Why organisational skills are important for Lawyers
Organisational skills are fundamental to the success of a lawyer, the ability to stick to deadlines, prioritise your time and resources and remain focused are vital skills for employers. It’s no surprise that organisational skills are a mainstay in most job adverts. By honing and improving your organisational skills it will not only make your life easier but it will also increase your chances of progressing your career further and faster. By being organised you can spin more plates and expose yourself sustainably to more projects whilst keeping your foundation solid, this, in turn, will accelerate your learning and development. Not to mention all partners need to be organised.
As a lawyer, you are likely to be pulled in multiple directions and responsible for a varied workload day to day, from looking after clients, drafting legal documents, networking, researching aspects of law, attending court. And the further you get in your career the more will be asked of you like delegating responsibility, ensuring your team’s success, business development and potentially managing the recruitment process.
This isn’t meant to scare you, but rather prepare you. So how do you improve your organisational skills?
How to improve your organisational skills:
Assess your current organisational system
Everyone will have different areas of their organisation they want to improve, you might want to get better at time management, tidy your email inbox, improve your ability to delegate ability or even keep your desk clean and clutter-free. Assessing your current organisational system will allow you to see what aspects of your current system are helping and what areas are holding your organisational ability back.
Once you know what is working well, next it’s time to make sure your calendar best serves you, and plot accordingly. Just like creating the perfect routine, create your calendar, to keep the things you struggle with at the forefront of your mind. If you’re struggling to find time respond to emails, block out chunks of your day to respond. If you’re struggling to remember to get in touch with a client add it to your calendar. Controlling your calendar so it suits you rather than having your calendar control you will empower you to know when and where to be at the right time. Your calendar is meant to make your life easier, use it!
Lists are so vital to organisation, yet so simple. Write down the things you want to get done, cross them off once you’ve completed them. Not only is it impossible to forget things that are on the list, you will also get the satisfaction of crossing items off the list. The best example of the universal importance of lists, is the shopping list. Going to get your groceries, without a list is the easiest way to forget the things you really wanted, because when you’re in the shop, the distractions are everywhere and remembering that you need some more fairy liquid is the last thing on your mind. It’s the same with your tasks at work!
Using organisation platforms online
Organisation is the bug bear for almost every individual and organisation, that’s why there’s a whole host of tools, free or paid for. These can range from online to-do lists to whole organisation planning boards, Reminders or notes on your phone too. The key thing is to only use one. The more tools you have the more confusing it can get. Keep everything streamlined and that will be the key to your organisational success.
Declutter your desk(top)
In an increasingly online world, just decluttering your desk is no longer enough. You also need to declutter your desktop. It’s easy to lose your case files, your notes or your meeting schedules, so make sure to tidy everything up, put it in obvious safe places. The easier you make it for yourself the better it will be in the long run. Don’t be afraid to treat your cleanliness like you would looking after a child’s room. Label everything, put it in the right box, so when you eventually lose track there is a clear process in place for you to find exactly where you put it. Ensure you maintain this everyday as when you start relaxing on the process, it starts to fail.
Removing distractions, such as your phone or notifications on your computer can allow you to remain solely focused on the task in hand. When you get distracted, it can take a long time to get back into the groove you were originally in. Ride that productive groove for as long as possible. This will keep your thoughts and your organisational processes in line and prevent you from jumping in and out of tasks. This is both highly inefficient and highly likely to lead to mistakes.
In general, with organisational skills, making small improvements every day is the key. By making sure you keep your inbox tidy, clean your desk, open and close your days by going through your to do lists, so you have clear structure, you will save huge amounts of time and energy in the long run.