The worst time to procrastinate

Written by Steven Levy

Procrastination isn’t always a bad thing.

For example, it’s a proven maxim of project management to make decisions as late as possible. If you don’t need to make a decision now, don’t – because more facts will trickle in over time, information may change, and sometimes you’ll discover the decision doesn’t need to be made at all.

However, in working with attorneys, I’ve noticed that many put off one action in particular that exposes them to significant risk.

If your computer asks you to update either the operating system (e.g., Microsoft Windows) or your antivirus software, do it. Now.

We all hate these interruptions – and I for one spend considerable time counseling clients against allowing themselves to be interrupted unnecessarily. However, security updates are very necessary interruptions.

Consider two facts.

  1. There are folks with bad intent out there.
  2. Computer systems are perhaps the most complex systems ever created, their complexity multiplied to an almost incomprehensible degree by the variety of apps and settings individual users append to their core accounts.

It’s not Microsoft’s fault, or Apple’s, or yours. It’s just life. If we want the richness that comes with open, flexible computer systems, we have to accept the risks that accompany such flexibility. Yeah, I know you don’t want to hear that – and in some ways this reality goes against what lawyers have been taught about fault and responsibility. But from a practical standpoint, it is reality.

The reason your computer receives security updates is because various hacks have been discovered that can expose your computer to compromise. Those companies that take an honest, straightforward approach to security attempt to release updates before the bad actors can release malware that takes advantage of what’s been discovered (often by third party researchers).

In other words, there is often little time to lose in updating your computer.

So don’t put it off, even if it involves a bit of waiting and then rebooting (which means waiting some more).

At the Attorney With a Life site, we columnists often talk about ways to limit computer usage so you can truly live that life. But we want you to limit it at the appropriate times. Don’t let the bad guys set the limits by leaving your computer unprotected. Please.


About the author

Steven Levy

As the CEO of Lexician, I help lawyers around the world manage their projects, their time, their teams, and their clients. I am the author of four books for legal professionals, including the new edition of the groundbreaking Legal Project Management and the time-management guide, The Off Switch. Before founding Lexician, I was the former head of Microsoft’s Legal Operations / Technology department. You can contact me at or learn more at

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