(And a Primer on Personal Productivity)
I have a mild obsession with notebooks, organization and personal productivity. I’m always looking for new and better ways to get organized, stay informed and maintain focus.
So when I stumbled across the Lawyerist Productivity Notebook, I was intrigued.
If you’re not familiar, Lawyerist is an online community of small law firms. Its cornerstone is a website that provides a wealth of information to help law firms build and grow their practice. While Lawyerist started as a popular blog, it has since grown and evolved into a very active online community with a wealth of resources and tools for small law practices.
Underpinning many of the tools and advice that’s shared on Lawyerist are a set of best-practices and processes that every law firm should employ to run their firm. Lawyerist provides a lot of these tools to their members – things like business plan templates, product comparison charts, work planning and personal organization templates.
And in many ways, the Lawyerist Productivity Journal is the culmination of many of their own, home-baked tools and best practices, learned, developed and refined over years of practicing law and working with busy attorneys.
A Quick Intro to Personal Productivity
At its core, the Lawyerist Productivity Journal is akin to a personal organizer or planner: A physical notebook to manage your projects, tasks, schedule and more.
But it’s a lot more than that.
The Lawyerist Journal is as much a system as it is an organizer. A system to help you keep your arms around your cases and your practice. A system to keep all important information at your fingertips, without losing focus on the things that matter the most.
A quick disclaimer: I’m not an attorney.
But, I am a busy professional with goals, projects, deadlines, tasks… and lots and lots of obligations competing for my attention. Over the years, I’ve experimented with a variety of personal organization systems to manage my projects and my workday, ranging from the Getting Things Done (GTD) system to my own personally-created dashboards and other systems in third-party tools like OneNote. (Some of which I’ve borrowed from Lawyerist’s own, online tools.)
Sidebar: Analog vs. Electronic
Naturally, I’m an avid user of technology. I appreciate great software systems to hold information, manage workflows and generally keep an entire organization on the same page. I, like many business-people, use software to manage clients and sales, software to manage our marketing, software to service clients, software to mange projects and software to manage accounting.
But when it comes to aggregating all of the information (that I need to be aware of) to a single, central system that’s front-and-center at all times, I keep finding myself coming back to a manual, pen-and-paper system to stay organized.
Technology is great… but there’s nothing quite like a notepad, planner or journal to keep everything together and top-of-mind. A pen-and-paper, or “analog” system has inherent benefits that software, even great software, just can’t compete with.
With an analog system for personal productivity and work planning, there’s no menus to right-click > maximize. There’s no clunky login process, or application time-outs. Your system won’t get lost behind other windows. There’s no friction.
With an analog system, such as a journal, your most important things are on your desk, in your face, and will be even if your computer crashes or another window goes full-screen on your computer.
It’s simple and effective. I’m not saying that a lawyer or professional should ditch their technology tools (like their practice management or document management software). Rather, I’m saying that an effective analog system, such as the Lawyerist Journal, can complement your other technology tools and aggregate the information within them. And in a way that keeps you out in front of your work (rather than reacting to it).
The Lawyerist Journal
Coincidentally, I came to the this ultimate realization about the same time that I first stumbled across the Lawyerist Journal. So I immediately ordered one, and anxiously unboxed it when it arrived.