Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : May 2012

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It’s important to have an active lifestyle, especially to help control stress and anxiety. To balance my ample time behind a computer at a desk, I had found some balance by participating in organized sports and going to the gym.

Last month, I found myself in a sudden change in events that would leave me highly immobile for a significant period of time. I had dislocated my ankle and fractured the fibula of my left leg; I would need surgery and on top of that, my car is a manual transmission. In that tiny moment, I went from being independent to a fault to needing more help than ever in my life.

From unplanned injuries to inconvenient medical issues that keep you from the office, here is some technology and a few tips to help you when life throws you for a loop.

Help Others Help You, With or Without Tech

On your cell phone, have an “in case of emergency” contact. Create a duplicate contact of the person you would like emergency personnel to call first, and name that contact I.C.E. Make sure you have relevant medical documents in your wallet, including an updated list of all medications and allergies, as well as a contact number in the case that your phone goes missing, is password-locked, or a battery dies. Make sure your insurance cards are also easy to locate. If you play an organized sport or workout with a group, it’s a good idea to have a designated buddy to take over in case of an injury that leaves you unable to act. If you’re at the gym, make sure your emergency contact on your registration forms is someone local to the area.

Ask for Help and Spread the “Wealth”

Social networks became even more important to a daily user like myself. I was able to scatter my needs, usually for transportation, among my large group of friends rather than relying solely on family. I could post one message on Facebook about needing a ride to an appointment, and my friends would help me figure it all out, without having to text or call individual people.

Keep It All in Front of You

I have relied on my laptop heavily.  It has allowed me to work from home, keeping up with e-mail and most website updates for the MSBA. Even if you have a personal laptop, it does not hurt to be prepared by making sure you have access to work e-mail and files remotely from the office. These days people are usually connected to the office around the clock. But if that’s not the case for you, consider cloud computing options from CoreVault or Clio or RocketMatter, MSBA Vendors that specialize in secure data hosting and practice management tools you can access anywhere.

Keep Track of Time

While time tracking is useful all the time, it becomes especially important as your work environment and schedule may have to adjust for rest and appointments.

MSBA Vendors RocketMatter, Clio, and EasySoft offer practice management and time tracking software, compatible with Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, and Android.

Grocery Delivery

I am the cook in my household, which means I plann dinners and do the shopping for them. Being restricted to crutches meant my friends sent all varieties of sweets, and my significant other resorted to a lot of take out and fast food. Once things calmed down a bit, I went to peapod.com and had my groceries delivered. Safeway and other store chains have similar services. If you do ever find yourself injured, have your helpers pack individual meals in reuseable containers for your convenience. Also get some things like protein bars, fruit, and daily vitamins. If it’s a broken bone, make sure you’re getting enough calcium too.

Take a Class

You’re likely going to end up with some free time on your hands. Use the time constructively by taking an online class or webinar. See what the MSBA’s CLE department has available (www.legalspan.com/msba/onlinecle.asp?UGUID=) or sign up for one of MSBA’s free Wednesday Webinars (www.msba.org/media/wednesdaywebinars.asp). 

Some sections also have webinar rebroadcasts available for free at the section pages. Make sure your online account is active and log in to be able to view the webinars linked from your section’s webpages.

Get a New Gadget

All work and no play makes for really long days. So break it up with some entertainment – it will aid your recovery more than you think. It wasn’t until I found myself restricted to my bed with an elevated leg that I realized there was a need for a tablet in my already overflowing collection of tech gadgets. The Kindle is more along my price point and needs, and after test-driving a friend’s I found it ideal for reading e-books, which would be primarily how a tablet would be used by me.  Kindle Fire can also play video from Hulu and Netflix, and if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber there’s other video available to you as well. Kindle Fire is wifi based, so you’re likely going to need an iPad with a contract if you don’t have a wireless network already set up at home. And don’t forget Angry Birds…

The important thing is to allow yourself to heal and get back up to speed, so above all, make sure you’re getting time to rest even if you do try to take on the world from the comfort of your own couch.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin : May 2012

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