Top 5 Books I want to Read in 2018


Non-Fiction Edition

I know it’s a bit late in the month to do a Top 5 books I want to read in 2018. Before it gets even later in the month, let’s get started with my Top Five Books. These are in no particular order.

the Success Principles

The first time I heard of Jack Canfield was when I picked up a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I didn’t buy it then and I don’t think I’ve ever read it (need to do something about that) but for some reason I never forgot the name of the author. The next time I heard the name was during the movie The Secret. I immediately became fascinated by his story and began looking for books by him. For some reason I never picked up Chicken Soup for the Soul (maybe I should). However, I picked up The Success Principles and immediately read it cover to cover. It’s been a while now. Recently I heard about a new publication of the book in celebration of the 10th anniversary and since I had a credit on my Audible account, I thought I’d get it. Considering my 2.5 hour commute to work and then again back home……. I figured I could at least be doing something productive so, why not listen to how to be successful. The book is not a how to be successful, per se. It is instead about how you can improve certain aspects of yourself which in turn will allow you to open yourself up to success. I’m really looking forward to starting this book soon. I’m ready to be a super success :).

Judgement Detox

Judging ourselves and others is a waste of energy. I am guilty of both, more often than not I’m my worst critic and tend to judge myself much more harshly than others do. A perfect example seems to be every year at the time of my annual review I’m always the first one to comment on areas to can work on to improve. On the other hand, others seem to acknowledge my accomplishments and my successes much more readily than I. . I will be honest, I have another another book by the same author that I haven’t read yet The Universe Has Your Back. This year I’ll get to both of these…… Promise to myself.

Time Management Magic

We all have 24 hours at our disposal. Why is it that some people tend to get so much done and seem to have the energy to go on for another 24 hours and I’m feeling depleted at the end of the day and I feel as I didn’t even scratch the surface of the to-do list? I would imagine that the answer would be choices but….. I haven’t read the book so I’m not going to guess. This book was written by an ex-Disney employee who, while working at Disney and managing 100s of people developed time management and life hacks to take control of his time and succeed. I’m sure you all know by now that I’m a sucker for a good time management hack. This is at the top of the list, for sure.

The Slight Edge

One of my many goals this year is to make the choices that will ultimately bring me to my happy place. This year I’m going to concentrate on TheParalegal and make create something we can all use. I want TheParalegal to be your go-to place for your paralegal life. This book speaks about choices that we all make that lead to that much elusive happiness. I am looking forward to this read.

Build Your Dream Network

I feel like this book was tailored just for me and all other introverts like me. As an introvert, sometimes it’s really difficult for me to create the networks that everyone seems to have no trouble surrounding themselves with. This year, as mentioned above, I am focused on making connections. On helping others achieve their own successes. I am looking to this book to open some doors and help me develop the connections I need to bring you the connections you need.

So that’s the list

From the list above, it looks like this year is going to be very much a year of growth for me and for TheParalegal. I am determined to make things happen for all of us. Don’t be fooled though. I have a few fiction books on my list too but I’ll let you digest this list for now. Look for my Top Five Fiction Books I want to Read in 2018.

What about you? What do you want to read this year? Is there anything you would like to suggest I include on my list? what about a book about paralegals? I’ve been looking for something like that and haven’t been able to find a good one. Do you have any suggestions? Please leave comments below.

On a totally separate note…. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but I’ve created a Facebook page and Facebook group and I would love if you went to visit me there. I will be posting my tips and tricks that I learned in my 20 years of being a paralegal in law firms and in-house. I will be putting up training videos as well as templates I used and still use to make my life easier. It’ll be a bit until I can do all that but the goal is to provide you with as many resources as possible to make your day-to-day easier. I’m also working on launching a newsletter in February and if you’re subscribed to my email list you will receive a FREE copy of the newsletter where I will also be featuring up and coming legal issues, paralegal tips and tricks, books I want to read, new things I learned and when able to I will have some interviews. I am serious about wanting to make this a place where we can all come to for answers with no judgement. I want to be able to provide you with all the information and resources I wish I had when I was starting out.

Please go say hello at @ThisParalegalLife and say hello and if you’ve subscribed to the blog via email, look for the newsletter announcement soon. I’m so excited for 2018!!!!!!!

