Lawyers face option overload when choosing what tech they need for productivity — and adopting a better approach can help. Here’s expert advice on how to Kondo your Law Practice Toolbox so it sparks joy.

Back in April, our friends at Attorney at Work sourced an expert roundup of tips for lawyers to stay focused on productivity amidst the myriad tech tools on the market and in development. To make the advice more practical, our contributions followed the “One thing in, One thing out” rule for organizing physical spaces. You can read more on the following tips in the full post on Attorney at Work.

  1. Add encryption. Let go of fax machines. Sharon Nelson and John Simek discuss a critical step to protect your practice and your clients.
  2. Add personal interactions. Let go of impersonal processes. Lee Rosen reminds us tech is supposed to help us connect — not act as a barrier.
  3. Add true practice management functionality. Let go of thinking you don’t need training. Natalie Kelly breaks down why you need to invest more time on your main tech.
  4. Add 4 questions to vet your needs. Let go of Shiny Object Syndrome. Sheila Blackford offers the filter you need to run tech purchases through.

Finally, my best advice to lawyers: Add more breaks. Let go of burnout. Lawyers can increase productivity and well-being simultaneously — though many struggle to accept it. Seems counterintuitive, right? How can we be more productive and profitable if we are not working? In fact, loads of evidence shows that occasional breaks will increase productivity and concentration, and reduce burnout. Most people can only truly concentrate for 15- to 25-minute periods of time. When you work nonstop and disregard your well-being, you will burn out. Then, not only are you unable to bill, but you could jeopardize your entire practice and possibly your license.

Taking a break is easier said than done. As a profession of smart, motivated individuals who work hard to achieve results and make an impact, we don’t want to let up. But we now know all too well that those internal pressures combined with external pressures from clients create a stressful profession that has had serious consequences on lawyer well-being over time, including high rates of problem drinking, depression and anxiety. (See the American Bar Association’s National Task Force Report on Lawyer Well-Being.)

Let go of 24/7 work and intentionally build breaks into your day — and no, not breaks to check email. During those breaks, get out of your space, move around, or consider practicing deep breathing. Research suggests that controlled deep breathing can help you relax, reduce stress, boost self-esteem and increase overall health. All those things will improve your efficiency and, as a result, your ability to bring in business, bill and collect. Try using your calendar, a timer, an app or your smartwatch to notify you when it is time to take a break. Start small, with mini-breaks such as a one-minute breathing exercise. If you own an Apple Watch, use the “Breathe” feature to notify you at prescribed intervals to just breathe.

Of course, utilizing tech efficiently can help you sustain a better work-life balance. We’ll wrap up with our essentials: