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Posts published in “Recordkeeping”

Seven Tips on Decluttering Your Office

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With warmer days approaching, April is the perfect time to clean and work on office organization.

Here are seven tips to help you declutter your office in honor of National Records and Information Management month.

  1. Start small. Don’t look at the overall big picture. Instead, divide your office into areas or stations (Example: mail station, printing station, filing station, etc.) and look at organizing one area at a time. An office area might be as small as a drawer, bookshelf, or corner.
  2. Start with you. Before you touch anything: think about what environments, what scenarios, what systems make you the most productive. For example, establish an environment that mimics those thoughts.
  3. Three-Part Declutter system. A system can start with a To-Go pile (donate, trash, return), a Keep pile (frequently used items), and a Put Away pile (files, etc.). Physically place items in each pile and move items to the appropriate location. If the new location involves an area you haven’t organized, place to the side until you can get to it, but set yourself a deadline so you won’t procrastinate.
  4. Time to Spring Clean. Clean all surfaces including drawers, keyboards, computer vents, monitors, phone, mouse, light fixtures, blinds, window sills, baseboards, chairs, office accessories, floors, ceiling fans, desks, countertops, etc. In addition, untangle wires and cords, purchase a new battery backup surge protector for all equipment, and install open shelves in areas where you need more storage but not more clutter.
  5. Purge, purge, purge. If you haven’t thought about this already, consider donating excess or unused office supplies. Throw out broken items, manuals you can find online, and old magazines or catalogs.
  6. Your Work Area.
    1. Place the most frequently used items on your desktop.
    2. Use drawer organizers to place desk accessories and keep supplies discoverable in drawers.
    3. Label and organize supplies keeping only what you expect to use in the next year.
    4. Use systems such as colors, numbers, and the alphabet to help you sort and organize items quickly.
  7. Reach Out for Resources. 
    1. Check out the Managing Your Practice page from the South Carolina Bar for additional office organization resources.
    2. Visit the South Carolina Bar Lending Library. There are several practice and management guides to help you organize your practice.
    3. Contact pmap@scbar.org for a free consultation.

Don’t Blink: It’s Time to Prepare!

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If a natural disaster, freak accident, or unexpected illness were to happen, would you and your office be prepared?

Hurricanes, Floods, Tornadoes, Natural Disasters,  Freak Accidents, Unexpected Situations - OH MY!

June 1 marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. However, now, is the perfect time to start thinking about other unexpected situations as well. What can you and your firm do to be prepared? Here are 12 important tips to help you:

  1. Determine your risk. Secure an insurance check up.
  2. Develop an evacuation plan.
  3. Put together a disaster supply kit.
  4. Develop an emergency contact list of your office staff and of individuals/businesses/entities, etc. that you or your staff contact on a regular basis. Store in a safe location both onsite and offsite.
  5. Strengthen your office. Make sure your office is in good repair of any physical issues or damages (examples: check trees, windows, doors, roofs, flooring, ceilings, etc. for any physical damages). Move filing systems to a higher location in the event of flooding. Create several backup systems in the event of physical or electronic file damage and do test restores to make sure they fully work. Always have a secured offsite backup in a safe location. Also, develop an inventory of all office contents.
  6. Complete your disaster plan, go over with all employees in your firm (so they know what to do in the event of a disaster), and store a copy in a safe location onsite and offsite.
  7. Review resources like Ready.govthe National Weather Servicethe National Hurricane Center and South Carolina Emergency Management Division.
  8. Download your copy of the South Carolina Hurricane Guide or pick up a copy at any S.C. Welcome Center, Walgreens or coastal DMV offices.
  9. Check out the Practice Management Assistance Program’s Disaster and Emergency Preparedness web page
  10. Check out the Practice Management Assistance Program's Lawyers in Transition in a Variety of Situations for resources on how to prepare for freak accidents, unexpected illnesses, or death of a lawyer).
  11. Request a copy of PREPARE, a free booklet, from the South Carolina Bar's Practice Management Assistance program.
  12. Remind your colleagues to do the same. It's great to be a good neighbor and lawyer who cares!

Remember, it only takes one event or unexpected situation to change your life and community forever.

Don't Blink: be prepared! Contact pmap@scbar.org if we can help.

End Year Organization

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It is hard to believe that there are less than 16 days till the end of 2015! With the year-end fast approaching, many lawyers are organizing records for the tax season and establishing goals for their firm for the new year. Take the time to consider these nine vital numbers for your law firm’s health appearing in the blog Attorney at Work as you assess your firm’s accomplishments, improvements, and goals for 2016.  In addition, check out this great report about Year End Closeout written by Lexis Nexis and these Six Steps for Better Tax Organization from Small Biz Accountants. Questions regarding your practice? E-mail pmap@scbar.org.

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