Category Archives: The Ethical Lawyer – Legal Ethics + Lawyer Wellbeing Blog

How to Stay Focused and Control Your Attention

Your ability to focus on deep work is key to being productive. Your power to connect ideas is vital to being creative. Whether you’re focusing or mind wandering, you need to direct your attention to perform at your peak.   

In episode 55 of The Incrementalist, you will learn:

1) The difference between Hyperfocus and Scatterfocus and why you need both modes of focus to control your attention.

2) Mind wandering is not a problem if you have meta-awareness or metacognition, i.e., to be aware of your awareness or to pay attention to your attention.

3) The three types of attention – the Flashlight, the Floodlight, and the Juggler   – that coordinate with each other to affect your state of focus.

4) 4 tips to build your focus muscle and direct your attention:
i.  Define your priority and focus on one thing at a time
ii. Tame the distractions and interruptions that dilute your focus
iii. Match the challenge with your skills or ability
iv. Allow mind wandering with intention

To listen to episode 55, How to Stay Focused and Control Your Attention, click here. If you prefer to read the transcript, go here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

Watch the video on episode 55, which caught the attention of the YouTube algorithm and became a recommended video for viewers to find more easily.

Breaking the YouTube barrier in this way is a major milestone that is difficult to reach — and was done through incremental learning and tweaking in the creation process. At this time, The Incrementalist is still (proudly) a very small channel.

Subscribe to the YouTube channel, The Incrementalist – A Productivity Show, to help it grow and reach you and others who want to create big changes in small steps.

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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps.

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Digital Minimalism: Break Your Technology Addiction and Master Your Tech Use

Digital technology has its benefits and is not all bad. But tech overuse and tech addiction cause problems, too.

To break our tech addiction and master our tech use, we need Digital Minimalism:

“A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else,” says author Cal Newport.

In episode 54 of The Incrementalist, you will learn:

1) Online information and entertainment often create distraction (move you away from what you really want), instead of traction (move you toward what you really want).

2) Social media and online search platforms are designed to hook us. The technology that connects us also controls, manipulates, polarizes, distracts, monetizes and divides us.

3) 3 things you can do to break your tech addiction and master your tech use:

i. Complete the digital declutter process

ii. Practice solitude

iii. Reclaim true leisure

To listen to episode 54, Digital Minimalism: Break Your Technology Addiction and Master Your Tech Use, click here. If you prefer to read the transcript, go here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

Watch the video on episode 54, especially if you’re a visual learner! Subscribe to the YouTube channel, The Incrementalist – A Productivity Show, to help it grow and reach you and others who want to create big changes in small steps.

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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps.

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3 Gifts from Memento Mori (Remembering You Will Die)

Memento Mori is a powerful practice to create a meaningful, productive and fulfilling life. 

Roughly translated to English, it means, “Remember you must die.”

Reflecting on your own death might seem like a dark and depressing way to live.  But it offers three unique gifts that help you live with intention.

In episode 53 of The Incrementalist, you will learn:

1) Memento Mori is an ancient practice that spans across time and cultures.

2) Life lessons on death from Stoicism and philosophers, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epicurus.

3) Key takeaways from Irvin D. Yalom’s book, Staring at the Sun.
“Though the physicality of death destroys us, the idea of death saves us.”

4) 3 gifts from reflecting on death:
–  the gift of gratitude
–  the gift of groundedness
–  the gift of grit

5) How I applied Memento Mori to grieve the loss of two loved ones who recently died within 6 months of each other.

To listen to episode 53, 3 Gifts from Memento Mori (Remembering You Will Die), click here. If you prefer to read the transcript, go here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

Watch the video on episode 53, especially if you’re a visual learner! Become one of the first 100 subscribers on our YouTube channel, The Incrementalist – A Productivity Show

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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps.

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Why Work-Life Balance is Not Worth the Effort (and What to Aim for Instead)

When we hear the term work-life balance, we tend to think of it as a good thing. It’s doing great work, without overworking. It’s getting enough rest, without staying idle.

But if we want to have a meaningful and productive life, striving for perfect work-life balance is not often the right path. What we really want to aim for is Intentional Imbalance.

In episode 52 of The Incrementalist,  you will learn:

1) 3 reasons work-life balance isn’t really practical or beneficial

2) 3 elements of Intentional Imbalance
– Alignment
– Introspection
– Momentum

3) There’s nothing wrong with having a comfortable and balanced life. But if you want to do something great or extraordinary, you will need to focus on one thing at the expense of the other. And if you’re going to have imbalance, you might as well be intentional about it. 

To listen to episode 52, Why Work-Life Balance is Not Worth the Effort (and What to Aim for Instead), click here. If you prefer to read the transcript, go here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

Watch the video on episode 52, especially if you’re a visual learner! Become one of the first 100 subscribers on our YouTube channel, The Incrementalist – A Productivity Show

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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps.

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3 Ways to Make Boring or Hard Work Easier to Do

Habits help you automate positive behavior and actions on a daily basis. But they are not enough to perform at your peak. There will be times when you will have to do boring or hard things that take uphill effort.

If you can make boring, hard work easier to do, that’s more than half the battle in making the impossible possible.

In episode 51 of The Incrementalist, you will learn:

1. The power of grit and the habit of ferocity

2. Three ways to make boring or hard work easier to do:

a) Pick the right task to do in a given moment

  • The task itself should match your level of focus and energy, which often depends on the time of day and your natural rhythm
  • The 3 stages of the flow cycle
  • The mind-body ultradian rhythm
  • The challenge-skills balance and work-rest ratio

b) Keep the right mindset for lifelong learning

  • A growth mindset is better than a fixed mindset to learn and develop any skill
  • The importance of reading books to learn
  • The two modes of learning theories – entity vs. incremental theories of intelligence

c) Choose the right turf

  • Your workspace environment affects your ability to think and do work
  • The one advantage that remote workers have over workers who have to go to a shared office space
  • The difference between focused thinking and diffused thinking
  • The difference between divergent thinking and convergent thinking
  • Four tactics to design your environment for sparking ideas and triggering flow

To listen to episode 51, 3 Ways to Make Boring or Hard Work Easier to Do, click here. If you prefer to read the transcript, go here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

Watch the video on episode 51, especially if you’re a visual learner! Become one of the first 100 subscribers on our YouTube channel, The Incrementalist – A Productivity Show

# # #

Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps.

SUBSCRIBE           CONTACT