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If you’re a lawyer, you’re probably no stranger to late nights and weekend work. From the hours of research that certain cases require to the mountains of paperwork that can come with mediations, there’s a lot to be done. But being busy doesn’t mean you need to spend every waking hour working–there is a way to maintain work-life balance, even when your job feels busier than ever. Read on for our top five tips.
Do one thing at a time
You’re a lawyer, which means you probably have a lot to do on any given day. But guess what? Trying to do it all at once is only going to slow you down. Studies show that multitasking causes you to make up to three times more mistakes than you would if you focused on a single task. It also decreases your efficiency and, in some cases, temporarily lowers IQ levels by up to 15 points.
So, while you may think that racing through multiple tasks at once means you’ll get your work done faster and have more time to relax, the opposite is true. Focus on doing one thing at a time (one of our favorite ways to do this is using the Pomodoro technique)–you’ll be surprised by how much more you get done–and you may feel less overwhelmed as a result.
Connect to your purpose
If you find yourself getting discouraged by your work, perspective can be powerful. Lawyers are important members of society; it’s no small feat to spend years studying law so you can help others get the justice they deserve. And if you don’t feel connected to your purpose on a daily basis, see if you can get involved in some pro bono work.
Law firms like Marble offer opportunities for pro bono work in addition to paid case opportunities. Providing your services to those who wouldn’t typically be able to afford them is a wonderful way to remind yourself how impactful your profession can be.
Set a few phone-free hours
Whenever it’s feasible, set some boundaries around your availability. We know this is more difficult for lawyers than it is for people in other professions, but it’s worth a try. Our favorite tip is to turn off your phone two hours before bed. So, if you go to bed at midnight, promise yourself–and tell your team–you’ll be unavailable to respond from 10 p.m. onwards.
Studies show that putting your phone away before bed can improve your sleep and getting a good sleep is proven to improve your work performance. Setting boundaries isn’t something to feel guilty about–you’re doing your clients and your team a favor by taking care of yourself so that you can perform at your best.
Take micro-moments throughout the day
There may be weeks where unwinding at the end of the day feels impossible–and that’s okay. With that said, remember that you’ll produce your best work when you’re taking care of yourself and try to slot a few five to ten-minute breaks into your day, even if you’re pulling an all-nighter.
Take a walk around the block (even if it’s just to pick up a coffee) or five minutes away from your desk for a short meditation. YouTube even has a few short meditations that are designed specifically to energize lawyers during long and busy days.
Consider some outsourcing
The unfortunate reality of life as a lawyer is that most hours aren’t billable. In fact, lawyers only bill an average of 2.3 hours a day! That means many lawyers are spending the majority of the day on tedious admin work.
If you feel like you don’t have enough time for the work that really matters to you, consider the areas where you can outsource your work. If you work at a big firm, this may mean requesting an assistant. You can also consider co-counseling with a firm like Marble, where we take sourcing, marketing, vetting, intake, billing, collections and more off your plate, so you can focus on your cases.
We know that work can feel overwhelming sometimes–but we hope you use these tips to make every day feel a little bit easier.
Learn more about how to practice law on your own terms with Marble Law.