Who do you want to be?

Become your Future Self

We often feel stuck in our careers and feel like we are spinning our wheels and getting nowhere fast.  I know this because it happens to me…. all the time.  There are times when I need to feel a little bit sorry for myself and blame the fact that I haven’t gotten that promotion or that great project (at least I thought it was a great project) on someone or something outside of myself.  In fact, it’s no one’s fault.  It’s my fault.  Yep…. totally my fault if I’m not ready to be the person I want to eventually be.

Where you are is the sum of what you have worked on in the past.  So, it’s only right to assume that where you will be in the future will be the sum of your efforts today.

I will give you an example.  Sally (not a real person or maybe she is) wants to be a writer.  She makes a goal for herself to write and publish a book.  She reads all about writing,  how to do it, how to organize it and how to get it published.  These are all good things but the first thing Sally should be focused on is to actually write the book.  It’s not easy.  Sally has never written anything more involved than a but a few essays for school and reports and legal summaries at work.  She has a full time job and by the time she gets home she’s too tired to write anything worth reading.  So she doesn’t.  Instead she reads about writing.  A few years go by and Sally has no book.  She doesn’t even have a chapter of the book written.  Sure she’s written a few pages.  That one scene she wrote when she was super motivated after watching that one interview with one of her favorite authors.  It’s not good but at least it’s something.  Yet, a scene does not a book make.  The next year Sally has the same goal.  To be a published author.  This goes on for many years and eventually Sally is so discouraged for not having written the book that she gives up and decides that it’s not what she wants to do after all.

I have felt like Sally on many occasions.  I’m sure you have also.  We all have.  So what is the trick?  Why are some people able to achieve their dreams and others aren’t?  Well, the reason, I have learned, is that they put themselves in the shoes of their future selves.  They do what their future self will be doing.  What about the stuff that their present selves need to get done?  what about if I have to go to work and don’t have time to write, or practice the piano because I’m so tired? or don’t have time to learn a new skill so that I can start my own business?  My answer to that is that there is always time.  There are people who do it so why can’t you?  And those things that you HAVE to do today will still be there in a few minutes or a few hours after you finish what your future self needs to get done today.

We all have the same amount of time per day.  Some people manage to work a full time job and start a new business.  Some people manage to have a full time job and write books at the same time.  Are they magical?  Nope.  They have figured out what their future self will be doing and so they find those little bits of time when they can practice being their future self.  They write as if they are already writers when they have a break…. at lunch.  They wake up an hour or two earlier and write before going to work.  There is always a way…. at least that’s what I’ve been told.

Telling yourself that you have so many other things to do is a trick you play on yourself. You don’t want to do the hard stuff, the stuff you are not very good at yet.  Your brain knows that you are afraid of will happen…… you’ll get frustrated and angry because you are not awesome at it, other people will laugh at you….. so, your brain comes to the rescue.  Your brain is set up to protect you from harm and when it senses that there is “harm” it starts coming up with ways to bring you to a safe place.  My brain has done this to me on many occasions.  What if I told you that I AM Sally??????    I waste so much time on YouTube and email and Facebook.  I tell myself it’s research or I have to check email because there may be something there that needs my attention, or I check Facebook because my family who is out of the country may be trying to get in touch with me and that’s how I keep in touch with them….. you may different reasons.  We all have them.

Doing something for the first time is scary.  The only way to stop it from scaring you is to work on it a little bit at a time.  Learn concepts, stay with the discomfort until you feel comfortable.  Put yourself in the shoes of your future self when this new thing you started today will be second nature to you.  Sooner than you think you will be so good at it, you won’t even remember what it was like when you weren’t.  Then, it’s time to focus on another future self.

If you want to grow you have to become your future self.  The present self is already awesome.

See you in my next post





How to Prepare and Hold Meetings

Have you ever sat through an entire meeting and had no idea what the purpose was? To make matters worse, when you left the meeting you had no idea if you were supposed to do anything or even if anything was accomplished? I have.

Attending meetings like these can be so frustrating.  Not only do I come out of the meeting completely confused but I feel like I wasted my time when I could have been doing something more productive.

These types of meetings happen all the time. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are a few things that can be done to ensure that the participants come away with a good idea of what the meeting is about as well as a feeling of accomplishment and purpose.

