Eva Likey

Photographs, recipes and favorite things of a Boston-based law student originally from Hong Kong
Posts tagged "productivity monday"

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Productivity Monday is devoted to sharing tricks of the trade and law school survival skills

Awhile back I shared a productivity matrix I read as a teenager. It’s been a favorite way of getting my thoughts in order and managing my time.

Lifehacker recently shared a great post reinvisioning the productivity matrix in terms of a jedi. And you know me - reference star wars in anything and you have my attention.

Lifehacker offers practical advice on how to limit your distractions including:

  • Turn off notifications
  • Scheduling your prioritities
  • Turning off the TV
  • Learning to say no.

To this I would briefly add turn off wifi and answer emails offline in set chunks of time. I use a three folder system to keep emails manageable. But since (finally) switching over to Gmail’s web interface exclusively, I rely on Gmail Offline (for Chrome) for times when I desperately need to tackle my inbox while stemming the influx of emails.

[Image via Lifehacker]

Productivity Monday is devoted to sharing tricks of the trade and law school survival skills

One of the greatest privileges of being at Harvard Law School is getting the opportunity to personally hear some of the greatest thinkers in our generation. Earlier this semester, Justice Clarence Thomas spoke on campus. Justice Thomas is famous for his brilliant opinions and seven year long silence while on the bench (broken earlier this year). To hear him speak in person was profoundly inspiring, particularly because of his own experiences as a minority and the strength of his convictions. As a law student, it was reassuring to know that even Supreme Court Justices were once intimidated in class at law school. Although I have many takeaways to share, I couldn’t help but notice Justice Thomas’ own techniques for dealing with the workload and pressure from the bench. So without further ado, I give you Justice Thomas’ productivity tips.

Have a system

The justices (and their clerks) face a demanding workload. While each justice approaches cases differently, it all breaks down without a defined system. Routine and structure can become your best friend when they become habits. Whether you are faced with a term paper or a court decision, having a clear system will serve carving out a way to finding the answer.

Diligence is irreplaceable

Justice Thomas said that he probably gives the most brutal of welcome speeches to his new clerks. He has relentless standards for himself and those who work for him. There are no excuses. He drew from the collective experience of his family and the broader experience of blacks living in the South - that nothing replaces hard work. When the work seems to stretch farther than the horizon, there is no replacement for simply putting your nose to the grindstone.

Recognize the value of rational disagreement 

Reflecting on sharing a bench with Justice Ginsburg, Justice Thomas stated “Ruth, it is a pleasure working you. And it will be a pleasure disagreeing with you.” Respectful, differing opinions can be one of the greatest ways of refining your ideas, and sharpening your intellect. It does more to further development than any other aspect of society. I was struck particularly struck by how humble Justice Thomas was, and how much he encouraged us to disagree with one another - and the importance of it in our education. It is the way in which we add value in the classroom and beyond.

[Image from Wikipedia Commons]

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Productivity Monday is devoted to sharing tricks of the trade and law school survival skills

Ah, the dreaded first Monday after a long holiday. If you’re anything like me - your productivity system breaks down once things start to get chaotic (ahem, finals.) The beginning of the year or a new term is a great time to organize and set yourself up for success. 

This may be my favorite productivity tip to date: begin with a clean slate. Take 20 minutes today and empty out or archive your inbox, calendar and to-do list. Anything that hasn’t been completed or responded to over the holidays - probably wasn’t important enough to be tackled anyway. Instead of letting the to-do’s build up gathering dust and guilt, start over.

Rather than new year’s resolutions - this year I’m giving myself the chance for a clean start and begin anew. Starting with the dreaded inbox.