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Life and work in the iworld, its a Double-brainer.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | March 27, 2018

No. 1,455


Distractions coming from many directions are keeping us from concentrating while we work.  We give immediate attention to email. It takes too much will power to ignore an incoming  cell phone call.  After all, it might actually be more important (or interesting) than the task before you.

Back in the old days, we lawyers had secretaries.  Secretaries answered the phone.  They talked to the caller and either put the call through immediately or arranged an appropriate call-back time.  It was a simple solution to a simple problem.

We didn’t have email then.  The paper mail came in the morning and there it was all day.

When faxing burst on the scene, the situation was still more or less under control.  Unless the machine was located close to your desk, it usually didn’t command your immediate attention.

Admit it: most of the time, we welcome this electronic interruption. But like the sorcerer’s apprentice, we don’t know the magic words to stop the broomstick from bringing water.  Yes, we can turn it off completely, but we don’t want to do that.

So, here’s a plan for the next time you need to concentrate without interruption. Turn off the email on your desk top computer. Then hand your phone to somebody else with instructions to let you know about any email, call or text message that requires your immediate attention.

We’re not quite back to the receptionist screening calls, but at least your brain can focus on work. Your phone, email, text messages and even the fax are covered. That job belongs to somebody else’s brain.

Living in the iworld, you need two brains if one of them is to focus. Since we are (for now and the foreseeable future) issued only one, we must recruit another person with available brain power to assist.

The same goes for driving.  Give your phone to a passenger.  Focus on driving the car; just driving.  Then, you will be ready to hit the brake in an emergency.  You can think about where you want to go. If you have ever missed a turn while talking on the phone, you know what I am talking about.

The two brain approach can be applied in other situations where electronics are not the issue.  When making a presentation, questioning a witness, having a telephone conference or doing anything that requires talking, it is very helpful to have another brain along to listen.

A careful listener can provide you with useful feedback.  That brain will be located on the other side of the room, sharing the perspective of the audience.  Brain No. 2 can also take notes, observe people’s reactions, overhear conversations not meant for you, find out people’s names and collect all manner of information.

Yes, two brains are better. Now, go focus.


NOTE:  I didn’t coin the word “iworld.” Apple has a tech newsletter called iWorld.com.  There is also a line of tech products with that trade name.  Too bad.  Its a great word and new enough that Microsoft Word autocorrects it.


CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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