If you ask several lawyers whether it’s possible to maintain a balance between work and personal life, you’ll get different answers. Some believe it’s achievable, while others beg to differ. We fall into the first category. In our eyes, lawyers’ work-life balance is something that anyone can pull off, and in the following few paragraphs, we’ll explain how.
Set Boundaries Between Work and Personal Time
It’s easy to lose sight of what’s appropriate and healthy when you get a taste of success. Unfortunately, lawyers are no exception to this rule. Although their jobs are full of ups and downs, there’s just something inherently greedy about them. They thrive on being the best of the bunch. It’s almost as if all those TV shows about law firms aren’t exaggerating at all. Yet, that comes at a cost.
The line between being a successful lawyer and a person with a healthy personal life is all too thin, which is why it’s essential to set clear boundaries as soon as you enter the world of law, courthouses, and big trials with media coverage.
But how do you do that? Firstly, we suggest focusing on a maximum of three daily activities. Regardless of how much work you have, start each day with those three and consider those 24h successful.
Furthermore, prioritize self-reflection and self-care needs. Reflection is all about planning and then evaluating what you’ve done. Once that is over, think about what it cost you in terms of health. If the cost was undeniable, shuffle your cards differently before you engage in work again. And if it all becomes too much at some point, do take time off and go on vacation. No kind of work should stand in its way.
Track Time and Follow Your Schedule
No matter which work-life balance guide for lawyers you look up, they’ll all talk about schedules. But it’s not enough just to mention the importance of a well-organized day. You should understand how to manage it properly at all times. Schedules aren’t just about making your desk look professional — they’re useful tools in tracking your time and balancing out life and work.
So, what should your professional-life schedule look like? Before anything, it should clearly state when you wake up and go to sleep. It should also have space for a couple of downtime hours a day. In between those lines, you can slip work-related tasks, meetings, and deadlines. Rest is essential for anyone, so that means lawyers too.
Go On a Vacation
We’ve briefly mentioned vacations, so let’s emphasize their importance now, shall we? Most consider them privileges that are only possible when your work allows for them. However, this is a misconception. Vacations are important parts of our professional lives, as they allow us to unwind and recharge. Even if work isn’t all roses, you should be able to call it a day and head off to take some time off.
Of course, you don’t need to pay ridiculous amounts of money to have quality time with your friends or family. Vacations can also be staycations if you know what we mean. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a tropical beach, drinking cocktails from coconuts, or if you’re snowed-in inside your apartment. The only thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t think about work-related issues to regain your focus.
Spend More Time With Yourself
When someone mentions lawyers and the legal industry, most of us imagine folks in fancy clothes constantly talking about business. And although they’re serious people, they can have fun from time to time. Being a lawyer doesn’t forbid you from having a hobby or two and exploring it to its fullest. Moreover, if you want to reduce stress, we strongly suggest that you maximize your personal time.
To improve your mental health, many therapists will propose pursuing an activity that would make you happy when you were young. It might be traveling, painting, collecting items, or anything else for that matter. Whatever you choose as your excuse to have some time alone, it’s okay. Participating in such activities will reduce the load gathered throughout all those long hours of court hearings and client meetings.
Don’t Own Up Everything — Delegate Tasks if You Can
Being successful in any business usually comes down to hard work and determination. That’s all true, but something appears missing. Success rarely comes from one person only. It’s a product of teamwork. The chances of accomplishing something skyrocket when several people push to accomplish the same goal. But that’s not all. Teamwork also allows people to take a break when their batteries begin running out.
But what does any of this have to do with maintaining a proper professional-private balance in your life? Well, it’s simple. No matter how diligent and proactive you consider yourself a lawyer to be, you shouldn’t do everything. In fact, delegate tasks with colleagues. This will, in turn, up your business as well as your mental and physical state as you’ll have a more defined barrier between your job and private life.
Manage Your Emotions
Lastly, we need to mention emotions. We can talk about flexible working hours, parental leave, hobbies, etc., but there’s so much more to fine-tuning a healthy work-life balance if you’re a lawyer. Like anyone else, suits have emotions. But lawyers rarely show them while working. This is a way to control the situation around them and accomplish tasks on time and successfully. At least, that’s how the top honchos do it.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re not suggesting that you turn all toxic and hide emotions so that your work benefits. Quite the opposite. Emotions are what make us human, after all. But it’s how we handle them that separates the successful from those who’re not. You should, therefore, learn what and when to show. If you get that right, you’ll be one step closer to balancing out your work and private life.
All in all, lawyers have it the same as all other people. Stress is on every corner, and it sometimes seems like they can’t get a hold of their lives. If that’s the case with you too, you should pause things and take a close look at yourself in the mirror. Ask yourself all the things we’ve mentioned, and you’ll at least begin your journey towards betterment. And once you do, the only way will be up.