It’s Clean Off Your Desk Day!

by Sherri L. Renner, J.D.

Graphic image with words "clutter-stress-clutter-stress" in a circle around piles of paper and a hand holding a sign with the word "help!"

January 8 is the second Monday of 2024, so it’s National Clean Your Desk Day! It’s kind of a fun way to kick off the new year. At least they wait a respectable few days into it before springing on us another thing to do.

I like the idea because it gives me permission to take a day and do nothing other than organize my work space. The day also gives me permission to wait until next January before cleaning off my desk again. I’m not saying I actually cleaned my desk, but….

Staying organized is a challenge for many pro se litigants. Litigation is paper-intensive and all those pages (or digital files) pile up quickly. Disorganization and clutter grow unless you adopt and use an effective system of organization.

Staying (or getting) organized and avoiding clutter are important to effective self-representation. Studies have shown that clutter and anxiety are related. Whether clutter creates anxiety or anxiety leads to clutter, a good system lightens your load all the way through.

Here are some considerations.

Your system should:

  • make sense to you,
  • use a comfortable level of technology,
  • create or incorporate a timeline, and
  • permit flexibility so that you can easily make adjustments as your case progresses.

You may want to create different systems or standards, one for case docs (pleadings, summonses & returns, motions, orders, other filings) and another for proof (documentation that supports your claims and provides context for events).

You may want to draw a boundary between your case and the rest of your life by obtaining a dedicated email address. Consider choosing one that comes with some cloud storage space so you can keep your case materials separate, as well.

Consider joining the Association for Pro Se Advancement where you can discuss organization, stress and anxiety, and other issues with me and other pro se litigants.

I hope these suggestions are useful to you. I will go into deeper detail, using examples from my own working files, later and will post links here.

Copyright © 2024 by LawYou, LLC, and Sherri L. Renner, J.D. | All rights reserved

About the Author

Sherri Renner, J.D., is the founder of LawYou America. She fully dedicates her education and years of litigation experience to helping the self-represented.

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