A One Page Agenda

YES! One page. You don’t have to completely fill the entire page. When I say a one page agenda I mean that it should not be more than one page. If you feel like you need two pages, consider scheduling two meetings or focus on the one important thing. Most people don’t have the attention span to sit through a two page agenda and if you try it, you will lose them.

Figure out the most important thing you want to accomplish

Don’t worry about the detail – well at least not for the agenda. You should be fully familiar with the topic and know the details. I have a bullet list of the important things I want to discuss.  I don’t clutter the agenda with them but I am prepared to talk about them as they are helpful points but they don’t have to be on the agenda.  

A good concise summary of the topic must be sent out to the attendees ahead of the meeting to ensure that the attendees are prepared with questions and/or input to achieve the goals you want to achieve during the meeting.

Keep in mind that the success of most meetings is not the length of the agenda but the outcome.

Focus on the goals:

There’s no point in scheduling a meeting and getting everyone in one room if you don’t know what you want to accomplish.  Are you trying to get buy-in to a project you are working on? Are you trying to get new ideas for the project? For example, are you asking the participants to help you figure out additional research that needs to be done? Are you showcasing the work your team did on a particular project and how you accomplished it? It’s important to let the attendees know why they are going to be sitting in a conference room or on a conference call for a certain amount of time.

If you are asking for help on a project you probably are asking people do do certain tasks. It’s important to be clear about this.  Be with another sheet of paper to write down the tasks and the names of the people assigned to do the tasks.  This will be helpful later on when you are doing your follow up.

That’s it. During the meeting that’s all you have to do. Be concise, be susinct and be prepared.

One bonus tip:

After the meeting you must send out a summary of what took place. You don’t have to write down everything that happened during the meeting or the call. You’re not a court reporter or a scribe. Touch on the highlights of the meeting and list the people who will be helping you as well as the due dates or at least the dates when you will be reaching out for status. Doing this will make sure that everyone is on the same page and there are no miss-understandings.

In your summary invite questions and make yourself available for additional individual discussions in case there is a need to clarify anything that took place or anything being asked of the participants.

Do you have any other tips and/or tricks for holding meetings?  These days we are meeting more than usual.  What have you learned about your meeting style?  what has worked and what hasn’t worked?  I’d love to hear it.

See you on the next blog post or the newsletter.  Make sure to subscribe for more articles like this.



The Importance of Cross Training your Team

Cross training…. Every time I see these two words I can’t help but think of some form of work out and feeling tired. In this case cross training is not a work out and it doesn’t have to feel exhausting. Cross training your team is a simple thing that a manager can do to ensure that the work will get done even if someone is on vacation or sick or in the current situation not able to come to office or work from home for one reason or another.

Cross training starts by identifying the skills that are important to keep the team running in an emergency and then training or helping each member of the team to acquire those skills. Keep in mind that the point is not to make each member of the team to be as good as the member who does the job every day. The purpose is to make sure that the most important work gets done. So if there are nuances of the particular skill that get done because the team member who normally does the work has 100 years experience, the rest of the team is not going to get those nuances and it’s ok. As long as the work is getting done.

Using me and my team as an example: The past few months I have been training my team members to do each other’s jobs in case someone or more than one person needs to step in to cover an absent employee.

let me warn you that some people will not be happy to hear that they will have to take on additional work.  However, as the manager, my job is to make everyone feel like they are an important member of the team and without them we couldn’t accomplish our goals.  I need to make them all understand that their extra work is for the good of the team and I will be available if they need the help.  It is also my job to lead them to want to do it and understand that if the team fails because they were not able to let go of the negative attitude it means they also fail.  

Create a list of jobs and projects that need coverage

I started this project by asking each team member to get me a list of every project they are currently working on, including projects that they may have taken on as a stretch assignment from another team – my company allows for this to happen in order to help employees move up or move into different roles throughout their career. I also asked them to give me list of sources (regulators, third party vendors, etc.) that they use in their day to day work.

Our job involves review and research of legal updates (legislation, regulation changes and statute changes) on a day to day basis to help the lawyers advise the clients how to manage their day to day.

Create a Summary of the Work Done being done

Once I received the list I created a spreadsheet with each of the team members in one column, their day to day work in another column and a third column showing their outside projects. I then asked each of them to take a look at the list and confirm that we had all the work on the chart and then asked them to write a short paragraph about what they do for each of the tasks they perform. So for example, when I monitor laws for the broker dealer business I make sure I look at the any news articles relating to the particular regulators that regulate broker dealers, then I go to each of the regulatory websites and start by looking at press releases and then proposed regulations. While doing that I’m updating the systems as necessary in order to make sure that the proposed items get funneled to the attorneys that need the information so they can advise the clients of the upcoming changes in case they have to change a particular process of the business.

