5 Tips to Make You a More Efficient and Productive Paralegal

The Paralegal Resource
June 3, 2014 — 2,554 views  
Become a Bronze Member for monthly eNewsletter, articles, and white papers.

If you are a paralegal working in a busy law office, you know all too well one simple truth. There simply are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all of the tasks you have on your list! While we cannot exactly have a little talk with your boss about your workload, we can help you with a few time management and organization tricks. 

Batch Tasks
You know the feeling of frustration that you get when you have to jump back and forth between a bunch of little tasks? It isn't just you - this is a universal occurrence that office workers suffer from. The reason is because it takes your brain a few minutes to process the task and you lose time in transition. Figure out a time in your day that will work for batching tasks. For instance, let it be known that you make and return phone calls twice a day, once at 8:30 a.m., and again at 3:30 p.m.

Limit Email
We all know that email is one of the biggest time sucks of them all. There is nothing you can do about opposing counsel and clients emailing you, but you can limit the amount of internal emails you send and receive by setting a work culture where people either walk into each other's offices to briefly talk, or they just pick up the telephone. Also, refrain from checking your email more than once every few hours. 

Deal with Paper Once
When you are going through your mail and email, be ready to deal with things as you are reviewing them. File it, delete it, or take action. You are not managing your time effectively if you are reading your mail over and over again.

Keep a Task Checklist in Every File
This is something that no one thinks they have time to do, but if you fail to do this one simple little thing you are creating unnecessary headaches for everyone down the road. After you complete a task, just update your checklist of action items in the file so that anyone on your team can simply look at the file and easily ascertain what has already been done on the case, and what open items remain. You never want to waste an hour reviewing a file to figure out if someone has ordered records, or whether or not your client sent in updated documents. You need one master list that will reflect action items. 

Limit Your Availability 
Everyone wants to be friendly and accessible to their co-workers. After all, building relationships at work is critical to success. You can still be friendly and accessible, but let it be known that your designated times are the first fifteen minutes in the morning, and the last thirty minutes in the evening. The easiest way to be brilliant at work is to have the quiet time to think and be productive without interruption.

If you put these five tips to use, your work life should become more manageable. Paralegals in particular have to be time management and organizational ninjas. By being mindful of how you communicate with others and batching your tasks, you may be surprised at just how much more time you have!

The Paralegal Resource