I cannot wait to see you and start working on my networking goals.

XoXo

How To Plan Your Day and Be Organized


This is how I do it!!!!!

Who knew that it would take me so long to figure out how to get some control of my days. I say some because complete control of my day when there are so many moving parts is but a dream. No sooner do I think I have some control and everything is going smoothly when …. Well you know….. For some time I considered and even attempted to use two planners. For me this was more trouble that it was worth it. For you it may work and if you want to test it and need some help, let me know I will give you templates and show you how I organized my work planner. As I said, for me two planners are not a solution. After, all, I am one person, I have one life therefore I need one planner. Carrying two planners around or having to sync two planners became a hassle. Things started falling through the cracks. I found found myself playing catch up all the time because I hadn’t checked one planner against the other.

Fast forward a few planners and planner a few planner hacks and this is how I plan my days today ….. happy to report it’s been working. I will say that I’m still working through some project management issues and testing applications for project management but for my day to day planning and organizing I use my Filofax Malden in purple.

I only keep monthly pages (month on two pages) and daily pages (day on two pages).  I carry the full year in my monthly pages because I use that for forward planning but I only carry the current month on my daily pages for now.  Depending on where I land for the project management issue that may be changing…. Stay tuned for further developments.   My daily pages are my EVERYTHING. I plan on those, I track on those and sometimes I journal on those (short one liners) or at least I make sure I write down one thing for which I’m thankful that day. I keep both work and personal schedules and plans on the daily pages but keep them separate by designating one side of my right page for work and one side of the same page for personal. When I open the daily page I can see all my to-do’s for both aspect of my life … Same person, same life, different hats!

Color Coding

I thought about color coding the various aspects of my life.  One color for business and a different color for personal.  Although that achieved the goal I was looking for and, in fact, was one step closer to planner peace and making me more organized and productive. That too, was annoying and in a way almost the same as having to carry two planners. The only difference was that, instead of two planners I was having to carry a whole bunch of pens which made me nuts. There are days when I don’t carry a purse.   My planner is with me all the time, it’s also my wallet. I carry with me a black pen and a green pen (I’ll explain the green pen a little later).

I cannot take credit for my current method of planning.  I did not come up with it.   Maryanne Moll is the genius behind my planner peace situation and if you have a few minutes I suggest you go check out her channel on YouTube and her store on Etsy.

So… How do I plan?

Every night I sit with my planner and look at what I accomplished that day and move the things that didn’t get done to the next day. I also keep a running list of things I want to do on that particular week and when during this review I take those into consideration.  If I think I can fit more to-do’s on my next day schedule, I add them.  If not, then i don’t.  I am the boss of my life and I get to decide what I can accomplish.  All the entries done at this time are done in my normal black ink.  The pen I use every day…… It’s a fountain pen and I love it (minus the black fingers once in a while).  As each task is accomplished (on a good day most will be) I cross it off with green ink (which is the other pen I carry around with me). I also use the green pen to add any new tasks that get thrown at me in the middle of the day (we all have those).

Why the two colors? Well, you know those days when you feel like nothing at the top of your list got done and at the end of the day you’re wondering why you’re so tired but got nothing accomplished? Well, the different color allows me to see what was done that I had not counted on having to get done. It also allows me to remember tasks done, no matter how small, when management feels that I need to explain my existence. …. For some of you would imagine will help you with your billable and non-billable time. Hmmmm imagine you use black for non-billable and green for billable time…… Let me think about that for a minute.

During this nightly review I also fill in the left side of the planner.  The portion dedicated to tracking.  I don’t 100% believe that trackers are absolutely necessary, but I am a nerd and I enjoy looking back on my days and see things like; what made me happy (my gratitude), my mood, my steps, the weather…… it helps me connect the dots and to me life is all about connecting the dots. Sometimes, things that don’t make sense on that day will make sense when you have a full picture. Like, why didn’t I get much done that day…… Ohhhh yeah, I had a headache because it rained for three days in a row and I just wasn’t in a good mood.  Who knows….. all the dorky stuff that makes me who I am.

