Write Now: An Attorney's To-Do List

· 249 words · about a minute

It may seem unnecessary to write your next to-do list using purple prose. But studies in neuroscience show that creating a mental image of the goals you seek to accomplish through a vivid written description is strongly associated with success. “[P]eople who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals than people who don’t,” according to a recent article in Forbes.

The article’s author, Mark Murphy, explains: “Writing things down happens on two levels: external storage and encoding. External storage is easy to explain: you’re storing the information contained in your goal in a location (e.g. a piece of paper) that is very easy to access and review at any time....Encoding is the biological process by which the things we perceive travel to our brain’s hippocampus where they’re analyzed. From there, decisions are made about what gets stored in our long-term memory and, in turn, what gets discarded. Writing improves that encoding process. In other words, when you write it down it has a much greater chance of being remembered.”

Before your next oral argument, write a creative story about the salient facts you intend to emphasize. Put pencil to paper before your next deposition and describe the admissions you seek. Prepare a draft email memorializing your next meet and confer before it happens. It may add a bit of time on the front end, but your chance of success may increase. Write now, succeed later.