Spring is often an extremely busy time in the legal world, but as summer comes around, vacations and reduced litigation can actually make more time for brushing up on projects around the office. Consider using the coming weeks to take on new plans, address old ones, and catch up on postponed activities.
Here are some suggestions for how to use this valuable downtime as a summer refresh:
#1 Review your projects
Look at the types of assignments you’ve been working on lately, and consider: are they challenging you? If you feel overqualified for the type of assignments you’ve been tasked with, try to discover why that is. And build a plan to showcase your strengths and request more challenging projects.
If you feel underqualified for the work you’re being asked to do, make sure you have access to the resources or training you need to do the best job possible. Focusing on your present value and how you can improve it can help you feel more appreciated at your firm, enhancing your value.
#2 Check your CLE status
It might seem like just a few months ago that you took that continuing legal education (CLE) course but was it really? Many legal professionals get caught off-guard when it comes to compliance reporting. Even if you think your re-certification deadline is far away, take this time to check your status. Send in any certificates for courses you’ve completed but haven’t claimed credit for.
If you need more credits, start looking for free or low-cost CLE. Many vendors offer online options, and it’s likely your local association has some events upcoming, too.
#3 Take on an office project
Is there a closet you’ve been meaning to tackle or reorganization of desks that you’ve been considering? Maybe a summertime lull provides just the opportunity to refocus.
Enlist the help of your colleagues on a practical project that improves the office and gives you the chance to work together toward a common goal. This break in your routine will add a smidge of fun to your summer work days, too.
#4 Beautify your office
Now for the creative improvement that your office space is crying out for. Is there a piece of art you’ve been intending to hang or a wall that could use some color? Consider some crafty or artsy ways to collaborate with your coworkers on beautifying the space you all spend your week in. It could be quite the summer accomplishment.
#5 Clean your desk
Don’t just rearrange the piles on your desk – really clean it. Take every single thing off the top and out of all the drawers. Then thoroughly clean all the surfaces and place everything back, after you’ve gone through it all, tossing out the magazines and articles you’re never going to have time to read and the items that are doing nothing but taking up valuable space.
#6 Clear your other desktop
Have you wondered why you bother to have wallpaper on your computer desktop when you can’t see it for all the saved documents and icons residing there? If so, it’s likely time to clear out your background and everything that lives there.
Start by saving all important Word and PDF files in the appropriate folders. Then get rid of screenshots and shortcuts that are no longer necessary. Delete all those icons you never use.
Once your desktop is clean, consider keeping it that way by using an on-demand desktop application launcher that will eliminate the need for shortcuts entirely. And don’t forget where the real mess will likely be found – your inbox.
#7 Spruce up your inbox
Prioritize your inbox, taking note of things that have been in there a week or more that need to be signed, passed on to a colleague, or simply thrown away. This project will take 30 minutes or less, cost you nothing, and empowers you to move forward with a clean (or at least tidier) slate.
#8 Audit software and other tools
Review your current software subscriptions and long-held tools and see if anything has outgrown its usefulness. Then take time to check out what’s hot in the tech world. Is there anything your colleagues or friends from other firms have been buzzing about that you haven’t gotten a chance to try?
Had recent staffing changes and need to update passwords and access? Reach out to your vendors to make sure that all your info is up to date.
Using One Legal for court filing, service of process, court research, retrieval, and more? Just give our Customer Support team a call and let us know!
#9 Reconnect with your professional network
Many legal professionals put off networking, especially during busy times. But if things have gotten quiet around your law firm, it might be time to reestablish connections you’ve already made and look for some new ones. Because summer is a relatively slow season in the legal industry, your attempt to reach out won’t be as likely to get lost in the rush.
#10 Spruce up your personal brand
Are your business cards too outdated to be accurate? Your LinkedIn too stale to stand? Pretend that you’re about to go look for a new job or join a new association and take a critical look at how you’re presenting yourself. Update your online professional presence, refresh your resume (hey, just in case), and get some snappy new cards.
#11 Re-invest in your wellness
Snatch up those extra minutes of the day and use the time to breathe, stretch, do yoga, or otherwise give yourself the benefit of self-care. In an industry that’s as stressful as this one—or in just about any industry, actually—wellness is just as critical in the workplace as at home.
#12 Read a book in your industry
Combine beach reading with career development by reading a book just for legal professionals.
Or, if you just need a break from all the legalese, choose something from One Legal’s list of recommended reading for summer 2018.
Do you know of other projects around the firm that need some attention, now that summer is here? Tell us about them in the comments!