7 of the Best Organizational Tools for Paralegals

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Few get excited at the prospect of working in an office environment surrounded by research, constant writing, and the day-to-day grind of working with papers and documentation. Not even the best organizational tools and devices around can convince everyone that an office job is the one for them. 

But paralegals and legal assistants understand that no job can be as stressful and as exciting and diverse as work in the legal field.

And it is no wonder that job prospects for paralegals have been projected to grow by 15% in the next ten years! That is much faster than the average for all occupations as researched by the United States Department of Labour.

However, for a paralegal to stand out, they need to be punctual, and generally unflappable. While certain personality types will excel in such a stressful environment, tools and tips really can help smoothen the way! 

So whether you have been on the job for the last twenty years or whether you are just starting out, we have put together seven of the best organizational tools to help you be your very best! 


The Pomodoro Method 

Every paralegal worth their salt knows that focus is required to put their best foot forward in the work environment. And this philosophy created during the eighties just might be the secret to high productivity. 

The method promises to strengthen the user's time management while reducing mental fatigue. 

How is this done? Break up the work day into twenty-five-minute segments with a five-minute break in between. Every twenty-five-minute segment is called a "Pomodoro" which is the Italian word for tomato. The process (or rather, each Pomodoro) should help you make the best use of your time while allowing for much-needed mental breaks! 

For more information, check out a breakdown of the method and more of these awesome tips


Mindnode 

Mindnode allows its users to carry visual representations of their work at all times on the go. At first, a user simply types their ideas out. 

Then images and styling can be added, allowing the user to capture and organize their thoughts. The process helps users to organize their thoughts. It also helps prevent good ideas from being forgotten. 

The "mood board" that is then created can motivate the user far more than a notebook filled with bullet points. 


There are plenty of other mind-mapping tools available on the internet and for Apple/Android users. These organizational tools for the office are worth the time it takes to learn to use them. Especially when considering how much time they save the user in the long run.


Rescuetime

Rescuetime is a tool designed to help the user see their daily digital activity. Why is this important?

How often have we caught ourselves on an "Instagram break" in the middle of writing an important letter, or reading that Buzzfeed article when we should be doing time-sensitive research? Nobody is perfect, and anyone who works in an office environment can relate to the above scenarios. 

Rescuetime uses tables and graphs to show clearly how productive the user is being online. It can remind the user to not use social media during work time and restricts access to websites that are primarily distractive. It is a tool that allows you to make the best use of your digital workspace! 


Calengoo

This app sets up and syncs the entire workplace to collaborative schedules. And while you can save important work dates such as court dates, filing schedules, and briefings, private events can also be saved! 

This way, personal appointments stay personal while professional events are never forgotten! 


Stationery 

Binders and notebooks are useful tools to stay organized at work. As more and more things are digitalized (in this article alone we discussed three apps that help productivity) old fashioned post-it notes are still very much part of the office environment!

Equally important: having pens, pencils, erasers, a scissor and a stapler close at hand. Take stock of your personal stationery often and store it neatly in your work station.

And remember, notebooks, binders, and other stationery doesn't have to come in boring black and white. If your office allows it, feel free to personalize by choosing things in your favorite colors. 
A tip from the pros - have a black pen AND a blue pen handy. It doesn't hurt to have both options! 


Storage and Workspace

Researchers at Princeton University found that physical clutter in one's surrounding competes for one's attention. This results in increased stress and decreased performance.

In other words: get rid of unnecessary items. Shred any paperwork that is no longer needed and dust your workspace. 

Legal offices are also full of documents and books that are not required on a day-to-day basis. Use storage containers and shelving units to organize such items. Maintaining a clear and tidy "paralegal space" will then limit distractions and allow for a productive and busy work environment.


Devices 

Apps aside, we know that the brunt of paralegal work is done on a device. This device is usually a PC. While some offices also implement tablets and Kindle devices for research, there are many steps and tools that can be taken to organize your primary device, whatever it may be. 


  • Organize your computer - delete programs that are not being used, clear out irrelevant files, and organize the relevant ones to places that are easily accessible. 
  • Switch off pop-up notifications - get rid of temptation and leave those notifications for the end of the workday. 
  • Use a charging station - this helps to keep all your devices in one area instead of scattered about. 

How to Utilize the Best Organizational Tools 

While we discussed seven of the best organizational tools out there in this article, we know that they won't work for every paralegal. And don't be frustrated if changes do not take place overnight. 

Implementing change with even the best organizational tools takes time. So have patience and don't make all seven changes at once. Instead, implement them one at a time. We are confident that they can and will help in the long run! 

For more information on time management, check out this post here, and feel free to look through our blog for tips and tricks that can work for you! 

Thanks to NowLoan.co.uk for their help and contribution to the article.

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