Stress, anxiety, and burnout are a good leader’s kryptonite—you must do what you can to prevent them.
Without balance, you’re likely to experience the following consequences:
- Fatigue. Productivity and clarity dwindle with a lack of proper sleep. As an attorney, those are two things you can’t stand to lose.
- Lost time. Time spent with loved ones is precious. So is time spent working on your novel, relaxing, traveling, or enjoying a good meal.
- Loss of boundaries. When you work at home in the evenings and through the weekends, you start to eliminate the invisible boundaries between work and personal life. Unfortunately, some clients will try to take advantage of this, calling you at all times, asking for unachievable deadlines, and more.
Lawyer Work-Life Balance Begins With Your Goals
The goals you set for yourself and your firm inform your perspective on work-life balance. Balance means different things for different people. You must decide what’s important before figuring out what balance means to you.
For instance, you might have a professional goal of helping a certain number of families through custody issues this year. You might also have a personal goal of putting together a gallery showing of your art downtown. The balance you create will need to make room for these goals, as they’re both critical to your wellbeing.
Building a Balanced Work Schedule and Working Healthy Hours
After thinking about what’s most important to you, the next step is to build a balanced work schedule with healthy working hours. We recommend setting aside a certain number of hours each day as dedicated work time.
You don’t have to stick to the typical 9 to 5 if that’s not what works best for you. For example, you may need to drop the kids at school in the mornings at 8, so it makes sense for you to start at 8:30. Or, you may have a Little League team to coach at five, so you’ll need to call it quits at 4:30.
Build Balance When Working Remotely
As a solo attorney, you may have decided the best work location for you is your home office. Or, due to recent changes resulting from COVID-19, you may have moved your firm to a remote setting. How do you maintain balance when your home and work are intertwined?
- Claim a designated workspace. Draw a line between your workspace and living space. Don’t bring your laptop to the couch. Instead, set up a designated workspace you only use during your work hours. If you can, choose a space that has a door or other physical barrier that allows to you physically shut out work when it’s time to quit for the day. This will help you switch from work mode to home mode.
- Stick to your working hours. Working from home brings with it a great deal of flexibility. But remote work shouldn’t be an excuse to be less productive. Stick to the same working hours you would if you were in an office outside of your home.
- Don’t multi-task. Avoid throwing in that pile of laundry or replacing that light bulb, at least until after your working hours. You probably shouldn’t have Netflix running in the background either. Distractions result in productivity loss, which leads to additional stress.
Making Time for Family as a Lawyer
Checking your email quickly during family dinner may seem harmless. Unfortunately, these small tasks often turn into damaging habits that steal you away from precious family time. No matter how passionate you are about your career, your family should take precedence after hours.
Start making more time for yourself and your family by building balance into your home with these tips:
- Turn off. At the end of your workday, mute your notifications and disconnect. Use this time to be present with your family and home life.
- 照顾好自己。 健康和幸福是律师的基础 工作生活平衡. 确保你吃得好，锻炼，放松，玩得开心。工作一天后减压比你想象的更重要。
- 联系“负责人” 在家里有一个负责任的伙伴，比如配偶或朋友，可以帮助你照看孩子、照顾宠物和做家务。更重要的是，他们可以提醒你停止每五分钟检查一次你的工作电子邮件。
- 不要过度承诺。 当你看日历的时候，你会感到紧张吗？不要过度安排你的活动。相反，要学会说“不”，保护你的个人和家庭时间。
美国约35%的成年人睡眠时间不足7小时 每晚. 不幸的是，这可能导致严重的睡眠不足，导致身心健康问题。例如，睡眠不足可能会导致负面情绪、精力不足和功能丧失，从而导致额外的压力。
- 关闭电子设备。 睡前至少半小时不要使用手机或其他电子设备。电子设备的光线可以延迟人体的内部时钟，抑制睡眠诱导激素褪黑激素的释放。所以，把它关掉。
- 坚持一个放松的睡前仪式。 洗个澡，穿上你最喜欢的睡衣，读一本好书。创造一个放松的睡前仪式，为你的身心睡眠做好准备。
- Ensure a comfortable sleep environment. Make sure your mattress and pillow are comfortable. A room temperature around 65 to 67 degrees is best for quality sleep.
- Avoid caffeine before bed. Caffeine is a stimulant that can throw off your body’s internal clock and keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. Refrain from drinking caffeinated beverages a few hours before bedtime.
Meditation, Mindfulness & Calm in a Law Firm
Stressful work situations can lead to burnout. To avoid becoming overwhelmed and shutting down, it’s a great idea to add some mindfulness practices into your daily routine.
A Simple Meditation & Mindfulness Exercise
Take a moment to sit in a quiet place. Close your eyes and take deep breaths through your nose. Be present in the moment, listening to the sound around you. As you feel thoughts creep up, acknowledge them, and then let them pass, returning to the present moment. What you want to do is simply be present without distraction. Let your thoughts wander and then bring them back.
With practice, you’ll find it easier to control those stressful thoughts that often creep up when you least expect them.
How to Bring Calmness Into Your Firm
A calm office is a productive office. Whether you’re a solo attorney or the leader of a small firm, there are a few things you can do to inspires calmness within your surroundings.
- Tidy up your space. A messy desk or office will surely trigger overwhelm and stress. Organize your space to make it a place you enjoy.
- Keep what you love close. Photos of family, your favorite coffee mug, or even inspirational quotes do a lot for our mental health. Surround yourself with things that inspire you or make you happy.
- Get comfortable. Don’t underestimate the power of a comfortable, ergonomic work chair. Being uncomfortable can trigger stress. Go ahead and splurge on a chair that fits you best; you’re going to spend a lot of time on it.
- 添加一些绿色。 引进植物来改善空气质量，帮助缓解焦虑。芦荟、仙人掌和蜘蛛等植物是办公室的绝佳选择。
- 使用扩散器。 众所周知，香味有助于改善情绪和减轻压力。散发薰衣草或洋甘菊等令人舒适的香味。
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