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Paralegal Organization Tips: A Color-Coded Calendar Approach to To-Do Lists

As a paralegal, I have always been driven by the desire to have all the information and tasks at my disposal, ready to be tackled without delay. With this in mind, I have mastered a few paralegal organization tips. In the past, I was fortunate enough to have the support of both a secretary and an administrative clerk, enabling me to handle any task my attorneys threw my way. However, as resources became scarce and the number of cases increased, I had to adapt and develop the skill of discerning what should not be included on my list.


Throughout the progression and development of each case, a significant portion of the items on my to-do list would naturally become obsolete. It was crucial to consult the handling attorney to confirm which tasks were no longer necessary. Occasionally, certain items had to be reintroduced to the list based on changing circumstances. Consequently, my to-do lists were in a constant state of revision. Staying updated and informed became imperative, as failing to be copied on correspondences, notices, and filings prevented me from effectively deciding what could be omitted from my workload. It was a reminder to exercise caution in such situations.


My approach to managing tasks evolved, and I found that my color-coded calendar served as an effective substitute for a to-do list. By conducting a search for a case name, I could generate a case-specific deadline and to-do list. This system was based on a few fundamental principles:


  1. Anything that was not due on the current day would not be included on the day’s to-do list.
  2. If a task did not appear on my calendar, it was not considered to be due at all. This necessitated the ability to identify tasks that were billable and ensure their inclusion.
  3. Urgent matters would always find their way into my inbox, thus allowing me to prioritize them accordingly.
  4. For tasks that required more than half a day of work, I set earlier deadlines, giving myself a few days or a week before the actual deadline.
  5. I would start each day by reviewing my inbox and calendar, making adjustments as needed, and determining how much I could accomplish that day.
  6. Before leaving for the day, I made it a point to visualize and plan for the tasks I would tackle the following day, taking into account the progress I had made thus far. This helped me gauge if I needed to work overtime.


In conclusion, the evolution of my approach to managing tasks as a paralegal has led me to prioritize the use of a color-coded calendar over traditional to-do lists. By adhering to certain principles and continuously updating my knowledge and understanding, I have been able to optimize my efficiency and ensure that tasks are completed in a timely manner. Hopefully, these paralegal organization tips can help you the next time you’re in the office!


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