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Desk4success


Congratulations to Rana Meents for winning two tickets to 'Hamilton: An American Musical' with suite service in Chicago!

As part of May Member Appreciation Month, ISBA members were given the option to sign up to receive daily Desk4Success Challenge e-mails — which covered decluttering techniques, how to polish your professional presence, technology tips, and more — and enter our grand prize drawing to win two tickets to see 'Hamilton' in Chicago or a $500 Visa Gift Card. 


Congratulations on making it all the way through ISBA's Desk4Success Challenge!

We've shared a whole host of ideas this month covering everything from decluttering your office + mind to polishing your professional presence, and timesaving tech tips to office wellness. We hope you've found some new ideas to consider implementing in your own practice.

Here's the list of D4S posts from this month:


The winners of our May Member Appreciation Month Custom Consultation Contest met with Jeff Krause and Jennifer Ramovs of Affinity Consulting Group last week to get some expert advice on the practice management and technology areas with which they most needed help.

We sat down with Jeff and Jenn during a break between consultations to record their recap of the most commonly asked questions during the consultations and their corresponding advice.



Click to listen to the podcast.


Topics covered include:

  • Business Development
  • Efficiency (How To Do More With Less)
  • What Software to Use for 'X'
  • Mobility
  • Document Management, Storage and Sharing

We'll be back with our final post tomorrow, recapping our month of Desk4Success challenges and a special bonus!


Chances are good you already know someone using an alternative desk. Today we're taking a look at some of those options along with the health and productivity benefits they may provide.

Reasons to Consider Making a Change. It's no surprise to hear that sitting for the majority of the day is unhealthy. Factoring in the number of hours spent sitting at a desk with commute and couch potato time, Americans spend about 58 percent of their waking hours in a sitting position.

There's even a name for this sedentary lifestyle — sitting disease — and it carries with it numerous health implications including a higher risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and blood clots. For some, all this sitting is also a pain in the neck...and back, literally.

Which is why so many people are turning to creative ways to spend less time sitting at their desk.


Top 5 Alternatives to Sitting in Your Desk Chair. Interested in making a change? Here are a few options to consider...


Today we're talking about the germs living on your computer and mobile hardware, a potential health hazard that can easily be remedied. You'll definitely want to complete this D4S Challenge to clean your hardware, because by some accounts, your keyboard likely contains more germs than your toilet seat.

The Dirty Lowdown. When it comes to bugs and computers, your first thought may be addressing cyber security issues to protect your client files and data. But when was the last time you concerned yourself with the bacteria-type of bugs lurking on the outside of your hardware?

A whole host of harmful bacteria and viruses — from e.coli to staph — have been found growing on computer keyboards and mice. Shared hardware between colleagues or family members carries an even greater danger of passing along diseases.

The good news is that by cleaning your hands and your hardware on a regular basis, you can limit your exposure. And, by ridding your hardware of dirt, dust and crumbs in the process, you'll also help your computer to run better.


Spring Clean Your Hardware. Cleaning the outside of a computer or mobile device requires extreme care; the components inside your hardware can become damaged if done incorrectly.


Let's face it, some work days are just harder to get through than others. Whether due to an overwhelming to-do list or just finding it hard to focus — everyone needs an assist now and then.

Today we're exploring using music in the workplace to improve concentration and productivity. And we'll also check out the flip side, using complete silence to aid performance.

The Power of Music. Music has the power to do for the workday what a white noise machine does for sleep, that is, block out distractions. Studies have shown that melodic music also improves your mood by releasing dopamine in the reward area of your brain, which in turn bring about additional positive outcomes from productivity to creativity.

When deciding if listening to music at work will work for you, consider what type of task you'll be doing and whether music will help or hinder you in that task. New research has shown that music can increase your attention span when working on things that are repetitive but may be a distraction when you're tasked with critical-thinking. Each person is different, though, so find out what is right for you.


Congratulations to Stephen Deckro, Stephanie Gilbert, and Mervate Mohammad for each winning a Visa gift card in the #lawinINstyle Instagram contest

During our second week of Member Appreciation Month, we gave advice on how to polish your professional presence by evaluating what kind of image your wardrobe projects. We asked several of our members to give insight and advice on the power of dressing well, then asked our readers to share their favorite outfit on Instagram. We loved seeing examples of how our members use their wardrobes to put their best foot forward as attorneys.

Don't forget to check out our Membership Appreciation Month site for upcoming promotions.


Continuing our D4S Office Wellness Week, today we're looking at a very 21st century work problem — Computer Vision Syndrome — and ways to prevent or alleviate related symptoms.


What is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)? According to the American Optometric Association, CVS (also referred to as Digital Eye Strain) describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and smartphone use. Research shows that between 50 and 90 percent of people who work at a computer screen experience some symptoms.

The most common symptoms include eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, double vision, dry red eyes, and neck/shoulder/back pain.

What causes CVS? CVS is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in that both are repetitive motion injuries you can get at work. When you spend the majority of your day on the computer, your eyes follow the same path over and over, constantly focusing and refocusing every time they move across the screen or you look away from your screen and back.


Welcome to D4S Week 4 - Office Wellness! Lawyers tend to work long hours and experience significant amounts of stress. This week we're looking at ways to help you cope with that stress and make your office environment healthier too. Let's get started...

Chances are you spend much of your day sitting in front of a computer. (You're likely there now.) If you are seated (or the next your are,) check your posture. Are you hunched over? Is your breathing inhibited? Does your lower back or neck hurt? When was the last time you stretched?

We've asked Health and Relaxation Coach Liv Ryan — daughter of (proud) mom Jeanne Heaton, ISBA Director of CLE — for an encore of her 'DIY Physio for Stress Reduction' techniques, recently given at an ISBA Solo & Small Firm Institute.

In the video, Liv shares a few stretches you can do seated at your desk, or standing nearby, that will reinvigorate you, work out some of your tension, and get the blood flowing again for better alertness and posture throughout the rest of your day. Watch it before you go get your morning coffee or whenever you find yourself needing a short break.



Our final challenge this week is to uncover some best practices for creating better passwords and learn how to properly store them.

'The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.' –Aristotle

Faster hardware and new tech used by password crackers have made passwords less secure than in years past. Your best bet for creating a password that is more difficult for online predators to crack is to employ multiple methods. Our favorites are outlined below. Alone, each is better than doing nothing, but together our 1-2-3-punch makes for a stronger deterrent.

Randomizing. By definition, to randomize is to make unpredictable. Humans are notorious for creating predictable passwords. If you Google 'random password,' a number of online random password generators will turn up in your results. Great, right? Wrong. According to our IT guru Tim, 'If it's online, it's not recommended. Sacrifice convenience for security.' Your results and IP address can potentially be discovered by the wrong people. With that in mind, go old school. Find a favorite book or pick up a dictionary, close your eyes, point to a word...you know the drill. In fact, you'll want to do that a few times because our next tip is to use...

Phrases/Multiple Words. Another best practice is to use a string of words instead of a single word. Here, more is better; use as many words/characters as you are comfortable using, and again, try to randomize and make sure they have no relationship to one another.