If you look at the top middle of the page you see something that looks like a Chronodex (a time tracker). I don’t have to bill my time …. Yeah, I know!!!!!! #blessed.  But I’m seriously not bragging. Entering time is not as bad as we feel it is. Come join me in my facebook group and join our chat.  I’m working on a few goodies that will help you slay the billable time monster. I have a plan to get training videos and templates on how to bill your time stress free….. but I digress. At night I go through the tracker side, fill in and color all the things that happened during the day.

The outside ring and second ring stand for the location, where was I? (home, office, outside, etc.). The larger outside ring is reserved for where I plan to be…. The second ring is reserved for where I actually was. The first ring gets colored in the night before while I’m doing my planning and the second ring gets colored in at the end of the day when I review the day and plan for the next day.  The third and fourth rings (the inside rings) are reserved for activities.  What did I plan to do at that time and what I actually did. Was I in a meting? Was I working on the blog? Was I working on the book? Was I with a friend or spending time with my husband or doing house work?  I know this sounds crazy and you may be thinking ain’t nobody got time for that but it actually helps me figure out how long it takes me to accomplish tasks.  It’s also a great way to relax for me for to fill in little squares with color.  Like I said, this is not something that I think you MUST do to stay organized but for me, it works and it makes me happy.

For example, if I tell someone I can do something in 1 hour and it actually takes me two do it.  I know that the next time I’m asked to do that same task I can better assess how long it will take me to do and, not only can I manage my time better but I can also give the lawyer assigning work to me a better understanding of how long it takes to do something and aren’t just guessing.  I’m a firm believer in under promise and over deliver…. This little hack helps me keep in line with my goals and keeps me productive through out the day.

For paralegals or anyone who has to bill time, being and staying organized is extremely important.  If you can go through your day knowing what you’re going to work on next and how long it will take you.  You can schedule your day in ways to take advantage of your best time of day.  You can feel more in control of your time and achieve more productivity without stressing yourself out…. and who doesn’t want that?

Do you plan your day?  What methods or hacks do you use to stay organized?  leave me a note.  I’d love to hear from you!

XoXo

 

Paralegal Poll Results


It looks like 40% of you are interested in learning more about the different practice areas. I am currently working getting a really cool interview, with an attorney who has a very interesting practice.  However, I’m not sure I can pull this one off so I rather not promise anything.  I will let you know if I can work some magic. In the meantime, I would love to ask our other paralegal bloggers if they would be interested in writing a guest article for The Paralegal where they talk about their experience in their practice areas.  That would be great.  I’m sure you are all sick of hearing from me.

Image from thejazzemporium.wordpress.com

How about that?  I would love to learn from all the other great paralegals out there.

On a Personal Note


It’s 6:30 am and as usual I am on the train, heading into work, trying to catch up on all the blogs and articles on my RSS, Twitter and Facebook. 

Things have been so busy at work lately, the past few days I haven’t left the office until 8:00 pm. This makes for some very long days a very messy house and my neglect of my writing.  

As I was saying. As I’m sitting here, on this train, fighting the urge to just take a nap until I get to my destination instead on catching up on the news, I realize that some of the paralegals I have recently become friendly with are extremely busy as well and yet they find the time to post every day, and have a great attitude about all the things that have piled up on their plates. I have to admit that I am a little jealous. How do they find the time?

Yes, Lynne DeVenney, author and blogger at practical Paralegalism, Jeannie Sapp Johnston, founder and CEO of Paralegal Gateway, Vicki Voisin, author, speaker and blogger at The Paralegal Mentor, and last but not least, my newest friend Sue Ann Jaffarian, author of Odelia Grey mystery series and blogger. Sorry I don’t have access to all the links right now.  You can look these women up. I promise, you will not be disappointed.  

Personally, I want to know how they all do this and still manage to keep their sanity.  To you, my readers, I suggest you take some time to go check out their websites and/or blogs. Get to know them. They all have great lessons to share with each of us. I don’t care how long you have been in the business, these women can teach us a thing or two about dedication and determination.  I for one have them all on my RSS feeder. I don’t want to miss a thing they have to say 

Well, I’m almost at my station and my day crazy work day will begin very soon. I just hope I can perform with the grace these women have and at the end of the day I will have some good lessons to share with all of you. 

Stay tuned!!!!!