Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Karen Sloan (Law.com0, To Boost Productivity, Lawyers and Law Students Should 'Socially Distance' From Their Phones:
Suffolk University law professor Shailini George wrote the book on distracted law students—literally.
Her new book, titled, “The Law Student’s Guide To Doing Well and Being Well,” relies on neuroscience research to map out how lawyers and law students can curb the many distractions of modern life (ahem, smartphones) and increase their focus and productivity. George makes the case that multitasking drains our mental energy and that all-night cram sessions are less effective than focused, 50-minute study periods.
Law.com caught up with George to discuss her findings, how lawyers and law students can be more efficient with their time and why smartphones remind her of an infant’s pacifier. Her answers have been edited for length. ...
Has the advent of the smartphone exacerbated this distraction problem?
It absolutely has. I’ll be honest, this is me too. But what you see with students is that the phone never leaves their hands. It reminds me of my children when they were infants, who liked pacifiers. They didn’t need the pacifier in their mouth—they wanted to hold onto the pacifier. Just knowing it was there was comforting. I think it’s a similar phenomenon with people and their phones—in the grocery store, in class, driving. Everybody has a phone in their hand, and they’re filling every spare moment of their time scrolling on their phones. It does cause you not to be able to keep your focus on any one item. ...
How do students react when you tell them to put their phones away?
The first time I suggest it, it’s perhaps a look of shock. I have to make them do it at some point, but they thank me for it. They feel relieved. It’s like putting doughnuts next to a dieter or cigarettes next to a smoker. Their mind is going to keep going to the phone when it’s right there. They tell me after that study session, “I can’t believe how much I got done.” They were able to singularly focus on that task or concept.