Last week my good friend and paralegal Patti Clapper, who also blogs at Patti’s Paralegal Page, sent me a direct message or DM (secret code for you can’t see the conversation, and you’re probably glad we’re not cluttering up the public Twitter stream with our chit-chat anyway) via Twitter, asking, “Have you sat for the NALA exam yet?”

I replied that my best-laid plans to seek the Certified Paralegal designation had been halted by other plans, mostly involving me saying “yes” to a lot of other plans.

While attempting to wrestle my over-flowing and slightly obnoxious personal Gmail account to the ground, I found an email from January of this year from my friend and paralegal Deana Waters, also one of my first guest bloggers, asking me to write an article about my CP/CLA study plan, and I found myself whining replying:

I appreciate the reminder – and feel like I’m disappointing you, but to be honest, I haven’t focused much on the NALA exam, and am actually planning to push back taking it. My youngest daughter has been hospitalized twice in the last six weeks, and hubby had surgery earlier this week with a recovery that’s not going so well. I also agreed to present a new ethics CLE which is going to be pretty work intensive for me, “Old Fashioned Ethics in a Newfangled World,” because I have to create a manuscript and PwrPt from scratch – and due next month!

And the rest of the year has pretty much continued along the same lines. I DM’d Patti back (secret code for I want to whine in private) and asked her for suggestions for preparing for the exam. It took a couple of DMs (like instant messaging if you’re still wondering what the heck I’m talking about) for me to add that I was thinking I might have to give up this blog to find the time to study.

Patti replied with the kick in the tail no-nonsense inspiration I need, emphasizing, “Blog v CLA exam…exam more important! Readers will understand if you don’t post as often…”

Then Patti (did I mention that she is the most awesome paralegal and friend ever?) DM’d me that she was awake in the wee hours thinking about me, and that she had the answer to my dilemma, “You should blog about your CLA exam prep!”

Um, I did, but maybe no one read my posts (see below)? That’s okay. You’re probably managing your time better and finding plenty of time to study for a national paralegal certification exam.

Seriously, Patti has me focused on how I can make the exam happen. Of course, I don’t want to give up Practical Paralegalism. You guys would also not believe the amount of reading I do outside of my day job to keep up with technology and new specialty areas for me – but the exam is important, too.

I may not be able to study like the proverbial hare streaking toward the finish line, but I’m going to have to make like that tried and true tortoise and get started toward the goal, even if it’s one slow step at a time.

How many of you are preparing now for a national paralegal certification exam? Any secrets to carving out the extra time to study when your personal and professional lives are already over-scheduled?

Related posts in my Road to NALA CP Exam Series
NALA’s Certified Paralegal Review Manual Now Available by eChapter
I Eat a Whole Humble Pie 
Flash Cards vs. Zombies
Could We Have Gone to Vegas?
I Score a Study Buddy
Can I Still Be Switzerland?
When, Where & How Much?
To Seek or Not to Seek NALA’s Certified Paralegal Credential?

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