Nine tips for a better work-life balance as a lawyer
We’ve all heard the well-worn stereotype that your law career will completely swallow your personal life. Yet it shouldn’t be this way: in order to function properly, you need to get the balance right. Here’s how to balance your law career with your personal life.
1. Leave work at work
Don’t leave work checking your emails, or on the phone to the client, or listing all the documents you need to get through when you get home. Unless you establish boundaries, co-workers will think it’s perfectly acceptable to contact you at 11pm on a Sunday.
2. Ask for help
Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. It can facilitate problem-solving and formulate more effective ways of dealing with issues. There are people within your team, or more widely within your firm, whose job it is to delegate tasks and ensure that everyone has a manageable workload—but they can’t help if you don’t communicate with them.
3. Just say no
Although it can be tempting to say yes to everything—especially as a junior lawyer—there will be times when you know that you can’t possibly take on any more tasks. It’s better to be honest about this than to say yes and let somebody down further along. Speaking to your manager about the reality of your work situation and their expectations should facilitate change.
4. Be realistic
Following on from this, completing a countrywide project isn’t going to be achievable in a single working day. It’s important to set realistic targets.
5. Stop procrastinating
Instead of procrastinating, set targets for yourself: work for an hour and a half, have a short break, then move on to the next task. It will break up your day and you’ll become more productive.
6. Let things go
Stop thinking about how your intern forgot to set the bibliography’s cases in italics in the summer of 2016. If it isn’t furthering your career, just let it go.
7. Make time to do things for you
Set aside time every day after work to do something you love, or something that relaxes you. Take that ten-minute tea break or read that chapter you’ve been meaning to. It’ll boost your mood.
8. Schedule annual leave
Make use of your annual leave. Time away from work is healthy; it provides perspective and focus.
9. Negotiate a change with your employer
If you’re still struggling to attain a work-life balance, discuss making larger changes, such as to your working hours or how you use your time at work. It’s important to talk to your employer to arrange this. If it works, it will lead to a better workplace environment, which will only help your situation and your employer’s.