In a busy legal office, proper organization can be almost impossible. After all, organization in general is a hard thing to achieve. Clutter and disorganization is so common because it can develop at an almost indiscernible rate. Most importantly, it can really become a problem when it prevents the attorneys from working efficiently, which will worsen when the firm expands.
Luckily, there is an easy two-step process to organize your things. Organization is really just as simple as a series of decisions.
Decide What Needs to be Organized
The very first thing you need to do is to determine which area you want to organize and clean out first. It is smart to reorganize one small, bite-sized area at a time, like a drawer or a shelf. This helps make reorganization more manageable rather than going through your entire office at once.
Decide What is Trash
After you picked out your target area, gather up all the stuff in that area to do a quick once-over. In the once-over, quickly sort through your stuff and determine what is trash and what isn’t. Distribute everything into two piles. If you are certain that you no longer need something (it is a duplicate, it is an outdated document, etcetera), throw it in the “trash’ pile. If you’re not sure if you should throw it away, or you want to keep it, put it in another pile. This is an easy, preliminary way to cut your pile of stuff down.
Decide What is Really Trash
After you have shredded or thrown away your trash pile for good, it’s time to take a closer look at the keepers. Sort through that stuff again, only this time use a close eye on everything. Question if you really need it, and if so where. Will you need to immediately reference this document in the near future, or can you store it in a place that is more out of the way? Meanwhile, start assigning each item to a mutually exclusive category. Some example categories could be research files, reference materials, marketing collateral, work to do, client files, personal files, etcetera. Your categories and what you put in them are extremely important because those things are the basis of organization.
Decide Where to Put it Back
Congratulations are in order, because you have successfully reorganized your stuff. Now, all you have to do if find the right place for it. Sometimes, you can just put it back on the shelf where it was. However, reorganization can alter your needs and you may have to find a new home for some items.
Office management personnel are another great way to stay on top of organization and the everyday, operational side of running a law office.They are invaluable members of the office because they can help operations run smoothly. For example, instead of trying to track down a certain file that happens to be buried under a pile of other unrelated documents, an office manager can help painlessly pull the file from the wonderful and efficient filing system that has been organized.
Zane Schwarzlose writes for Alamo Injury Attorneys, an injury law firm in San Antonio, Texas. Zane enjoys being very tidy.