As an attorney, you probably haven’t had a semblance of a work-life balance since before your took your LSAT. The legal profession can be demanding and consist of long hours at the office and longer hours at home after the work day has “ended.” We know there will be times when you have to be in the office late or working at home before bed, but we also know how important it is to maintain some sort of work/life balance. Not only will a more balanced lifestyle improve your productivity at work, but it will improve your overall happiness.
Determine the schedule you need to live a happy, healthy life. This could mean closing the laptop and shutting off your email at 7 p.m. and instead, reading a book or catching up on last week’s episode of your favorite show. Do you have children who are involved in activities? Make a point to be fully present at basketball games and dance recitals – no emails allowed! Family time is a perfect time to implement boundaries and disconnect from work. Be clear with your employer about what your boundaries are, so there won’t be any confusion.
Time management is crucial in the legal profession. You have tight deadlines and multiple projects happening at once, so you must make sure you’re working as efficiently as possible. When you get to the office, make a to-do list for the day with the highest priority at the top. This is a great way to manage your stress and understand the importance of each task at hand. You’ll be more productive because you have a clear plan for crossing off your to-do list.
Integrate Downtime In Your Schedule
Your schedule will likely always be busy, but it’s important to find some time to relax throughout the day. Block off some time each day in between research and filing briefs to give your brain a rest. Even if it’s only 15 minutes, take a lap around the building or meet a friend for a quick coffee. These breaks will allow you to rest, recharge and finish your day strong.
Know When to Ask for Help
We get it – you have high expectations for yourself, which might lead to taking on one too many projects. But you have to realize when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew and ask for help. Your coworkers and partners won’t know you need help unless you ask them; it’s always better to be proactive before you’ve missed a deadline or missed an important piece of research because you didn’t have enough time to thoroughly complete the work.
You know how powerful this profession is and the work you do is important, but your health is important too. Don’t get burned out because you haven’t tried to manage your work-life balance. We aren’t saying it’s always easy. Some weeks will be easier than others, but it is possible if you take the extra steps to maintain balance in your life.