Balance is a personal thing. Everyone must decide what’s right for them. But here are some things to think about as you strive toward your own personal balance.
Recognize there is no “perfect” balance. There will be times when your work dominates your existence, and there will be times when you wish you had more work to do. Be flexible and patient. In your busy times, create the breaks that you need or schedule a day off or vacation to look forward to. When things are slow, embrace the break or get ahead on the next wave of work. Either way, think long term about your own personal balance.
Wherever you are, be there. When you’re at work, focus on your work. Maximize your time and be efficient. When you’re home, unplug and step away from your work. Spend time with your family or friends or do whatever brings you happiness.
Prioritize. When you start work every day, start with the tasks you must complete that day. If your day goes sideways at lunch, at least you’ve made progress on the most important work for that day and may be able to avoid working a late night.
Set manageable goals. Everyone loves a good “to do” list. Make your list realistic, not aspirational. Think about the tasks you can actually complete that day and put those on your list. If you complete more, bonus points for you, and tomorrow just got easier. Nothing is worse than taking on too much every day and consistently failing to finish the job
Set boundaries. There is rarely any reason to be on call around the clock. Try to protect your evenings or your weekends, whatever is most important to your personal balance. Let your clients and colleagues know that is your time, and you’re happy to help them if it’s an emergency or otherwise during your normal work hours.
Don’t overcommit. Most of us are joiners and doers, and we have a knack for getting ourselves overloaded. Think about your schedule and your priorities before you commit to something. Can you get the job done and do it well? If you have time to do the job, is that how you want to spend it?
Recognize when you need a break. It can’t always be avoided, but don’t work yourself into the ground. Take a day off, take a vacation, or get a good night’s sleep. The practice of law is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ll need breaks along the way.