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Working as a Legal Secretary will require you to be extremely focused and organized in order to adhere to tight deadlines and to keep up with the fast-paced legal industry. Dividing your work or objectives into specific goals is an important part of managing your workload and achieving your overall ambitions. This is not just true for people in employment – for those of you currently studying for qualifications, the setting of goals is just as important.
Setting goals is only the first step, though. This article includes some tips which will help you stick to your goals once you have decided what they are.
Organization is the key to achieving goals. If you have many things to juggle at the same time, you will never hit all of your goals unless you keep on top of your personal organization. Make sure you always know exactly what is required of you and by when in order for you to plan ahead and use your time as efficiently as possible.
Setting goals or deadlines which are unrealistic will do no good for your self-esteem. Even if you know in advance that a goal is not achievable, you will still feel underwhelmed and demotivated when the deadline arrives and the task is not done. Instead, start by setting yourself easy goals which you know you can reach. When you start to get an idea of how much you can get done in a certain time frame, then you can start to push yourself to improve. Goals should always be targets which you should be capable of hitting; otherwise, there is no point in setting them in the first place.
We are not superhuman, and there is a limit to what we can get done in any given period of time. If you have lots of things coming up, make sure you give priority to the most important goal or the one with the closest deadline. Making a list of which tasks must be completed and when will make it easier to understand exactly which tasks are the most important and which you should be focusing on first.
If you feel that you are struggling, try to ascertain which tasks could be left to a later date without having detrimental effects on your work. Once you have worked out which these are, ask permission from your tutor or from your boss to push forward the deadline on those pieces of work. Always make sure that you do this well in advance and that you only ask for extensions in absolute emergencies, otherwise your professional reputation could be compromised.
Write it down
If you have a diary, make sure that absolutely everything that you need to do is written down in there. Make to-do lists or keep a monthly planner. Keep a written record of your goals as motivation for yourself and so that you can keep track of when you are reaching them. Even if it is just for your own satisfaction, knowing that you have reached a goal will give you a huge boost in confidence and could dramatically improve the quality of your work.
Goals are incredibly important to keep us moving forward and progressing in our careers. Don’t forget to take a small moment to celebrate and reward yourself for having completed one of your goals before moving on to focus on the next one.
©Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in the Journal of the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs.