Burnout in any industry is prevalent. In a culture that values sleepless nights and ridiculously early mornings in the name of productivity, we can begin to see why so many are feeling tired, burnt out, and stuck in a rut. This is especially true in industries and careers where people’s emotions and finances are on the line.
Cited as a disease of disengagement, burnout can affect lawyers and attorneys just like everyone else, especially since the work of an attorney is known for its abundance of long hours, billable time, and demanding workdays. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some ways we can mitigate and even prevent burnout in our lives, both our jobs, our well-being, and the success of our clients depend upon it.
Identifying the Symptoms
Fatigue: Sure, everyone gets tired of and from work, But if you’re experiencing this on a chronic level – and it’s something that some sleep and some time away is not fixing, then this may be more than just the standard feeling of needing a little R&R.
Cynicism: Again, it’s not unusual to vent to a friend or close co-worker from time to time. But when this frustration begins to creep into an overwhelming sense of negativity and feeling of dissatisfaction with one’s job, then we may want to take a deeper dive into what’s going on.
Lack of Attention: Most people jump on Facebook or go for a walk just to break up the day. In fact, in small doses, this can help with your productivity. But if you’re having trouble paying attention and finding yourself simply neglecting to do the work at hand, this may be a result of burnout.
How to Treat It
Time Away: As simple as this sounds, time away really does the mind good. While I’m not saying burnout is an easy fix, sometimes the fix is found in taking a few personal days, getting coffee with a friend, and sending some time decompressing. Remember, just about anything in life can be fixed by unplugging them for a few minutes — including yourself.
Workload: Sometimes, the workload is simply too much. And, with the way workflow can pile up as an attorney, this is definitely true. And while it’s normal to have to handle an influx of clients and cases from time to time, an ongoing issue like this needs to be addressed. There’s no reason you have to constantly show up to your job drowning in paperwork.
Now, while this is far from an exhaustive list, I do hope this article can help you think a bit deeper about this important issue. Burnout is nothing to play around with, and prevention is better than the best medicine.