It is starting to dawn on me exactly how much work I’m getting done during periods of what would otherwise be downtime. Because digital dictation has become such a major part of our practice, I am increasing both the times and places that I dictate from. This morning for instance, I got up and immediately grabbed my Philips 9350 portable digital recorder and added two items to the extranet. These were items that immediately popped in my brain when I woke up. If I didn’t have my digital dictation system with me, there is a good chance I would have forgotten about them altogether. As it was, it took me two seconds to dictate instructions and to-do items.
I then got in the shower. The shower is a wonderful place for intrusive thoughts to permeate your brain. You’re standing there trying to remember whether or not you are at the shampoo or conditioner step, when ten things launch an attack on your neurons. You think of several very important things that you wanted to do yesterday but didn’t quite get done. Somewhere between my shaving cream and my razor, I grab my recorder and quickly dictated instructions to various staff members on a variety of things. I have one staff member, my extranet manager Al, access my web mail account and send email to various people. I dictate the content and have a disclaimer at the bottom that I’ve dictated the email, that it is typed by Al and "Boom" I’ve taken care of yet another important item.
On the way to the office in my car, I dictate another couple of important items for the day. Since I’ll be at depositions for most of the day, I won’t have a chance to get staff going in the right direction as I would if I was available. I am able to make sure that my staff is busy and productive in less than two minutes of drive time.
Now, I’ve got my coffee and I’m sitting at my desk. I’m waiting for Amicus Attorney to launch (which could take about 90 seconds). During this downtime, I grab my digital recorder and dictate this Greatest American Lawyer post. I have turned nonproductive time into incredibly productive time.
I know that I am gaining efficiencies which are beyond anything I’ve ever achieved before in my practice because I route all of this dictation as I start my day. Sometimes it is 15-30 different items which are being routing to various staff as my day begins. These are all items which I would otherwise have to deal with in the office. More likely than not, they are items which would simply have been lost between the cracks.