Looking from a Different Perspective

Junk Drawer Time Capsule

We all have that one drawer that has been collecting stuff for longer than we can remember. If you scoot all of the junk to the front of the drawer, it is like opening a time capsule after it has been buried for fifty years.

For me, it wasn’t just a drawer, it was the entire bottom half of a filing cabinet. The day had come when I needed more room, so I set about cleaning out the drawer. If you had asked me when the last time I cleaned out the drawer was, I probably would have guessed five years. My guess would have been very wrong.

Inside of my mystery drawer I found papers that I didn’t need, a few labels for 3.5” floppy disks, and some brass paper fasteners (remember those?). The trinkets and trash I found make me believe it has been closer to fifteen years since I last cleaned out that file cabinet drawer — fifteen years. One of my kids was in diapers the last time I cleaned out that drawer, and he is driving now.

This drawer was an anomaly in my office because I typically move unnecessary items out of the office on a regular basis. There are several benefits to keeping your desk and work areas clear of clutter and free from useless objects (your colleagues are not objects), and all of them are easy to realize.

The first benefit I have come to know as “the law of circulation.” I have found that by putting things I no longer need or use back into circulation, the things I do need, but do not presently have, tend to circulate to me from other people. Said more simply, I have found the more I give, the more I receive. Where would this apply? Do you have machines in your office that are of no use to anybody? Can you donate them? Do you have boxes of partially used paper that could be donated to a local school or daycare? What do you have lying around clogging up your office that could be put to good use somewhere else? Find it, and put it back into circulation.

Secondly, the world abhors a vacuum. When you are able to get rid of the old stuff, you are making room for the new stuff. It has been my experience that as I clean out space full of useless items or old papers, that space is soon filled with something more useful. I explain this simply by saying that the world abhors a vacuum and tends to fill its empty spaces — so empty spaces I will continue to make.

Lastly, when your space is clean and clear you will simply feel better. You’ll find you’re able to focus, able to relax, and able to produce better work when you do not have the figurative junk drawers all around your work space. However, cleanliness to you may be different than cleanliness to another person in your office. I prefer to define cleanliness as only having relevant items in and on your desk. This means you can throw away all of those menus you have stashed somewhere and never use.

To get started, find one thing right now that is no longer needed at your desk. Pick something and ask yourself, “Do I need this?” If the answer is yes, then put it back. If the answer is no, then ask yourself, “Is this valuable to somebody else?” If it is valuable to somebody else, give it away. If it is not valuable to anyone else, throw it away. Try it now, then simply repeat the process until you’ve gone through all of your junk. I promise you will be surprised and delighted at how this simple concept will change how you feel and how you work.

Learn to Identify How Receipts are Allocated, How to Get a List of Payments by Check Number, and How to Print the Lists that Appear at the Bottom of Entry Screens

Join Paul and Mary Jo as they look at how receipts (payments) allocate in Tabs3. We talked about the fee compensation rules in July of 2013, and learned that this gives us the ability to set parameters for how receipts are divided up. This month, Paul explores how we get this information out of Tabs, and he shows you the different perspectives from which you can view receipt allocation.

Mary Jo demonstrates two quick ways to get specific information out of Tabs3 (and the accounting software). She shows you how to use the Transaction File List to get a list of all the matters that a specific payment was applied to, and also how to quickly print the information that shows up in the lists that can be configured to show at the bottom of the various entry screens (Payment, Fee, Invoice, etc.).

Tabs3 Integrated Accounting Demonstration

Learn how the pieces fit together when you integrate your accounting functionality with Tabs3.

Without integrated accounting, data must be entered in several places to perform routine tasks like recording payments or writing checks for client advances. This can create bottlenecks and introduce the possibility of errors or, worse yet, the possibility of forgetting to make the entries in all the places that they go. With integrated Accounts Payable, General Ledger and Trust Accounting software working in conjunction with Tabs3, you eliminate those bottlenecks and eradicate the possibility of errors or omissions.

Join Paul Purdue as he demonstrates how the pieces fit together when you use AP, GL, Trust and Tabs3 together to form a truly integrated system. Watch as he writes an advance check, records a payment, and pays the firm from a trust account and learn how integrated accounting could help streamline your office.

Learn How to Create Shortcuts for Managing Email in Worldox and How to Manage Group Security

This month we delve into those shortcuts (Quick Profiles) that appear in Outlook under the Worldox Folder. What are they? How do you create them? How do you delete them? How do you organize them? When we’re done, you’ll have all that you’ll need to take advantage of these powerful tools to manage your Worldox emails (and documents) directly from within Outlook.

We also take a look at group security. Whether you are responsible for managing your Worldox installation or you are a user, this overview will provide valuable insight into what features can (and can’t) be controlled through the security settings, as well as how you can manage access to your Profile Groups.

Learn How to add a new “Area of Practice”, and How to use Contacts for Marketing

This month, we look at adding a new “Area of Practice” (AOP) to the PracticeMaster file structure. PracticeMaster is capable of storing different bits of data for the different areas in which your firm practices. For instance, if you did divorce and personal injury, there are different things that you would want to keep track of for each area – in divorce, you’d want to know about kids, spouse, marital assets, etc., but for a personal injury case, you’d want to know about an accident report, insurance, and perhaps medical records. We delve into how you setup these file structures, and how you make them unique.

We also look at using the contacts file in PracticeMaster to help manage the different marketing campaigns that the firm engages in. We talk about how to send to the right people at the right address, even though those things might change from one type of marketing to another. We also look at how to get this information out of PracticeMaster to create the mailing labels or email lists that will put your marketing pieces into the right hands.

Snapshots in PracticeMaster

The Client and Contact files in PracticeMaster have really nice looking snapshots that layout all the pertinent information in a usable and visually appealing way. But what if you want to add something or modify the layout? And what about other files that you might have added to PracticeMaster (like people, parties, assets, medical providers, etc.)?? Watch as Paul shows us how much control we really have over these snapshots in this month’s episode of The Paul & Mary Jo Show.


Worldox eBite: Organize your columns to help you quickly locate your documents

Join Mary Jo as she shows you how to add columns, change the sort, and save settings


Tab3 eBite: Consolidate your payments into ONE deposit

Join Mary Jo as she shows you how to create ONE reconcilable entry that combines multiple payments into a single deposit


PracticeMaster eBite: Keep track of your time with the Timer

Join Mary Jo as she shows you her favorite way to keep track of billable (and non-billable) time