Are you a believer or a skeptic of lawyer work-life balance?
The legal profession has an extraordinarily demanding work culture that takes a toll on the health and personal life of almost all attorneys. You feel that you wear too many hats and have a never-ending to-do list, but what else could you do? Getting the different areas of your life perfectly “balanced” makes no sense.
In this blog, we share the truth about work-life balance, help you identify if you are burning yourself out, and provide tips to achieve something that works for you.
The Truth About Work-Life Balance
A healthy work-life balance looks different for everyone. Why? Because it is not about splitting your time among the areas of your life; it is about managing all your responsibilities without feeling guilty or overwhelmed.
People prioritize personal time, family, friends, and work differently. You cannot be right or wrong when it comes to this because it depends on personal preference. For example, a lawyer mom may want to give her job more attention for a few days to prepare for a trial but will take the day off for her daughter's birthday. On the other hand, another lawyer mom may prefer to be present for her son every day even if she can only spend 2 hours with him on his birthday. Their approach to achieving work-life balance is different, but they both feel happy with the result.
An Unhealthy Work-Life Balance
If work-life balance looks different for everyone, how can you identify if yours is unhealthy? It can be challenging to recognize if you are burning yourself out, especially when you have normalized it because it has been your lifestyle for a long time. That is why you should regularly pause and reflect on how you feel.
Are you feeling too stressed or unhappy?
What is causing you to feel this way, and how is it affecting your life?
Are you missing out on something important to you?
Reflect on your feelings to decide which changes, if any, you want to make. And commit to them.
Here are some of our tips:
Set boundaries with your family, friends, colleagues, clients, and even yourself! You will only achieve work-life balance when you make this commitment. Of course, there are exceptions where you will have to deal with something urgent but remember that they should only be occasional.
Check-In With Your Goals
You may feel like you currently have a balanced lifestyle, but you may not feel the same in 6 months. So constantly think about your personal and professional goals and make adjustments in your life to ensure your actions are always aligned. Remember that having balance does not come from having work and leisure in equal proportions; it comes from feeling fulfilled with what you do.
Learn to Prioritize
Ending the day with a long list of unfinished tasks is overwhelming. If that is your case, you probably have too much on your plate. Focus on the tasks that are important to you. Something good about owning a law firm is you can delegate to others!
An Alternative to Work-Life Balance: Work-Life Integration
As a business owner, you may find separating the areas of your life impossible. Your firm is your baby, and you cannot see yourself setting any boundaries - if your firm needs you, you will be there. Does that sound like you? If that is your case, aim for a healthy work-life integration where your personal and professional growth are linked. Most believe that sacrificing their personal lives is mandatory for professional success, but that is not true. If you have a newborn and want to be present, be present! You can work from home and dedicate time to your firm while the baby sleeps. Do you have a work trip, but it breaks your heart to leave your family at home? Take them too!
No one has achieved the perfect work-life balance. So give yourself grace and focus on creating the lifestyle that works for you.
Watch Moms in Business Part 2 for tips on:
Managing working-mom guilt
Building the firm of your dreams
Lydia Desnoyers, CPA, CFE: “What are some of the key things that you feel have been instrumental in developing the firm that you have right now and being able to still be a mom and a wife?”
Miriam Airington-Fisher “[…] Strategic planning for the firm, working with professionals, doing financial planning – it really helped me build a vision and kind of know where I was going […]”