We spend entirely too much time at work. I don't mean that we spend too much time working. I mean that often times, because of inefficiency, lack of focus, and distractions, we find ourselves at the office until later than is actually necessary. This can cause stress and strain, both on us and on others in our lives.
As professionals, it is our responsibility to get work done fully and completely. As someone who values life outside of work, it is your responsibility to work quickly and efficiently so you can actually experience it.
This week, in order to take some time away from work (even if just an hour lunch, an evening off, a weekend without worrying about your Blackberry) consider implementing one or two of my favorite organizational tools:
1. Your Calendar
This is an easy one. But it's fool proof. In order to best manage your days, you should be taking full advantage of all of the features of your electronic calendar, including calendaring formal and informal deadlines and setting automatic reminders in advance. This keeps you organized and ensures you stay on top of all of your work.
2. Sticky Notes Or 3x5 Cards
This is another easy one, and one of my favorite organizational tools of all. Keep sticky notes or 3x5 cards on hand and make lists incessantly to keep you on an efficient, no nonsense schedule. The time you spend up front (weekly or even daily) writing out lists of the things you will need to do to get your work done will save significant time on the back end.
This is a little techy, but the Tripit app is incredible. It proves useful for anyone who is traveling for work purposes (and is compatible with a Blackberry, too). Tripit essentially organizes your travel plans (from flight to hotel to the deposition you have to take when you get there) in one easy place. All you have to do is forward your travel itineraries to it, and instantly your entire travel day (or two days or week) is laid out before you, hour by hour.
4. Hoot Suite
I've said it a million times: if you're not yet on Twitter, please open a Twitter account immediately. And then use Hoot Suite to organize and schedule in advance the Tweets (messages) you would like to send out. This is a great way to network, connect with others, and share ideas with the legal community over weeks and months without actually having to spend excessive time on social media sites. Plan your Tweets in advance, schedule them, and forget about it.
5. Amazon Gift Organizer (Just For Fun)
While we're working on our efficiency so that we have more time outside of work, we may as well think about the people we love outside of work. With Amazon Gift Organizer, you never have to remember a single birthday or holiday again (this includes Administrative Assistant Day!). Input birthdays, gift ideas, past gift purchases, and more. You will get automatic reminders when gifts are due, as well as help keeping track of whether and when you sent along holiday and birthday gifts. Genius!
Get organized and get out of the office once in a while.
Desiree Moore is the President and founder of Greenhorn Legal, LLC. Greenhorn Legal offers intensive practical skills training programs for law students and new lawyers as they transition from law school into their legal practices. Ms. Moore is also an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and was an associate at the law firm of K&L Gates. She can be found on Twitter at @greenhornlegal.