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You probably color coded your paper files but are you doing the same thing for electronic files? If you think that's not necessary then maybe you need to take a hard look at your file system's efficiency.
When everyone relied on paper files it was easy to see if things were messy. But electronic files can hide how disorganized things are under the surface.
If you've ever read or browsed through David Allen's 'Getting Things Done' you know organization is vital to productivity. The mess is holding your practice back even if you can't see it.
Color coding could be the answer.
The reason people color code their files is that is allows them to see in a quick glance what kind of work they're dealing with. The system could identify the type of case, the urgency it requires, or who the work is assigned to.
If you don't have one already, now is the time to create a color coding system for the files on your desktop.
It's not hard to set up color coding but it's important to make sure the system is easy to understand. Don't make it overly complicated and if you still have a paper file coding system, use that as a starting point.
One problem with color coding on paper files is that when things change, it can be hard to remove the color or re-label the files. That isn't an issue for electronic files where it's easy to change the labels as work is completed or cases are finished.
An added benefit to color coding electronic files in a small office with multiple attorneys is that shared folders and documents can be color coded by anyone on the network.
Set up an office wide system so that everyone can see what work needs doing. It also gives an instant view of what cases or areas need more attention on a day to day basis.
Running a small firm involves lots of small little tasks that take time away from the actual legal work you do for clients. Simplifying your organization strategy is a good step to maximizing your business.
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