The press of clients’ legal demands can make life chaotic. Attorneys, paralegals, and everyone else in the trenches understand the importance of the deadline. The trick to staying at top performance and avoiding burnout often requires a commitment to try to get some kind of work-life balance. The balance never seems to stick, but there are often opportunities for realignment. The effort is worthwhile even if not long-lasting because it will improve productivity, job satisfaction, and loyalty. Thus, here are four tips to consider whenever you are looking to make an adjustment while still meeting those deadlines:
- Take the Small Step First
The hardest part is getting started. Identify one small step. Then do it and stick with it. Do not over think it. The change, no matter how small, is a powerful choice that you get to make. This is empowering and helps to serve as the light at the end of any dark day. Some quick first steps could include:
- Breathing exercises.
- Walking and getting fresh air on breaks.
- Block out 15 minutes on your calendar for you.
- Delegate out what can be.
- Have a new nightly ritual like have a glass of wine, online shop, read a book, walk the dog.
- Splurge on that pricey bottle of wine or fancy chocolate. Know that it’s there waiting for you.
- Take that client to the new restaurant you want to try.
- Make a game out of it. Identify a way to keep it entertaining and reach your inner competitor.
- Use the Time you Have
Time is finite. Simple enough, yet some seem to get more out their time than others do. Law firms, in-house, vendors—we all work more than 40 hours a week. The trick is managing your time to ensure that priorities are met but they aren’t overwhelming. Here are some tips to help manage through those rough spots while keeping your sanity:
- Look at what can be shifted off your plate and do it.
- Ask for help. It’s ok to work as part of team, look for opportunities to rally the troops.
- Be strategic. Think about outcomes and how that fits into your overall goals. Does it really matter?
- Identify important relationships and leverage them appropriately.
- Block out 10 minutes at the end of your day to plan tomorrow. This allows you to just do rather than trying to think through the tough stuff before you’ve had some coffee.
- Understand What Matters
This is true of your work and personal life. What matters to you and what matters to your boss is where your work life balance meets. Priorities can be challenging if you get any choice at all in how they are set. Here are some things to think about when considering how to assess importance:
- Identify three short-term goals for both personal and professional context.
- Identify three personal and professional goals you want to accomplish in the next year.
- Perform a SWOT analysis and create a plan to achieve those goals.
- Consider an exit strategy. If you cannot make a plan to obtain goals you really want to achieve, then chances are you are in the wrong place.
- Follow-through on the exit plan and be ok with the results.
- Take Care of Your Health
The benefits of making your health a priority are of high value to all involved, especially yourself! Your body and mind will operate more efficiently allowing your best work qualities to shine through in any work assigned. Here are some tips to take care of yourself even when the conditions are not the most favorable:
- Keep track of water intake and increase it if needed
- Avoid too much caffeine. Do not stop, but maybe lay off that fourth or fifth cup of coffee. Look for opportunities to walk or take the stairs—even if it is just once more during the day.
- Eat consciously and regularly. Choices are not always possible, but portions can make a meaningful difference in overall calorie intake.
- Avoid the sugar induced highs and crashes. Pick up the apple rather than that stale donut in the breakroom. Chances are you will probably enjoy the apple more anyway.
There is always another deadline, trial, large eDiscovery project that will conflict with something personal you do not want to miss. Sometimes you can balance both and sometimes you cannot. Be ok with trying your best and understand that at some point the case will end and you will have a day or two to catch-up on life. Take care of yourself, use time to your needs, understand your role in the picture, and get moving on that first step. You will soon be rolling through the busy seasons with a more productive and balanced approach. If not, you can always look at your options. Staffing firms like Tower Legal Solutions would love to help you land the dream job.
BY: SARAH STAUFFER
ABOUT TOWER AND THE AUTHOR
TOWER LEGAL SOLUTIONS AND TOWER CONSULTING SERVICES HAVE SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE THAT HAS PROVEN TO HELP HIGHLY SKILLED CANDIDATES FIND THE RIGHT POSITIONS IN LAW FIRMS AND CORPORATIONS. TOWER HAS A NATIONAL PRESENCE WITH OFFICES IN NEW YORK, WASHINGTON, D.C., CHARLOTTE, DALLAS, MINNEAPOLIS AND LOS ANGELES. SARAH HAS A BACKGROUND IN CUSTOMER SERVICE AND IS EXPERIENCED IN BOTH STAFFING AND DOCUMENT REVIEW SERVICES. SHE IS CURRENTLY THE RECRUITER IN THE MINNEAPOLIS OFFICE OF TOWER.