"Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness." -Unknown
Working a dead-end job that you hate is hugely demoralising and detrimental to a person's mental health. As humans, we like to engage ourselves more fully in activities that we enjoy. Therefore, to enthusiastically complete work tasks for our job, we need to appreciate what we do, and this couldn't be more true because we spend at least eight hours per day, five days a week at our job.
Nonetheless, it's important to state that not all of our work at a job and in a sector that we appreciate or admire. Sadly, loving your job and feeling fulfilment from it is a luxury experienced by a select few. Since we need the money to live and care for our responsibilities, some may feel stuck to a loveless job for the rest of their working years. Is there a solution?
While it isn't a great idea to up and leave your job to find a new one that you will like, most of the time, all it takes is a little bit of planning to have a healthier balance between work and life. Because, let's face it, if you're constantly working overtime and doing less of the activities you relish, you might even start to hate your dream job!
So, without further delay, in today's article, we shall discuss a healthy work-life balance, whether average lawyers have it, and what tools they can implement to ensure that they equally get the most out of their career and home life.
What is a Healthy Work-Life Balance?
"Invest in your work-life balance. Time with your friends and family is as important as times at work." -Stephen Gillett
In the past few years, you've probably heard the term "work-life balance" thrown around in conversation more than once. Millennials tend to be asked and ask, more than any other generation before, about the work-life balance of an employment position during interviews. Why's that?
First of all, for those unfamiliar with the term, work-life balance is defined as the equilibrium a person has between their personal life and career. The phrase was established by Lillian Moller Gilbreth, who brought out the philosophical basis for work-life balance in the 21st century.
An individual with a healthy work-life balance knows how to leave work at the job and be fully present during their personal life. A balanced work and home life keep families more content without feeling the stresses adults experience at their job.
As we stated above, millennials tend to care more about a healthy work-life balance than any other group in history because they have observed and studied the detrimental effects of workplace exhaustion, burnout, and stress on generations of workers.
You could say that a healthy work-life balance is a solution that will save employers millions of pounds in caring for their employees' mental health issues while also providing families with much needed time together.
Do Most Lawyers Possess a Healthful Work-Life Equilibrium?
While the intentions of striving to attain a healthy work-life balance are admirable, it is often easier said than done at many jobs. But, what about lawyers? Do they have a healthy work-life balance? The answer to that question greatly depends on the following two factors:
- The law firm,
- The lawyer.
Firstly, as has been the custom for decades, law firms, in both the public and the private domain, tend to reward those who work long hours and lawyers who bring in high-profile cases with huge payouts. Money is more worthwhile than the happiness and mental health of the lawyers at the firm; however, that is not always the case at every single firm.
Recently, to meet the demands of millennial workers who campaign for mental health and a positive work-life balance, law firms have started to offer more flexible working hours that accommodate both types of lifestyles: those who are married to their job and those who want to spend more time with the wife/husband and kids.
So, for the next generation of lawyers, there is a choice to work "conventional" lawyer hours that complement a higher pay and the possibility of making partner or the option to have flexible hours that allow working lawyers to also thrive in their personal lives.
When it comes down to it, the solicitor or barrister decides what type of lifestyle and career they would like to have.
A work-life balance isn't so much the choice of the firm, although some firms look for specific types of working professionals, but rather the decision of a lawyer.
Habits to Avoid That Negatively Affect a Good Work-Life Balance
While it is true that lawyers can decide whether they want to establish a healthy work-life balance or not, we remarkably suggest that they do since there are so many adverse side effects to only working and not enjoying the finer things of life.
So, if you're a wise lawyer who is seeking to find a balance between life and work, the following are some harmful habits to avoid:
- Working Too Much Overtime: though it might be required sometimes to work overtime to complete a massive case if you have the habit of working overtime almost every night, this won't help you find a balance between work and life. Bosses expect more of those who offer to work overtime, and that can cause unneeded pressure.
- Checking Your Email at Home: how many times do you check your email? Five, ten, fifteen times a day? Constantly checking your work email while at home causes a person to feel less relaxed while at their residence and, slowly but surely, they won't see why not they can't bring work home with them.
- Not Having a Routine: when a lawyer has a regular schedule with specific tasks that must be completed at a particular time, they are much more motivated to get everything done and prioritise tasks. Without a work routine, it is easy to get carried away and not be productive, which sometimes means working overtime to complete the tasks you didn't finish.
Are there are any positive tips for improving work-life balance as a lawyer? Keep on reading to find out more!
Positive Tips to Improve Work-Life Balance as a Lawyer
Finding balance in life and juggling all responsibilities successfully is no easy task. Many individuals attempt to find a balance between work-life their entire careers and do not seek to find it; however, it is possible, so don't give up!
Though lawyers have stressful working lives that infringe on their personal matters at times, by adhering to the following advice, barristers or solicitors can have a better work-life balance:
- Just Say No: as we looked at in the previous subheading, one of the worst habits a working professional may possess is saying yes to everything. By saying yes for fear of disappointing others, you are essentially saying no to yourself and you will tire out because of accepting too many overwhelming tasks. Lawyers say no to things they do not want to do or do not have the time to complete. Learning to say no is one of the best things you can do to protect your time and balance out your life.
- Get Away from Distractions: every single day, during working hours or, shortly after, you should give yourself time to unplug, get away from the phone, and do something that you enjoy, such as reading, taking a walk, or going to the gym. Turn off your phone for a little bit to allow yourself a little time to breathe. At first, you might feel bad not answering back to phone calls, messages, or emails, yet, remember, we were never programmed to be enslaved to our devices. The refreshment away from distractions makes everything seem more manageable in a day.
- Warmly Welcome the Possibility of a Flexible Schedule: to be 100% present with your family and to enjoy meaningful moments with them, you may need to embrace a schedule that isn't so conventional. How's that? Some firms allow their solicitors and barristers to choose their own schedules as long as the job in question gets done. Therefore, this allows you to be your own boss and manage your time wisely. A flexible schedule allows you to be a more present mother or father when there are special events at school or during holidays since you can try to get your work done earlier in the day or later in the evening to spend more time with the family in the day and develop a more realistic work-life balance.
If you implement any of the previously mentioned tips as a lawyer, you will slowly start to feel the positive effects of a work-life balance and enjoy your job more fully.
In conclusion, it's important to state that whether a lawyer possesses a healthy work-life balance entirely depends on them and not necessarily the firm they work for. So, if a barrister or solicitor wants to get the most out of enjoying life while at the same time developing their professional career, it is possible; don't give up!