful in your practice, then there is no need for you to read this. And congratulations!

However, if this isn’t the case … if you have any twinge of desire to do things differently, whether it’s a shift in how/what/where you practice [or maybe doing something altogether unrelated to the practice of law?!], then read this.

For those of us who allow ourselves to go there? We have a MUST. And most of us don’t pursue the must. We obediently follow the should. How sad.

Me? Lookout MUST! Here I come.

[Inspiredlawblog is written by Cat Moon, a lawyer + coach who is committed to living her MUST and loves helping others do the same.]

Illustration by Elle Luna.

a new blog.

If you’ve got a chaotic home life to manage, my new blog KanbanKid may be of interest.

I’m taking my preferred approach to effectiveness — kanban — and applying it to life at home. To manage house stuff, kid stuff, anything related to what needs to get accomplished with the family.

And I’m writing about it on the new blog. There aren’t a lot of resources for using kanban as a family organizational tool, so I thought I would attempt to fill the void.

I’ll be writing about kanban (and it’s cousins agile and kaizen) as applied to personal and professional work strategy soon, too. Maybe here, or maybe somewhere else.

These methods of managing workflow have incredible application to the legal profession — any service industry, actually. So stay tuned.

[Inspiredlawblog is written by Cat Moon, a lawyer and coach who uses kanban to manage too many works-in-progress and maintain sanity. She also helps others learn how to use this and other tools for effectiveness. She believes we are happiest when we are effective, not productive.]

is the practice of law killing your creativity?

Yes, creativity. And I’m not talking about your cast-aside attempts at pottery-throwing or watercolor.

I’m talking about your ability to be a good lawyer. A lawyer who thinks creatively to solve clients’ problems. Or avoid them in the first place.

A good lawyer is a creative lawyer.

But if you’re a lawyer who isn’t getting enough sleep or finding  (even a little) time to relax and release stress and anxiety? Then you’re more likely to suck at finding creative solutions for problems. Both your clients’ problems. And your own.

Why? There’s a perfectly logical, scientifically-based reason. Of course.

Our creative insights are more likely to come when when our brain is in a relaxed (RELAXED!) enough state to create new neural connections.

Seriously, it’s a wonder that lawyers have any creative thoughts at all, given our level of stress and anxiety depression. But I digress …

Here’s the deal: our brain has two separate pattern recognition systems: the explicit and the implicit.

In the explicit (rule-based, tied to conscious awareness), the neurons communicating with each other are typically in close proximity.

But not so in the implicit. This system, which relies on skill and experience, isn’t consciously accessible and can’t be described verbally. “When the implicit system is at work, far-flung corners of the brain are chit-chatting.” And this, my friends, is what creativity feeds on — your brain’s ability to put information together in new ways.

Before you can try out the hacks to work the implicit system to your advantage, you have to actually create the opportunity for your brain to relax. Yep.

Get enough sleep, e.g. > 6 hours (for most of us). Exercise. Meditate. Disconnect from the constant connection to work.

Not only will you find the brilliant, creative thoughts flowing, I predict. But you’ll also be happier. An added bonus!

[Inspiredlawblog is written by Cat Moon, a lawyer and coach who works with lawyers and other interesting folks who seek fulfilling, happy lives. Even at work. Especially at work?]

*quote by John Steinbeck

a little Evernote trick.

If you’re not using Evernote, no need to read further. Although I think you should be using Evernote. (Here’s a little post I wrote for the uninitiated.)

If you are using Evernote on a Mac, then you should know this:

HOW TO DELETE A NOTEBOOK.

No, you don’t just click on the notebook and hit the “delete” key. Which, by the way, is how you delete a note.

You must hold down the control key, select the notebook, and a menu appears. See screenshot below.

You now can do all kinds of neat things with your notebook. Including delete it. Yay!

[Inspiredlawblog is written by Cat Moon, a lawyer and coach who works with lawyers and other interesting folks who seek fulfilling, happy work lives.]