Your real life begins after putting your house in order.
Many cultures throughout history have a tradition of dusting down and sprucing up their spaces during this seasonal transition. In Thailand, people spend two days in April scrubbing their homes, each other, and statues of Buddha with buckets of water meant to wash away bad luck. Homes in Japan are deep-cleaned during Golden Week (late April to early May) to welcome the gods of the new year. Every March, Iranians celebrate the Persian new year with khane-tekani, or “shaking the house” to remove the dust of the old year.
The reason spring cleaning became standard practice in the western world might surprise some people. Up until the early 20th century, long winters of using oil lamps and coal furnaces left nearly everything in the house covered with layers of dark, sticky soot. Once it was warm enough, the march madness of spring cleaning began.
Your law firm may not have Victorian sofas that need to be scoured or hand-hooked wool rugs that need to be beaten this spring, but that doesn’t mean you can skip spring cleaning rituals.
Whether it’s cleaning up your website, reviewing your marketing plan, purging old files, or even just cleaning out your briefcase, here are a few things you can do to tidy up your operations.
Spiff up your site
Do a quick review of your website using the following checklist:
- Do attorney bios need to be updated?
- Have you added any new practice areas?
- Does your firm have any significant wins, awards, or publications that are not listed?
- Are there any broken links on your site?
- Is your contact information correct?
Also, if your site isn’t SEO optimized, meaning it appears as an option at the top of a search engine results page, consider consulting with an SEO professional to improve your site’s reach.
Mull your marketing efforts
There are a lot of different types of marketing, and it can be overwhelming for small or solo firms to try to maximize their advertising spend. Spend some time reviewing your client intakes to see if there’s a specific channel that seems to be delivering the best ROI. Are you getting leads from other clients? Are your social media accounts generating a lot of conversations? Do online ads regularly bring in new business?
If one channel is especially effective, consider reallocating funds from less profitable advertising programs. Conversely, if none of them seem to be working, you may need to outsource to find a business development program worth the money you’re spending.
Count your continuing education credits
No one expects you to have it done by March, but spring is the perfect time to do a spot check on your CLE status. Take a few minutes to:
- Organize your certificates or completion
- Determine how many credits you still need
- Identify upcoming CLE opportunities that both fulfill your obligations and are actually interesting to you
This proactive approach will save you from stressful, end-of-year scrambling to sign up for a CLE course you don’t find interesting but absolutely need.
Purge the paper
If your office is still running entirely on hard copies of everything, you probably have a lot of files to go through. You can review files to remove extraneous details and ensure all important documentation is included for each case, but you also should consider investing in digital technology.
Whether or not you digitize old paperwork is up to you, but going paperless moving forward will make your files more secure, easier to search, and more accessible.
Do a little professional self-care
New Year’s resolutions get all the attention, but there’s no time like the spring to reflect on what your goals are. Spring is a time of renewed energy and motivation—so take advantage of it. A few ideas to help you get you started:
- Assess what your professional goals are for the rest of the year.
- Consider how your workload and work-life balance are feeling and whether you need to delegate tasks.
- Reconnect with your network. Being part of a professional community isn’t just good for your career—it’s good for your own sense of satisfaction at work.
Don’t be afraid of a little (or a lot of) dusting
Bobby Berk, the organization and design guru on Netflix’s Queer Eye, once said:
“Decluttering can be overwhelming, so start with that one small thing. Clean out your junk drawers. It can lead to so many more [great] things.”
Whether your standard operating procedures need a total overhaul or a little tune-up, take advantage of spring cleaning rituals to get your house in order.