After I am sure that I looked at all the regulatory websites I then turn my attention to the various states’ legislative bodies and begin by looking for legislation at the governors’ desks since those are the ones that are most likely going to pass within the next couple of weeks. Again I update our internal systems to make sure the lawyers are, again, notified of impending changes and prepared to advise the clients that something may be changing soon.

In my portion of the team tasks’ summary I make sure write down what regulators I look at and in what order.  I advise the team which ones are most important and therefore need to be looked at every day and lastly I tell each team member where I go to find the pending legislation. I also make sure I tell the team what third party vendors I use to track the legislation, how I go about tracking the legislation.  

For the managers this is important because you will need to know to what systems your team members will need access. For example, two of the sources I use are WestLaw and Lexis. This is important because it means that the person who will cover for me will need to have access to these two sources and also be trained to receive email updates.  .

Create a Shadow Schedule

Once all the summaries are written and put into some type of order (I call this the desk manual for the team). I make sure we schedule time to have each team member be shadowed by another team member. I only focus on a ratio of 1:1, meaning one team member will cover for another team member but this can be adjusted depending on the needs of the individual team.

This shadowing that I do is focused on how a normal day will look like. The team member who will be covering will need to know how much work is going to come in on a normal day and how it will come in as well as when the emails will be coming in. Knowing this will help the covering team member figure out how to schedule their day because they will still have to manager their own workload.

As the Manager

As the team manager I make sure that I am at least somewhat familiar with the work and the processes being followed by each team member. Worse come to worse I may have to pitch in if it’s a particularly heavy week. That happens if the emergency takes place during the start of the legislative period when a whole lot of bills are being introduced or at the end of the legislative period when a whole lot of bills are being pushed through for signature by the governor.


If you are the manager, it is your job to make sure the team is performing at its best and to be the support for the team.

Working from Home – How do I feel about it?

I’m not new at working from home.  A couple of years ago I worked from home for an entire year.  I loved and it was probably the most productive I’ve ever been.  I don’t have children (I have two poodles) so I never had to worry about getting interrupted and my time is my time.   During this time I set up a new process for regulatory monitoring for the entire consumer bank and the process is still going strong with some changes.  We developed a regulatory library with laws impacting the industry from every state in the United States and recently we’ve added some foreign jurisdictions.  This program is now the basis for our obligations.

Since the pandemic, I like many others in the country, have been working from home and again, this is probably the most productive I’ve been.  My job consists of reading lots of laws, summarizing them and letting the legal teams know about upcoming legislation and how it will impact the industry and the processes we currently in place.  I know, it sounds boring but I enjoy it.  I’ve always said that if I weren’t a paralegal I would probably be a librarian.  I love reading and enjoy the quiet.  I am also an introvert.  I don’t mind crowds.  I’m not opposed to having a social gathering (when able to) but I don’t do well if that’s the norm.

Since we are all talking about getting back to the office I’ve become more stressed.  I don’t enjoy the set up.  There are too many distractions.  Not necessarily people who want to come chat with me.  My cubicle is actually pretty out of the way so unless someone really needs to talk to me I can go days without seeing anyone.  The walls of the cubicles at the office are high enough that I don’t even see the person sitting in the cubicle immediately in front of me unless we both stand up.  The distractions I’m talking about are the other conversations.  They don’t have to be loud to be distracting.  Sometimes when they are mere whispers they are more distracting than if they were loud, I think.  I guess my brain want so figure out what is being said.  Call me nosy!!!!

Anyway, working from home allows me the opportunity to really focus on what I’m reading and when comes time to summarize the law it allows me the focus to get the job done much quicker and more concise.  Since we began working from home I have found that I don’t need as much time to get through the work I need to do in one day.  Normally, that entails going through each of the states legislative sites and finding introduced legislation and marking it to be tracked.  Once that is done I go through the legislation that I am tracking to see if there are any changes and what the chances are that a bill will become a law.  I enjoy having the time to actually think about patterns.  How many states are introducing the same type of bill?  Will it impact another area of the industry?  Have any states figured that out?  What should I let the attorney know to keep an eye on and to tell the client?  These are the things that I have had the time to think about since the distractions are at a minimum.  When I’m in the office I barely have time to get through the new legislation, let alone have time to see patterns.  Most of the time, when in the office, I’m in reaction mode.  Trying to stay above water.  It’s been nice having a bit of breathing room lately.  I’ve even taken a few classes in other things I’m interested in learning.

What about you?  Have you been working from home?  How is that going?

How I stay Organized and On Task

Very often I’m asked how I manage to do so many things.  How do I have time for two blogs, a full time job, launching a business, keeping a house without help (the husband helps a little) and philanthropy work.  Nope, I’m not super human, nor am I a robot.  The way I manage all these things in my life is by staying organized and on task.  Yes, I still, sometimes, fall off the wagon and procrastinate.  I AM HUMAN.  We all need to take time to play and forget the to do list sometimes.  The difference is that I make sure I get back on track as soon as possible.

I use a few apps to help me stay focused.  All the apps I use sync across all my devices, my MacBook, my iPad and my iPhone.  Although I am fully integrated in the Apple ecosystem you don’t have to be.

Voice Memo

An idea pops up when you least expect it.  When that happens I don’t always have the time to look for a pen and paper or open my phone to the right application or location where I can record the idea.  I’m not sure you’re like me, but if I don’t record the idea as soon as it pops up in my brain I will lose it forever.  Yep, even if I tell myself that I am going to remember it.  I’ve used every trick in the book to try to remember it and it never works.  So, I now record my thoughts and when I can I listen to them again and if I still think they are good ideas I transfer them to my idea incubator where other ideas are sitting waiting for the right time to make their appearance.

A calendar

Recently I have been testing Google Calendar.  I’ve been using iCal since the iPhone first came out and I like it but I’m bored with it.  Google Calendar is not much different but it is a little prettier. I think Apple is slacking off on some of their applications.

I use my calendar as an event reminder…. dentist and doctors’ appointments, birthdays, anniversaries, dinners out…. you know the normal stuff.  I tried calendar blocking but I’m not big on that.  I do it for work where I block a few hours each day for uninterrupted work.  But my personal calendar I don’t feel the need to do it and it doesn’t work for me in the same way.   For those of you who don’t know what calendar blocking is; it’s when you block time to do planned things.  So if you have to write a blog post, you block a few hours that week when you are going to just write your blog post…. if you have to prepare for a presentation, you block your calendar that week to prepare for the presentation.  It’s a great idea but for the work that I do in my personal life even my business (blogs and the launch of the new business) I usually just plan to do the task on a day and fit it in as I go along.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes I move it to another day.


This is the meat and bones of my planning.  I plan everything in Notion.   I’ve been using Notion on and off for the past few years.  Two months ago I went all in.  I use Notion now to store all my thoughts, articles I want to read later, yearly goals, monthly goals and projects, thoughts and ideas, my book lists, my articles, movies to watch and music to listen to.

When planning I use notion to break down my goals into projects and then my projects into actionable tasks.  The actionable tasks become my daily to do’s (sort of).  One of the things that I still have not figured out how to do in Notion is to schedule recurring tasks.  You know those tasks you do every couple of days or every couple of weeks.  So in a way I’m still using Apple Reminders to help me with those.

I also use Notion to help with my bills.  I created a database to track all the household bills and that database roles up to my daily tasks so when there’s a bill due it shows up on my daily page.  I will try to figure out how to do a video about my Notion set up and as soon as I can figure out how to do get it done right I will post it.  I think it will make more sense if I do it that way.


All of this planning can be done with a pen and paper.  The trick is to make sure you review each of the steps on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.  Don’t let one thing fall through the cracks or you will have to pick up the pieces and it can be so discouraging that you wind up letting it all fall apart.  I set up meetings with myself to review my week every Sunday and get ready for the next week.  At the end of the month I have a meeting with myself again to review my month.

Being methodical about my planning helps me make sure I stay on track.  Sure sometimes I slack off…. how many times have I promised to be more consistent with my writing here on the blog only to fail?  More times than I care to remember.  And, as I mentioned above, every time I come back it’s a struggle to get the ball rolling and get into a routine.

Let me know how you keep yourself organized and on task.  Do you use a pen and paper?  Do you use an app or many apps?  Let’s start a conversation below in the comments.

