find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Unlocking your productivity and creativity

Unlocking your productivity and creativity

Unlocking your productivity and creativity

A business coach has shared the personal and business benefits of mindfulness for lawyers in all areas of the profession.

At the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association’s (ALPMA) Leadership and Culture seminar in May, business coach Petris Lapis described the shift towards ‘mindful leadership’ in Australian law firms, and the impact in can have on productivity and wellbeing.

She went on to explain the benefits of mindfulness for all legal professionals, emphasising focus and self-awareness.

Ms Lapis said multitasking is one of the most common practices that reduce productivity and increase stress levels – even if you think you’re good at it.

She quoted studies from several leading US universities that found multitasking significantly decreases speed and accuracy.

“Multitasking takes 50 per cent longer than doing one task after another task,” Ms Lapis said.

“It also doubles your error rate if you’re working with numbers and triples it if you’re working with language.

“Harvard University was able to test the IQ of people who continued to write a report while they spoke to someone on the phone, which would be most of us. Your IQ drops to that of an eight-year-old.

“So if I can hear my lawyer clicking away on the keyboard while they’re talking to me, I’m getting legal advice from an eight-year-old and I’m not really happy.”

Mindfulness provides an alternative to this scattered approach. In an article titled, The Multitasking Myth Exposed, Ms Lapis wrote that mindfulness can help people improve their focus and prioritisation.

“The key to achieving more, and coping better while you do, is to focus on one task at a time and wisely choose which task that is,” she said.

“Mindfulness can help you to do this. Some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies and universities are using mindfulness training to help people cope and stay focused in challenging work environments.

“At its most basic level, mindfulness means paying attention to one thing at a time. It is practised by sitting quietly and focusing on one thing. That one thing could be breathing. Every time your mind wanders from your breath, you bring it back and regain your focus.

“Eventually this training carries through into every moment of your working day so you are able to focus and concentrate on one thing at a time in a more productive way.”

Ms Lapis offered four tips to begin practising mindfulness:

  1. Do one thing at a time.
  2. Complete similar tasks at the same time (but one after the other).
  3. Have set times for checking email and other tasks which break concentration.
  4. Take regular breaks. Your brain (and the rest of you) operates in 90-minute cycles known as ultradian rhythms. At the end of a cycle, your body will send you the signal that it needs a break to refresh. Take notice of these signals and walk away from your desk for a few moments. This will help you stay alert and focused when you resume your task.

At the ALPMA seminar, Ms Lapis noted that mindfulness can also help lawyers make time to find creative solutions to problems, which is essential in a shifting legal environment.  

“The industry that you are in is changing massively,” she said.

“You need to find ways to be creative about what you do in law, and if you’re flat out busy all the time there’s no space to do so.”

Ms Lapis said this is because the brain has two ‘modes’ of operating: task-positive and task-negative.

“The task-positive network [is engaged] when you’re sitting there and youre doing the spreadsheet or youre writing the report,” she said.

“While youre doing that you will not be creative. There is no scope or capacity to [be creative] because youve engaged that side of the brain.

“So when people start to change cultures in firms, they schedule in moments when there is no busyness, moments where we can actually think about whats going on and what we could potentially do differently.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Unlocking your productivity and creativity
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 24 2017
Demand lifts in 2017/18 for short-term finance to cover crises
Promoted by NWC Finance. The first five months of the 2017-18 financial year have seen unpreceden...
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
Nov 24 2017
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
The Law Council of Australia says the establishment of a panel which will examine the human right to...
Law Society launched a new website, legal politics and lawmaking
Nov 24 2017
Law Society launches project to engage young Aussies
The Law Society of NSW has launched a new website to engage young Australians in legal politics and ...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...