How to Manage Work-Life Integration as an Attorney

Setting boundaries to protect your well-being can help you in the long run.

Many people grapple with work-life balance, no matter what career they have. Although their work not always life-saving, like doctors and nurses, lawyers tend to struggle just as much with work-life balance and burnout. Attorneys have learned to work as long as it takes to solve a problem, but this mentality is not 100 percent sustainable. Here are some tips to help you learn to balance law and life.

Identify Your Priorities

When you are working as a lawyer, you may feel inclined to work as much as possible to prove that you are good at your job and should be respected. However, life changes and your priorities might change, too. It is imperative that you regularly identify what your top priorities are in your life at the moment so you can efficiently manage your time. If you have children, you may want to ensure that you are home to do school pick-up or drop-off, which will impact the hours that you need to work. Or you may prioritize fitness and want to take a particular class at your gym every week. Talk to your employer to adjust your work schedule to better fit your lifestyle. You can still work full-time hours, but you may just come into work a little earlier or later.

Learn to Set Realistic Boundaries

If you have been practicing law for a while, you may already have your boundaries set for your clients and your employer. But if you are just starting a new position or working in the law in general, you should set some realistic work-life boundaries from the start. Don’t let clients know that they can reach you at any time if you don’t actually mean “anytime.” Make it a point to say that you will be on call between strict times. Let them know that you can only be reached between 7:00 and 7:00, for example. You should also pick one day per week that is entirely off-limits to work. Make sure your Saturday or Sunday is completely blocked off for personal time. If you don’t make the time for yourself, you may begin to feel the effects of burnout, which could end up hurting your career more than one day off a week would.

Although practicing law is a tough and time-consuming job, it’s still important to manage your time wisely to attain proper work-life balance. You may wish to prioritize your career, but you should recognize that you physically cannot work 24/7. Take the time to evaluate your life, prioritize what means the most to you, and set realistic boundaries to have a successful career and personal life.

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