tech resolutions

TECH RESOLUTIONS FOR 2017

It’s that time of year again where all over people will make resolutions for the new year. This month, we asked our experts what “Tech Resolutions” will they be making for the year 2017.

Our Panelists:

Dennis Kennedy (DK), Greg Siskind (GS),  Steve Embry (SE) and  Natalie Kelly (NK).

What are your “Tech Resolutions” for 2017?

DKI’ve started to take a category approach. My categories for 2017 are the same as in 2016, but the details are different. I’m a “rule of threes” person, so I have three categories: Prune, Master and Learn. For pruning, I want to significantly slim down the amount of information that comes to me automatically – email newsletters, RSS feeds and podcast. For mastering, I’m looking at either Slack, because Tom Mighell and I are writing the second edition of our collaboration tools and technologies book, or the blockchain. For learning, I always choose something new for me. I’m thinking about trying to do something very technical, either learning some Python to do some scripting or Tensor Flow to experiment with machine learning. Hmmm, it feels like I’m being ambitious for 2017.

GSStart using some of the lesser known Microsoft Office online tools like Teams, Planner and Flow. Develop 10 new Neota Logic apps Complete client portal by integrating online document sharing, billing and case management systems. Find a better system for keeping track of to dos and checklists.

SE: I would say making time to read and study tech related materials and information. One of the curses of billing by the hour (which I do for much of my practice) is that its easy to put off doing non billable reading and study. But with tech issues its indispensible: things change too fast to not be disciplined about this.

NKMy 2017 Tech Resolution is to pick up more helpful technology tips and implement them in a more meaningful way in the year to come.  It’s really just a “practice what you preach” type resolution, as I am often recommending productivity tips to lawyers and their staff.

How do you choose your resolutions?

DK: I use my three categories as a framework. Then I look for something in each category that genuinely interests me, even if it interests no one else, that will stretch me, and that will give me practical results and improvement.

GS: As a lousy planner, it usually reflects what’s on my mind at the end of the year versus reflecting things that have been a problem for a while. I also look at the previous year’s list of goals to see if I made any progress and which need to be repeated.

SE: This is a hard question since if your resolution is too broad-like be a better person-its hard to tell if you have been successful. If you make it too specific-buy a new laptop-its too easy and meaningless. I prefer to think of the resolution process as goal setting that you do and revise on a constant basis, not just at New Year’s. New Year’s resolutions are usually something you end up not doing as opposed to doing.

NK: I tend to look at what tech tools I have used over the past year and think of where I’ve gotten in terms of goals I previously set and what failed me in terms of a particular technology.  For instance, in looking at my “smartphone” game, the app that I was all fired up about – even rousing my teenage daughter from her nap to show it off – ended up being a rarely-used, memory sucker.  So, off to the land of unwanted apps it went!  I vowed then that I had to keep up and stay on top of my outdated smartphone apps, so now this is the basis of my tech resolution for the upcoming year.

What helps you achieve your resolutions?

DKI use my three categories as a framework. Then I look for something in each category that genuinely interests me, even if it interests no one else, that will stretch me, and that will give me practical results and improvement.

GSStart using some of the lesser known Microsoft Office online tools like Teams, Planner and Flow. Develop 10 new Neota Logic apps Complete client portal by integrating online document sharing, billing and case management systems. Find a better system for keeping track of to dos and checklists.

SE: I like to map out what it is I want to achieve and then come up with measurable tasks that I can diary on a reminder system that I use. For example, one of my goals may be to become a thought leader on a given topic. My tasks could include writing some number of articles, speaking at certain events etc. But again, I constantly review and revise both the goals and the tasks as I go along.

NK: I will look for better apps in the coming year, and with great new aggregators and services, this shouldn’t be too hard to do.  My TECHSHOW Chair successor, Brett Burney, just launched a resource for this very thing.  Thanks, Brett!

If someone is looking for some good tech resolutions for 2017, what would you suggest for them?

DK: I always suggest that people look at tech topics that frustrate them on a daily basis. Examples might be getting better at Word’s Track Changes, implementing some email rules or learning a more modern approach to PowerPoint slides. I would also look for something that you’ve always wanted to learn or would be fun to accomplish, such learning to use voice to supplement keyboarding or listening to legal tech podcasts. Finally, I’d look for a technology that you can learn that will make it easier for your clients to work with you – online calendar scheduling and even texting might be examples. And, remember the rule of threes and stick with a doable number of resolutions. Hope you have great results in 2017!

GS: As a lousy planner, it usually reflects what’s on my mind at the end of the year versus reflecting things that have been a problem for a while. I also look at the previous year’s list of goals to see if I made any progress and which need to be repeated.

SE: Start with an honest of assessment of what you know from a technological standpoint. Next I would think about what would be useful and help you achieve what you want to achieve. The problem of course is that such as assessment can only take you so far: in doesn’t deal with “unknown unknowns”. In other words, you may not know what is out there that may be helpful to your goals if you only knew it existed. To make this determination, you have to read and get involved in discussion groups, blogs and the like. That’s a tall order since there is a lot of material. I would suggest starting with the LTRC website, the Kennedy Mighall podcast and of course Bob Ambrogi’s blog.

NK: Start by looking at what technology is closest to you and work from there.  Your phone is probably the most accessible technology.  Are your calendars synced?  Do you know how to conduct a conference call? Know which text acronyms are acceptable for you to use for home and for business? Have you mastered voice commands?  Try updating your usage by working on getting better at the tech tools you select.  When you are done with the phone then move to the next closet technology.  By the time you’re done, you’ll likely be talking to your thermostat from across the room!

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Law Technology Today
Law Technology Today is the official legal technology blog from the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC). Law Technology Today provides lawyers and other legal professionals with current, practical and innovative content developed by some of the leading voices on legal technology.

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