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Lawyers who multitask are less efficient than those who focus on one task at a time

An article by Marcia Pennington Shannon in Law Practice (June 2005 at 46) [www.shannnonand] cited a 2003 study done by a Univ. of Michigan professor. “The study results indicate that individuals actually lose somewhere between 20 to 40 percent efficiency – or two to three hours per day – as a result of switching between tasks or trying to do more than one complex task simultaneously.” See my post of July 14, 2005 on Blackberries and interruptions.) In-house counsel are notoriously besieged by calls, emails, and drop in visitors, which subjects them not just to multi-tasking but to hypertasking.

To counteract work as a flitting blur, keep a section of your desk clear, prepare to do lists, block off part of the day for thinking. Check your email only at certain times; tackle your toughest tasks when you are metabolically most alert; slow down; and see the article for about ten other ideas.