Let’s talk about a subject near and dear to our hearts, ladies: how do you organize your office and your work (or otherwise get things done)? We’ve talked about cute office supplies, the best notebooks, planners, and office padfolios — as well as how to keep notes to CYA — but we haven’t talked about this directly. Reader A wonders:
I would love to see more articles on the best ways to organize your work in the office, i.e., a folder with separate notes for each project or client v. one notebook for all meetings/projects, how to organize your day or to-do list, how to turn meeting notes into a to-do list, etc. I’d also love some suggestions on day planners, notebooks, and other office supplies.
Fun topic! Personally, when I was a lawyer, I played around with having a single notebook per case, as well as having one notebook or notepad that I grabbed whenever I was heading out to take notes. If memory serves I finally settled on a folder system — I would keep one “general” folder with all of my initial notes from prior pleadings and general strategy notes, and then I’d start a new folder for each major assignment I was tasked with (memo, research, portion of a brief, whatever). I would keep the recent and active folders near my desk in a folder tower (where each case had its own little slot — something similar to what I had is pictured above), and then move them to a filing drawer or redweld once the case was Really Truly Over, or once the assignment got stale enough and I needed more room closest to my desk. (Oh, and I love my label maker.)
For my $.02 on the to-do lists, I keep a number of them. I keep a Post-It with my immediate tasks for the day, and I start a clean Post-it for every meeting to record action items for me and others. I also keep a longer to-do list on a notepad that I update about once a week, and consult in the rare event that I finish all of my must-finish-tasks for the day. I also keep a running big picture to-do list on Remember The Milk and Google Docs, and I also use Mailbox as a sort of to-do list (in that it only reminds me of emails when I suspect I’ll have time to tend to them). I’ve never been great about implementing Getting Things Done, but one of the lessons that I do take from it is to try to “batch” tasks — so if I have a bunch of phone calls to make I save several for one afternoon, or if I have a bunch of one kind of email to reply to (such as an advertiser query or something) then I try to reply to them all at the same time.
Readers, how do you organize your office paperwork? Do you have any office supplies or systems you swear by?
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