The Monday Morning Practice for this first week of October is inspired by Steven Levy’s column on Friday.
This practice is designed for lawyers who use social media periodically through the day and are concerned that it is causing them to lose valuable work time.
Self–observation exercise: social media usage
The goal of this exercise is to become aware of how much I am using social media during the workday, and to observe my thoughts related to this.
Stop twice each day – at lunch and at the end of the day – and ask the following questions. It is important to record the responses in some form of journal. Carry this out for one week.
- When did I use social media?
- How much time did I spend on it each time?
- What caused me to shift from working to browsing social media?
- What were the benefits of browsing social media?
- What were the costs of browsing social media?
- How do I feel about what I have observed here?
- What action will I take from what I have observed?
To help you to follow this exercise daily for a week:
- Print out this practice and keep it in a visible location on your desk.
- First thing in the morning, re-read the instructions to remind yourself to observe your actions throughout the day.
- Set an alarm, appointment, or other reminder to take a moment to record your observations at mid-day and at the end of the day before you leave the office.
- Get a journal or a notebook for recording your observations and keep it in a visible place on your desk.
In the past months I have had more than a few conversations with lawyers who go on and off social media – Facebook mainly – during the day and are concerned about how this is eating into their productive work time. In some cases it is used as a stress relieving activity but one that unfortunately results in lots of lost time. If you discover that you are diving into Facebook because you are avoiding something that is stressing you out, try a different approach to stress management, one that will actually help you lower your stress and get back on track. Here’s an article I wrote for the blog slaw.ca with an alternative approach to reducing your stress.