Articles From the Team
Three frank tips for a better work-life balance
Perhaps you think a better work-life balance is just a fantasy, and there’s nothing wrong with being a dedicated hard worker, but as with all things in life, moderation is key to ensuring a successful future.
We all know lazy workers fail but this is also the case for engaged workers; who find they suffer burnout from being too dedicated.
To ensure your career is sustainable, you need to accept – at the outset – that time away from your desk is just as important as time spent at it, and as such, work-life balance is absolutely essential. However, workers, and specifically those within the legal profession, aren’t taking this on-board.
A 2018 Harvard Business School study discovered that 94% of senior professionals work over 50 hours per week while averaging less than 3 hours of what they consider as ‘productive’ time a day. In addition, the same study found that 40% admitted to staying at their computer past 10 p.m. at least one day a week.
Obviously, working to the point of exhaustion isn’t an option; if the above scenario sounds familiar then you need to re-think your work strategy from the bottom up.
So, what can you do about it? Here are three key things to think about:
Happiness is just as important as your career
Millions of professionals find self-worth in their performance at work.
While there’s nothing overtly wrong with this, it shouldn’t be your only source of happiness. Your payslip may support your lifestyle and as a result your ‘happiness’ but there’s no point in earning money to support a life you’re not happy with.
The first step to avoiding burnout and moving towards a sustainable work-life balance is accepting your happiness comes above all else, including the happiness of your family and those closest to you. If you think you’d be happier in a less senior position with less responsibility and more time for yourself, then maybe this is the path to follow.
Red pen is not your master – let go of your mistakes
Admittedly, there are some careers where making a major mistake can result in catastrophic results. Solicitors and lawyers have the dreaded fear of providing negligent advice, but you should always have someone more senior to ask. In this case, if your draft comes back with a lot of red pen utilise this to your advantage and take their advice on board.
As a general rule of thumb, being resilient is an extremely important trait you need to develop and learning when to call it a day (during work hours) can save you a lot of anguish.
If you make a mistake, own up, work on overcoming it in the future, and try not to lose sleep over it.
Be in control of your own future
Many solicitors struggling with work-life balance feel they have to put in all the hours they can to maximise their chance of reaching the top of the tree. It’s important to remember you don’t owe your firm anything.
If you’re consistently being asked to work late into the evening or deal with projects far greater than you can reasonably handle, it’s your right to mention this and ask for a more manageable workload. If the issues continue, you’re completely within your rights to find a job with better hours and a team who care more about your welfare – both exist.
Being successful doesn’t mean you should suffer – take fate into your own hands.