As an attorney, you likely face a myriad of challenges in your day-to-day life. Between consulting with your clients and diligently representing them in court, to try to stay one step ahead of your state’s Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements, it can easily seem as though there’s no time left in your day for yourself. While you’re undoubtedly committed to your career, it’s still essential that you recognize the need for establishing a healthy work-life balance.
Fortunately, being a skilled and dedicated attorney does not necessarily mean you have to sacrifice your personal life for the sake of your career. Despite rigorous workdays and seemingly endless deadlines popping up on your calendar, you can still find ways to establish clear boundaries between your personal life and your career. By employing these four tips, you can help ensure that you maintain a reasonable work-life balance, curtailing the all too prevalent risk of burnout.
Tips For Finding A Work-Life Balance
Make Technology Your Ally
These days, trying to rely upon an old-fashioned pocket calendar isn’t just archaic, it’s also inconvenient. Instead, find ways to make today’s technology work for you. There is a myriad of applications you can utilize to help you streamline your day. In turn, you can find yourself maximizing your work efficiency while also minimizing your stress. For instance, certain apps can help you organize all of your daily tasks, allowing you to triage them and mark them off as you complete them.
Other workplace optimization apps you can use include collaboration programs (such as Trello or Asana) and even Google Docs, which can allow you to instantly update and share progress on certain tasks. In doing so, not only can you better manage your time while at work, but you can also dramatically reduce your overall stress levels, too. In turn, you can find yourself not having to worry about taking your day’s work home with you at night.
Learn How To Say No
As an attorney, it can be incredibly challenging to say no, especially if you feel a certain amount of pressure to be a people-pleaser at your firm. Whether you’re self-employed or you work for a private firm, it’s far too easy to accept new projects as they land on your desk, even if you’re already inundated and overwhelmed with work. Instead, practice saying no when others try to offload their responsibilities on you.
This doesn’t just go for picking up the slack for your workplace peers, either. There may come a time when you already have more than an adequate number of clients on your plate, and it can be hard to turn away those who may not fit into your already busy schedule. However, the fact is, not all clients are going to be a good fit. You don’t have to be harsh in your refusal, but a gentle “no” can go far in reducing your workplace stress.
Force Yourself To Relax
When you look back on your workdays, what sort of patterns have you noticed? For instance, do you spend your commute reviewing important legal documents and paperwork? Are you prone to taking working lunches, where you chip away at briefs while hastily shoving a sandwich into your mouth? While your effort and hard work should be lauded, it can quickly backfire, leaving you both overwhelmed and mentally exhausted.
Instead, you should mandate small periods in your day where you’re not working. While it’s tempting to want to go over your paperwork in the morning before you head out, make this time yours. Enjoy your coffee, listen to your favorite podcast, and disconnect during your commute. The same can be said for your lunch break. Don’t let looming deadlines deprive you of an hour of peace and quiet for yourself. Remember, your mental health is important, and this break can help recharge and invigorate you.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
If you’re a perfectionist, it’s understandable to want to try to handle every aspect of your day by yourself. After all, nobody can do your job quite as well as you can, and if you do it yourself, you can be assured of its quality. That said, not everything needs to necessarily go through yourself. Certain tasks, such as drafting certain legal documents or interviewing witnesses, can actually be outsourced to a paralegal.
Finding a paralegal to assist you is easier than you might initially realize, as well. Many employment agencies are currently outsourcing paralegals to legal firms, allowing you to shift some of that burden of responsibility onto them. That way, you can test them out for a trial period before committing to a long-term paralegal. However, you may quickly discover the convenience of having one around far outweighs any initial hesitation you may have had!
Reclaiming Your Life
In today’s hectic climate, there’s no glory in working yourself to the point of exhaustion. While very little compares to how rewarding it can be to win a case after weeks or months of tireless preparation, what is the ultimate cost of that success? By taking the time to carve out time for yourself in your daily life, you can help ensure that you’re able to successfully attain a healthy work-life balance. And no doubt, achieving that can be one of the best things you can do for yourself and your career.