One device to rule it all

The past few days, I have been on the hunt for a new task management system.  A system to manage my to-do list, and more importantly, a system to set reminders to follow-up in case the other person does not respond to a request.

Photo by Photodisc/DigitalVision / Getty Images

I knew there were a lot of “apps” out there to replace the pen and paper to-do list.  Apps for your smart phone and programs for your computer that make to-do lists fun.  I decided I didn’t need anything fancy; I needed a place to record what to do and when to do it.  My current to-do list is a word document that is sorted by days of the week. 

My former boss introduced me to a book by David Allen, titled Getting Things Done® (GTD).  It turned my time management style on its head.  When I applied what I read, I was able to be more productive and experience less stress.  It was euphoric when I began the transformation using Allen’s coveted system.

Fast forward a few years. I give my former boss a call to tell him I have started my own law practice.  I had a blank slate on how I would manage my time, tasks and e-mail.  He had started using Evernote® (EN) and raved about it.

I had a lot of programs to learn when I opened my business so I opted not to learn Evernote.  That is, until last week when I was no longer satisfied with my “system” to keep track of tasks.

I spent time over the weekend learning how professionals apply GTD with EN. There are books, blogs and YouTube videos.  I read and watched what was free to learn.

A constant theme with EN and any of its competitor products is it SYNCS TO ALL DEVICES.  I wrote in caps because it appears to be really important to consumers.  Yeah technology.  It all talks to each other.  Pretty impressive, but is it necessary?

I made the decision to only use the web-based version of EN and not install the app on my phone, which brings me to the point of this post. 

Take a moment and ask yourself “do I need to have work available on my tablet and phone?”

The answer is no. 

I am going to assume that if you have been provided a cell phone for work, you were also provided a laptop for work.  A laptop with internet capability (kidding, they all have it) is all you need.  A laptop with internet is all you need to do your work.  Keep your other devices at home.  Don’t BYOD unless it is a laptop.

Go to the settings on your phone.  Turn off your push notifications for e-mail.  Turn off your push notifications for everything if you want more peace in your life.  Deactivate e-mail access from your phone.  For more on this see "Do you still have e-mail access on your phone". 

Last month, I presented to a group of attorneys, judges and court officers about compassion fatigue and the importance of self-care.  During the Q&A I was asked what I do for self-care.  I listed a few things and then pulled out my phone and said – this is a big part of the problem.  I think everyone in the room nodded in agreement.

When I set-up my business I wanted to be mobile.  I realized quickly that technology allowed for me to have access to what I needed when I logged into my laptop. 

I could install apps on my phone to use the same programs, but there is no need.  My laptop is light enough to carry to any business meeting and to the courthouse.  It has everything I need.

What do I need a phone for?  Phone calls.  And fun.  Use your smart phone for social media, photos, texting your friends and family, and games.  Do not use your phone for work unless (gasp) you need to use it as a phone.

Using the keyboard on your phone is incredibly inefficient.  If you absolutely need to access your e-mail through your phone, use it to read the messages.  Do not spend precious minutes (which compute to hours) a day pick typing on your phone responding to e-mails.  Please do not do this.  If you do, imagine me crying and pleading with you to stop.

As far as tablets go, if it serves as a laptop for you then it makes sense.  If it is a tablet that is used to access an app for a program you can access from the web-based program then you have completely blurred the line between work and fun.  We need more fun.  We need to disconnect from work when we are on personal time.  No blurred lines.

My tech-savvy husband once said that the iPad is for consumption, not production.  It’s a toy, albeit an expensive one.  Use it as a toy.  Use your phone as a phone. 

When it comes to work – your laptop can do it all.  One devise to rule it all.