By Elyssa A. Goldstein

Traditionally, I have never been one to make New Year’s resolutions.  I typically operate as more of a short-term goal-setter, at whatever time of year I see fit.  However, in the waning days of 2016, I began to give considerable thought to things I wanted to achieve in 2017.  I wanted to obtain three professional certifications (including the Association of Legal Administrators’ Certified Legal Manager designation), focus on my health and play a team sport for the first time since I graduated college.  In short, I wanted to make myself a priority, something I have always had an incredibly hard time doing, and that required me to set long-term goals.

While I am proud to say that I am on the path to achieving the goals I set, I am more eager to share with you what I have learned about priorities these past ten months.  Priorities are about balance.  I realize this may seem contradictory.  How can you establish priorities if you are trying to allocate time for everything?  Well, priorities are also about letting go of self-imposed limitations.  Far too often, we use the “lack of time” excuse as an explanation for why we can’t do something, yet, we’ll waste time in the most trivial of ways (like the time (okay, more than one time) I spent hours watching old Rescue 911 episodes on YouTube).

Time management is not a skill that comes easily to everyone.  To combat the trepidation associated with time management, try selecting one or two priorities for the upcoming month.  What you have selected is where you should allocate the majority of your “free” time, because priorities are also about sacrifice.  I have sacrificed nights out with friends during the week to focus on studying for my exams and going to the gym.  Now, when I see my friends on weekends, I tend to enjoy myself more, because I am truly living in the moment, knowing my time with them is limited.

So, how does all this relate to the New Jersey Association of Legal Administrators?  Your membership in our organization illustrates that you are making your professional development and commitment to growing your professional network a priority.  Your attendance at meetings, your reading of this very article—examples that, on some level, our chapter is one of your priorities.  I urge you to compare this priority to others in your life, and see if there is a way you can increase your level of commitment to the New Jersey Association of Legal Administrators.  We have many opportunities for you to make us a priority, even if it’s just for a few days. 

My fellow board members and I have made it a priority to provide you with the best possible educational programming, business partners and networking opportunities, but, sometimes, we have other priorities which require our attention.  Reach out to us.  Tell us your ideas or what interests you, and, I promise you, we will find the perfect fit.  (If you’re more of the New Year’s resolution type, and want to wait until 2018, that’s okay, too.) 

Elyssa A. Goldstein is the Office Manager of Wolkstein, Von Ellen & Brown, LLC in Springfield, New Jersey.

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