links I like.

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[quote by Seth Godin]

Use public wifi? Here’s what you need to know, to do so safely. (This topic came up in yesterday’s cloud workshop, which reminded me that it’s easy to be lazy when using public wifi. Don’t.)

Spread a little cheer, and send a nice card to your clients, referral sources, and others who support your success throughout the year.

Even better — attach your lovely card to a yummy gift.

Spend some time over the holidays relaxing with a thought-provoking book. Any one of these will fit the bill.

You need downtime. You need to plan for the downtime. Why? Well, “research on naps, meditation, nature walks and the habits of exceptional artists and athletes reveals how mental breaks increase productivity, replenish attention, solidify memories and encourage creativity.”

Gmail’s new Inbox app needs to come to Google Apps before I’m a total convert, but reminders are one reason I really like it.

How does your office measure up as the perfect workspace? (I see a new year’s resolution opportunity here for many lawyers I know …)

Take a few minutes to listen to this quite excellent conversation between Seth Godin and Krista Tippett; Seth’s thoughts on marketing are relevant to lawyers, too. (And if you’re not listening to On Being on a regular basis, I strongly suggest you start doing so.)

The easy way to download YouTube videos.

A to X Writing Advice. good reminders, here.

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

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

meditate on this: buddhify 2

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I’ve been intending to write about buddhify 2 for a number of weeks. Today I came across this meditation on meditation by Russell Simmons and realized that today’s the day.

I’ve been meditating consistently for a while now. Crucial for both my profession and my personality. I’ve written about it before, even.

And since I happened upon it and think the thoughts are pretty spot-on, here’s what Simmons has to say about three benefits of meditation, all quite apropos for the legal profession:

1) Meditation improves focus. By relieving you of distraction. Crucial in this age of digital distraction and multi-tasking.

2) Meditation gets you past “success” and “failure.” Our profession is full of success (highs) and failure (lows). Meditation helps you maintain an even keel throughout all.

3) Meditation helps you be more creative. Simmons points to meditation as a vehicle for creativity, much as it is for focus. I tend to agree, since in the stillness of mind, there exists an atmosphere that can welcome creative thoughts. A busy mind may not notice them.

I have a meditation method of sorts but when I came across the buddhify 2 app I thought I would give it a whirl. My conclusion: it’s a great way for a non-meditator to get into the meditation groove, and it can also give a boost to an established meditation practice.

The app offers a series of guided meditations organized around 15 categories, with each category offering two to three meditations.

I’ve relied on the app’s guided meditations in some specific circumstances and found it incredibly helpful. The big one: I have no trouble falling asleep but often wake up in the middle of the night, mind racing. I keep my iPhone (with earbuds) on my bedside table, set to the “Can’t Sleep” series of meditations (Settle, Gentle, and Whack. Guess which one is my stand-by? Whack.). The calm, British voice of the guided meditation consistently does the trick. Sleep finds me.

I also like the “Feeling Stressed” series (Flip, Replace, Rain). Because I’m a lawyer. And I often feel stress.

Each meditation lasts in the five to 10 minute range. A very small time commitment for a big return on focus. And perhaps a renewed, healthier view on success and failure. And more focus and thus fuel for creativity. My conclusion: you’ve got nothing but a few minutes to lose, and much to gain.

buddhify 2 — 1.99 in the App Store.