Thanks and I’ll see you in my next post.

Four Tips for Managing a Remote Team

Photo from ReadersDigest No copyright infringement intended. 

Working remotely is becoming increasingly popular.  Why shouldn’t it?  Remote work benefits both the company and the employee.  The employee is able to work in a much less rigid environment and not waste time commuting back and forth allowing, or aiding, in a better work/life balance (note that I’m not a fan of that saying and I don’t believe it can ever be achieved).  It benefits the employer because it is extremely less expensive than having to pay the overhead of having employees in an office which is becoming less and less economical.

However, working from home has some drawbacks.  Such as not having the face-to-face time with the higher ups which for some may mean less chance of promotions.  The thing I found the hardest was not having the daily conversations which allow me to get to know my team on a more deep level and therefore allows me to be a better manager.  Not everyone is the same and the more you know each member of your team as an individual the better you are at foreseeing “problems” before they arise.  Even though these are some very important examples, there are things we can do to minimize them. Here are four tips I use to make sure things run smoothly.

Clear Org Charts

Make sure everyone knows who management is.  Especially new employees.  Make sure they know to whom they report and to whom they should go for answers.  I’m not a believer “in the boss is not to be bothered” or even that unless you’re at a certain level you should not be talking to anyone above you.  However, but there are some people that are not as deep in the trenches of the day to day minutia and most likely will not know the answer to the smaller questions.  A clear org chart will give the new employee a connection and a roadmap of where to go as well as a better idea of where they stand and the possibilities of where they might go.

I am a strong proponent of including a little information about what the person does so as to give the employee a better idea of who will be able to answer a specific question.  For example, I would not go to a technology person to ask about legal research and probably not a project manager, although some have been paralegals or have been around the block so much that they can probably do legal research or at least be able to answer where to find the information.

Communication – Clear and Transparent

Giving clear instructions and information is always important.  Possibly in the top three of importance.  But never more important than when the team is remote.  Make sure every member of the team understands the “ask” of the project and what their particular job is within the project.  The way I manage this is to, after meeting with the team and giving them a brief background of the project (why we’re doing it and who needs it) I follow it up with an email confirming the steps we all need to take.  I invite the team to ask questions at all steps of the project.  I let everyone know that my in-office messenger is always available to them for a quick question and, because I’m only human, I let everyone know that I don’t always have the answers but most likely I know where to find the answers or at least find someone who knows the answers.

As for transparency?  Set up check-in points with the full team and perhaps individually.  This will depend on the project.  It is important to give honest feedback and if something isn’t working it is important to share that information with the team.  Who knows, they may have a solution and a fix for the problem.  Be honest and up front if a mistake is made and clearly state it.  Ask for feedback and move on.

Two Way Feedback

It is important to provide your team members with immediate feedback.  It should never be a surprise when you are sitting at the end of the year review or at a mid-year review that there was something you did when you were in charge of project A or B.  That is not the time to come up with what could have been done better.  I am a firm believer in always giving feedback.  Good or bad.  This goes both ways.  I very ofter ask my team members to provide me with feedback.  This helps me make sure we are all on the same page and if I need to make changes to the way I manage.

The Right Technology

What can I say about this?  It shouldn’t even be said but there are many occasions when a team member is not able to do their job because some part of the technology is not working.  Make sure every team members is aware of the type of access they need, they know where to go get it and if they don’t have it or need special access you immediately approve all the requests.  I usually try to set up a few minutes during our first launch meeting to make sure everyone on the team is set up appropriately and if not I ask them the make the requests at that time.  This way we are all on the same page and I am able to approve all requests at the same time.

Can you think of any other important aspects of managing a remote team?




Five Tips to Help You Survive Working From Home During this Time of COVID-19


These are some strange and stressful times.  Not only are we dealing with a lot of change in our personal lives but also with our work schedules.  There’s been a whole lot of adjusting being done.  Some of us find ourselves back to an old way of working…. If you recall, I used to work from home full time a few years ago…. others of us have had to quickly become teachers to our children while at the same time holding down the fort at home and in the office.  A lot has been asked of all of us and it’s no surprise that some are feeling completely out of control.

I don’t have all the answers.  Although I sometimes think I do.  But, I do have some tips for those of you who are working from home.  Nope, not about how to be a teacher.  Let’s just say your kids are lucky I did not embark on that professional path.  But I think I can help those of you working from home for the first time to find a little sanity in all the chaos.

