For anyone who works within the legal space, you will understand how much the workload can weigh you down, especially as you climb up your career ladder. The average lawyer spends between 37 and 60 hours at work, about 40% to 50% of the work week.
The idea of work-life balance for lawyers may seem almost impossible, but it can become a reality with intentionality and the right strategies. Maintaining a work-life balance is essential to not just achieving your career goals but also as far as reaching a well-rounded fulfilling life.
Legal practitioners can pick up several tips and learnable skills to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This article will take you through everything you need about work-life balance.
Why a Healthy Work-life Balance is Important
Having a work-life balance helps in improving your general well-being. From your mental, emotional, and physical health, you must find ways to improve your entire body system. Working for long hours can cause severe health implications like impaired sleep, impaired memory, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and heavy drinking. These conditions can worsen when there is high burnout from work activities.
It is not uncommon to see workplaces encourage employees to spend long hours working, as it is widely believed that doing so will increase productivity. The reality is that once workers hit a certain number of hours, productivity levels will start to drop, and there will be a higher probability of mistakes and harm, as the case may be.
Essentially, a healthy work-life balance reduces stress and improves your general well-being, and can also impact the overall productivity level at work.
Essential Tips to Help Maintain Work-life Balance
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Here are crucial measures that you can take to attain a healthier work-life balance while you work within the legal profession.
Figure Out Your Priorities
The first thing you need to do is determine what is important to you and what is not. From work, family, and friends to health, social activities, and extracurricular, you need to figure out your priorities and focus on them.
When you can figure out your priorities, it becomes easier to plan for them and know what you should be doing at different times. It will reduce the chances of neglecting important things or prioritizing others.
Understand your Organization’s Type
Understanding different methods of organization is an important factor to always keep in mind if you are working within the legal space or intend to in the future. Like other industries, the legal industry has different types of organizations, depending on the specialization and goal of the company. For instance, those who work in litigation have it different from those who work within the corporate space.
It is important to know how the system within your organization works so you can plan around it. Corporate law firms are more likely to require more from their workers, just like smaller firms will if they are short of staff. Take some time to study the firm you work or intend to work at and take notes on how to spend more time out of the office as would suit your needs.
Learn to Delegate
One of the essential skills required of lawyers is the ability to juggle several tasks. However, you still have to find a way to reduce your workload. Evaluate what you need to do and highlight those that need to be done personally and those that are not. Then, consider the required result and look around to see if anyone can do it. Where possible, delegate some work to other team members based on capacity. You do not have to do it all by yourself.
Keep Track of Your Working Hours and Workloads
The organization is vital in ensuring a work-life balance. From structuring your day to dealing with specific tasks, spending time on the right things becomes easier and more productive. Figure out the tasks that need to be done weekly or monthly and know which of them you need to respond to and act on. Establish your list of tasks based on the order of importance and ensure you have a system that helps you work around them.
Utilize Technology; Limit Distractions
Digitization and technology have made it much easier to carry out tasks today, and lawyers are included in its benefits. There are several apps and tools out there that can ease your burdens. From managing your tasks and automating documents to keeping track of records and finances, you can save a lot of time, translating to more outside-the-office time. You will be ensuring that you cut down on drudgery and repetitive tasks.
However, with technology, it is also important to limit distractions during work hours. Keep your phones, notifications, and other tools from being a distraction to what you need to do within office hours.
Take Your Holidays and Breaks
Finally, you must ensure you take your breaks and holidays when due. It is plausible to see that lawyers spend their holidays and time off trying to complete work projects. From short weekend breaks to annual vacations, ensure you leave work entirely and spend time focused on other important areas of your life.
In conclusion, there is more to life than work. As much as work is important and the requirements of working within the legal field are delicate, you must pay attention to the other areas of your life.