Law Office Daniel J Miller - October 2019

INYOUR DEFENSE

OCTOBER 2019

757.517.2942 | LegalDefense.com

The Most Important Part of Being Organized

TRUSTING OTHERS TO VALUE ORGANIZATION

Organization is important — even if I didn’t always think so. That’s probably why the entire first week of October is National Get Organized Week. Every aspect of my office, including working with clients and how my staff do their jobs, has a standard operating procedure attached to ensure our clients are taken care of. I coasted through my high school and undergraduate years without having to instill any type of order in how I got my schoolwork done. That all changed when I got to law school, and it changed again when I started my own practice. “Organization is important, but, without a staff working hard to find the best, most efficient ways to help our clients, we would be dead in the water.” In college, I was the guy who didn’t study, maybe went to class, and did the bare minimum to get by. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life at that point, and I didn’t have any drive to pick a direction. When I finally decided I wanted to go to law school, I thought the same attitude and organization tactics I had been using most of my life would still work. But that was not the case. During my first semester, I procrastinated studying for my constitutional law final exam. If there is one class I shouldn’t have procrastinated for, it was constitutional law. I just remember

thinking, “I’ll get to it when I get to it,” but it was nearly impossible to retain everything I needed to know from that textbook — and I knew it. I crammed all my studying into the 48 hours leading up to the test, and I was a dead man walking, a zombie, when I stumbled into the lecture hall to take the exam. It was difficult to put a cohesive thought together, much less write down my answers. Ultimately, I did okay on the test, but it wasn’t because I had actually retained any information. I just dumped everything I had read in that past 48 hours onto my paper without actually remembering it in the long term. Perhaps it worked in the short term, but the exhaustion I felt leading up to the exam made me rethink my studying strategies. The rest of my time in law school was different. I became a total type A personality, wanting to have control over every aspect of my schedule, my responsibilities, and my life. That change in personality followed me when I first began practicing law and when I started my own firm. I wanted to make sure I had control over every aspect of the office, down to the smallest detail, and that’s when I learned organizing myself wasn’t the only key to success. Trying to micromanage every aspect of the firm, including SOPs and my staff’s responsibilities, was exhausting. Exhaustion is the enemy of organization, and trying to do everything yourself will make your

rigid structures crumble in no time. But you don’t have to go in alone. Organization is important, but, without a staff working hard to find the best, most efficient ways to help our clients, we would be dead in the water. I had to learn to trust my staff to value order as much as I did and to get their tasks done without me hovering over them, and I’m grateful for their dedication not only during the first week of October but also year-round.

– Daniel J. Miller

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