As paralegals we all know that project management and time management are two of the most important things we bring to the office.  Working from home is a combination of both.  You have got to me meticulous about your project management skills and you have to be a mamma bear over your schedule while also understanding that certain things are going to require you to be flexible.  Here are Five tips I’ve come up with during this time.

Meetings are going to increase

Your calendar is going to “explode” with meetings.  It’s probably slowed down a bit since you started working from home but you are still going to be on the phone or on video calls a bit more than you used to be when you were in the office.  Realize that while in the office there were those impromptu check-ins as you passed your attorney or one of your team members or managers in the hallway coming back from getting a cup of coffee.  Well, since that is no longer happening people feel that they have to touch base or check in more often on the phone.  This should have died down a bit since it’s been a few weeks now and most of us are getting used to the new reality.  Don’t get frustrated, make sure you are prepared for the calls and make your attorney or colleague feel comfortable that you are on top of the work.  One way to decrease the amount of check-ins is to be proactive and send updates as often as you can.  Once they are comfortable that you are on top of the work the calls should slow down.

Be Proactive About your Calendar

Related to the increase in meetings.  You are going to be more on top of your calendar.  People tend to schedule meetings according to what works for them and, if it works for them they don’t think twice about squeezing a call on your calendar when you were planning on going to grab your first cup of coffee.  They have no idea that you have been working since the early hours in the morning and you were so looking forward to that caffein jolt.  Anyway, the solution to this is to make sure you take a look at your calendar the night before and schedule blocks of time for focused work and don’t forget to schedule a few shorter times for a cup of coffee or, I even block time for lunch.  This is super important.  Especially for those of us who have team members in other time zones.  Most of the time we are not thinking about difference in time and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone without lunch when someone in a different time zone schedules a meeting on my calendar.  So, take the time to block “me” time on your calendar and protect that time as if it was a meeting with someone else.

Set Boundaries

This one is just as much for the office as it is for the people you share your home with.   At home, make sure everyone understands that you need to focus when you are at work and that unless the house is on fire or there is some other emergency you are not to be interrupted.  It is cute, sometimes, when a child walks into the view of a Zoom call but if it keeps happening it quickly becomes old and it makes the other people lose track of what they are saying causing the meeting to run longer and longer.  On the work front, make sure everyone knows that you have work-hours.  Just because you are not at the office does not mean that you are available all day and all night.  Of course, there are going to be those occasions when you will need to work a bit longer than normal but that should be the exception to the rule.  Working from home should not be any different than working from the office.

Stop Feeling Guilty

This one is almost the same as the “setting boundaries” above but I think it needs to be said.  We often feel guilty about being home and feel as if we are home already so there is really not reason why we can’t do that one other thing.  When those feelings come up check yourself and ask “Have I really given my 100% today?”  Maybe there’s something there.  Maybe you really didn’t.  If that’s the case perhaps that day you can work a little longer.  But most of the time we are probably feeling that others may be wondering if we actually did what we were supposed to be doing all day and our way of making sure they know we are working hard is to work all day and all night.  This is a sure way to burnout.  So….. I think a good way of dealing with those guilty feelings is to send a memo to your manager or to your attorney once a week with a report on what you have done.  Or take the opportunity to schedule a 1:1 with our attorney or manager and let them know what you are working on and manage expectation (both yours and theirs)

Be Flexible and Compassionate

We are all going through our own stresses and you don’t know what someone is going through unless you are walking in their shoes.  And since we are not walking in anyone else’s shoes we need to take a deep breath and realize that emergencies are going to come up.  This one is addressed more at managers but it can be applicable to anyone.  Sometimes an employee or a team member is not going to be able to focus for one reason or another.  Make sure you are there to help and understand.  As a manger, my job is to make sure we are all rowing the boat in the same direction and we are all healthy and able to keep the boat stable and moving in the right direction.  I have learned that there are times when one member is not able to row as fast as others so it’s my job to align the work accordingly even if that means I will take on a bit more of the load (that’s why they pay me the big bucks right?)…. Right.

I hope this was helpful.  Let me know if you have questions and please feel free to give me some of your tips that you’re using while working from home.

I hope you are all staying healthy and safe.  See you all very soon.



It’s been a LONG Year!!!!

