10 important tips for organizing your legal office | RNL Blog

What do I mean by KAOS - and what in capital letters? If you've read any of my previous articles here at Attorney at Work, you know I have a thing for creating acronyms: D-A-F-T, SAD, Ctrl Journal, and BYOB.

Someday, I'm going to make a dictionary for all of them, but for now, I'm focusing on one of my favorites, the KAOS desk.

1. Being organized is a choice

Plain and simple, you must choose to do something about the clutter in your office. Continuing to do what you've always done will lead to the same frustrations, stress, and negativity. And as the world throws at you more data and things to do, the problem is only going to get worse.

It will be hard, but you have to decide to change yourself - stop ignoring problems with your office and workflow and take action to get organized.

2. Knowing what to do is half the battle

This is where most people find themselves confused. You decide to get organized, but either you don't know what to do or you don't know how to get organized. Start with a clean sheet of paper and write down everything you want to do "for the office." Then rearrange the list into similar items - tasks that can be grouped or, better yet, delegated and removed entirely from your personal to-do list!

3. Balance is nonsense

think about it. Credit means you can give 98% to your business and 2% to everything else. Libra is in balance, but are you? number! So stop trying to manage everything. Instead, learn to control the flow to avoid being overwhelmed by the digital.

4. Write something

I'm a digital warrior, but that doesn't eliminate my need to write things down on paper by hand. Research shows that writing helps people store and remember information. You think differently than you do about what you write. But that's not the only reason I write something: There is an intention when you put something on paper.

I write things down in Ctrl Journal - the process of taking daily notes. This is where I list my MIT 3 (most important things) each morning and have a place to take freehand notes in addition to the organized notes. My diary also includes a calendar with yearly dates and ongoing commitments.

Here is my operation

I start my day each morning by flipping it over to a new Ctrl journal form where I write the day and date and insert 1, 2, and 3 in the top right. These could be the initials of the person I want to communicate with or a few words about what I need to finish.

As I write these three daily checklists, I not only stick to them but stick to them as well:

I visually remember what I need to do.

Find a way to feel satisfied by crossing off completed items.
Record what you did (or didn't do) - all in a few letters or words.
Not bad for a little habit! However, I really think the following tip is the most important.

5. Awake up to a brand new day

Once you organize your law firm's processes, workflows, systems, and technology, you'll be very happy. It won't last.

I'm not saying the habits you create won't last, but even the most organized person will have erratic days. Sometimes weeks. this is good. When that happens, remember that tomorrow you will wake up to a brand new day, pull out your deck of cards and start throwing everything out of your head. (See #2 above).

6. Start with one problem area

We have already established that you have a lot of things to do. Don't try to install every system at the same time. Instead, choose one area to work on at a time. For example, all incoming paper is a huge problem for many companies. With paper control, you can eliminate most clutter instantly.

7. Choose an organizational scheme for a law firm that you know you can work with

Simple is often best - anything too complex can be confusing. Remember, if managing papers (or whatever area you're trying to improve) was easy for you, you wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place.

8. Gather the items you need to implement the organizational system for your law firm

Organizing papers (packages), file folders, filing cabinets, folders, a good scanner, etc. may require. Don't let a lack of sticky notes spoil your editing efforts. Set up an incoming mail center. Take notes as you go to remember the steps you take in each recurring task and carefully follow all directions when applying any system.

9. Don't try to make all the arrangements your business needs at once

Once you've gathered the tools you'll need and understand the steps involved, do more breakdowns and work throughout the day to organize as much of your stack, inbox, or to-do as possible. You'd be amazed at how quickly things get done in blocks of 10 or 15 minutes.

If you find that the system you are using does not meet a particular need, correct it. Decide how you will meet this need in the future and add it to your system. The beauty of organizing your app with systems - even systems other people have built - is that if something doesn't work or you need to add something new, you can make changes at any time and reorder as you go.

10. Don't make excuses

Finally, you should be using your system like clockwork. It's the only way any system will work well for you.
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