Hi!!! Not really sure how to start this.  It’s been a year…. a very LONG year.  I think the last thing I posted was on the Facebook page and it was about how the firm I work for was going to start lay offs.  Yep…. that was last year and as I understand it it will happen in the next few months.  I’ve been told that I am part of the group that is being let go.  although when I first heard it I was angry and upset and…. honestly…. hurt.  I gave so much and this is where it got me!

I’ve had time to think it through:

I’m still a little upset.  But I have had time to process what this means and I think it’s actually going to be a good thing.  I am getting laid off,  I am losing my job and I am trying to figure out how we can live on one income which is scary but…. I am going to have more time to dedicate to my passion of mentoring paralegals, I am going to have the time to write and I am very much looking forward to creating a new future.  Losing my job can be the best thing that ever happened to me.

It’s 2:00 a.m. and I’ve been up thinking about what I want to do with the rest of my life for about an hour now….. I know…… it’s crazy but my brain won’t get quiet so I thought I’d post since it’s been forever.

What I am thinking (long and short term)

  1. Mentor new paralegals;
  2. Create a Paralegal Network;
  3. Speak on Paralegal Utilization;
  4. Create online courses;
  5. Advocate for the profession;
  6. Continue writing this blog;
  7. Re-launch the newsletter;
  8. Guest posts once per month;
  9. Launch a paralegal magazine;

What I need from you

I would really appreciate if you could spread the word about The Paralegal.  If you can, and feel comfortable, speak to your bosses, managers and fellow paralegals let them know that there is this amazing paralegal who would be willing to create a training webinar to help them better utilize paralegals in a way that would increase productivity, morale and their bottom line.  We all know that is possible, now we just need to convince them.

If you could do this for me I will be eternally grateful.

I’m gonna go now and start working on that training webinar and brainstorm articles for the newsletter.  I hope you’re subscribed if not, please just fill out the form and join the party.

This is going to be an adventure.  Look for more posts from me in the near future and the revival of the newsletter in the next month or so.

Thanks for hanging in there.



It’s a Newsletter!!!


Hello all.  There is no post this week only because I’m working on getting the newsletter set up to go out on the 28th of February….. Not much time left and I want to make sure I dot all my i’s and cross all my t’s (easier sentence to say than to write).

I am also working on some research regarding how the paralegal profession will be impacted by all the machine learning that we keep hearing about.  The past couple of months this has been the topic of conversation around the office and recently, while working with one of the paralegals on my team to set up her goals for the year this question came up.  Let me ask you, is this something you are thinking about?  What is your number one concern?  How are you preparing for when the time comes?

Anyway, the newsletter comes out on the 28th and the next post will be out on Saturday.  Sorry about the confusing schedule but I’m hoping to get things back to normal as I get myself ahead a bit.

Have an awesome week and I will see you soon.  Please if you are not subscribed to email list, do so now so you can get the newsletter in your inbox.

Thanks again



What is Calendar Blocking


Last week I published a post about my travels into calendar blocking.  It’s been a struggle but one that I am pretty sure I’m going to win… or better yet that I AM winning.

I didn’t realize, until I was speaking with some of you on Facebook last night that some of you may not be familiar with calendar blocking and I think it’s worth sharing here what it is and how I use it.  I hope you try it and if you do please let me know how it’s working out for you.  I’d love to hear.

what is calendar blocking?

Calendar blocking is taking the things you have to do and putting them on a calendar so as to give them a designated time to be done.  I know we all have heard that the only things that should go on a calendar are events.  If you really think about it, aren’t to-dos or tasks things that need to happen?  and if they need to happen, in my mind they are events.  If I need to get something done I have to make sure that I have time in my schedule to get it done.

Things on a to do list are great.  I love my to do lists and I love being able to cross them off at the end of the day.  I feel so productive when I look back and see all the check off marks.  As great as I feel about looking at my checked off items on my to do list at times I can make myself crazy with the amount of things I think I can actually get accomplished.  Having a very large to do list makes me overwhelmed and honestly drives my husband insane because I can be very compulsive and feel like I need to accomplish everything on the same day.  Some things are more important than others and not everything on that list needs to get done….. Get a grip Ana…..

By taking those things on the list and placing them in time slots on my calendar/schedule I can actually see how many things I can actually accomplish.  It also makes me assess the list and actually figure out what it is that I NEED to do and what are things that perhaps can wait a few more days or sometimes even months.  Figuring out my priorities at the end of each day help keep me productive and keep the needle moving forward without driving myself and those around me completely insane.  It also helps me with making sure that I don’t burn out….. and in a way keep some sense of work/life balance (if that’s what you call it).

How I calendar block!


On a weekly basis I review my goals and my calendar both for work and personal and begin plugging in things that I know are going to happen.  For example, I know that every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, I have to get up at a certain time and be out of the house in order to catch the train by a certain time.  So that goes on my calendar as recurring appointments.

  • Wake up
  • shower and get ready
  • coffee and morning pages
  • leave the house
  • Train

I also know what time I have to catch the train at night and what time I get home.  That also goes on my calendar as a recurring appoint.  Then I add any hair appointments or doctors’ appointments that may be coming up.  At this point the calendar is a bit fuller and I can see where I have time to plug in other things.

I know I want to read and review at least one book per month so I try to schedule reading time.  I also know that I want to make sure I have time with my husband so I schedule time with my husband.  I know that part does not sound very romantic but honestly it’s less romantic if you wind up not having time for your husband if you are all over the place trying to get through your to do list.

On a daily basis I review my schedule at the end of each day and prepare for the next day.  I know it sounds a bit much but doing this at the end of each day allows me to reschedule anything I know I won’t be able to get to as well as make sure that any appointments that were originally scheduled in the beginning of the week have not been canceled or changed.  We know things change often so having this time at night to review makes sense to me.  It also allows me to get things out of my brain so that I’m not thinking about them when I’m trying to sleep.  I really like sleep and if I can help not have that interrupted you better believe I’m going to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal :).

I also have a full-time job and as we all know meetings and court dates get rescheduled often which in turn may mean that doing that one thing tomorrow may not make sense anymore so why not replace it with something that may be more urgent?

Why Calendar Block?

Calendar blocking is not new.  Ben Franklin actually used it.  Maybe he wasn’t as anal as I am and kept things more general, but nonetheless he saw the importance of scheduling things.  If you want to keep things more general like Ben and if that’s what makes sense to you, by all means.  You should arrange and develope your own form of calendar blocking.  The goal is to help you achieve your goals and be happier and more relaxed.  Hey, it worked for Ben!


Have you heard of Parkinson’s Law?  it’s not really a law but it might as well be.  The “law” states that “work expands to fill the time allotted.  To me this means that if I don’t schedule a time to complete a task I’m going to be working on that task for as long as I want…. or as long as I allow myself.  When will I know that I’m done and I need to move on?  I don’t so I just keep going.

Have you sat in a meeting that seemed to go on forever?  That is the perfect example of the law in action.  Digressing for a bit here.  I have started scheduling my meetings for only 30 minutes.  if we need more time then I find time on the calendars for another 30 minute session but I have realized that if I schedule an hour we will talk in circles for the full hour and other work is not getting done.  We can more often than not accomplish our goal in 30 minutes.

The same is true for your to do list.  When you allow yourself all day to do the things on the to do list more often than not the tasks will take longer because there’s really nothing telling your brain to stop the task.  Your brain, at least my brain, feels like I can just take my time.  By putting that task/appointment on my calendar I know that I have a limited amount of time to get the thing done.  If I want to achieve a goal then I’m going to make sure that I get that done because right after that there will be other things on the calendar that are just as important to me.

Yes, I schedule time for a bubble bath, relaxing time and television time and I make sure I stick to it by setting alerts to remind me that it’s time to get to the next task.  Go ahead, laugh….. my husband does so far this is keeping me on track.  Calendar blocking has helped me greatly in being able to achieve my goals and I’m sure it’s going to help me achieve my goals in the future.

Some things I’ve achieved with calendar blocking (just for your reference)

  • I began working at one of the largest financial institutions in the world;
  • Received a promotion within two years;
  • Started Paralegal Organization at that institution in 2016;
  • Expanded the Organization to our international offices in 2017;
  • Started working with non-profits to organize local events for fundraising;
  • Another promotion and lead a team in 2018;

I am not saying all this to impress you.  Believe me, it’s been a whole lot of hard work. I am sharing this to show you that if you want to make things happen the best way to do it is to make sure it’s on your calendar and that you are dedicating as much time to it as you can possibly do.  If it’s important to me, it’s going to be on my calendar.  You better believe that.

How do you achieve your goals?  What’s your secret?

Thanks for reading!