As the current global pandemic continues to restrict physical boundaries, thousands of lawyers worldwide have transitioned from their office to home, facing a prominent struggle to find their work-life balance in the midst of personal and professional challenges. Here are 5 effective tips to ensure a healthy balance in your life, while maximizing productivity.
What is work life balance?
Life is not all about work, although it can feel at times like it is. It is important to try to create a balance between the physical and emotional demand of a job and a healthy control on your life. Maintaining a balanced schedule helps reduce stress and promotes productivity. Work life balance is personal and varies per individual, integrating various aspects of a healthy lifestyle such as exercise, relationships, passions, etc.
1. Create a solid routine + stick to it
When you wake up in the morning and you don't have a structured schedule for your day, it can feel impossible to get anything done, let alone balance your work, your health and happiness. Creating the right schedule can help decrease levels of stress and in turn produce a major increase in productivity, but how can we make an effective schedule that will work? Establish a routine or schedule that helps you regain momentum and control on your life, yet is flexible enough to take into account your life outside of the office. Whether that be your daily run or time with the kids, or just time for yourself; don’t let yourself burn out from work, make sure you have time for yourself.
2. Daily schedules make us more efficient and save time, our most valuable resource.
Time is a simple daily aspect of our lives, but it is deeply invaluable. Every second that passes, we can’t get back, therefore it is incredibly important to use this resource wisely. Being able to create an effective schedule, makes our lives more efficient and enjoyable. It enables us to make clear and quick decisions on daily tasks, prioritizing what is most important to us. When one task is completed, we have a clear path allocated for us afterwards. It allows us to spend less time planning our daily tasks and rather allocate that time in more productive, efficient and less-overwhelming activities. Once a schedule, what we plan to do in our day, becomes routine, a plan we do everyday, these habits can take less energy and determination and can become another part of our lives.
3. Plan ahead
When we set goals, we often focus on the destination . However, in the long run, this is not a sustainable system. If you plan ahead, you would have more ability to process and respond to challenges that come along the way. Effective planning also gives you time to change your schedule and add minor changes to your life. Without planning, you don’t have physical deadlines to hold yourself accountable, therefore there is a lack of a sense of responsibility and stability.
4. Self care
Self care encompasses a variety of things, almost anything, an individual does to be good to themselves. It is a broad term, but in simple terms, self care is the deliberate manner in which we take care of ourselves, to maintain or improve our well being. Self care is universally important, yet unique to each person. It revolves around finding activities YOU enjoy and help you create positive energy around you. It can be hard to track down your interests and self care favourites, but it all comes down to what you value in your life, what you love and how much time you are willing to spend. Having the ability to detach from work and practicing your interests, can help reduce stress, and balance your life between work and other activities.
5. Let out your emotions on paper
Journaling often involves exploring our thoughts and feelings in response to life events through a diary or a journal. There are various forms of journaling, all dependent on personal preference. People journal for a variety of reasons, whether it be a stress management mechanism, or a self exploration tool. Journaling allows people to organize and clarify their thoughts, often helping them either come to a conclusion on their emotions or just let it out in general. Journaling, when done consistently, can help decrease stress and organize your life. It also improves our cognitive thinking, in addition to our self awareness.
The one takeaway to get from this post is that prioritizing your health- both physical and mental - is the most important thing right now. This year has been far from smooth and easy. It is ok if you don’t feel OK, but be kind to yourself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and look after yourself. Find what balance works for you, to maximize your happiness, productivity, and health. Here at Flex Legal, we establish strong connections between freelance lawyers and law firms, helping stressed and overworked lawyers find their balance and success, while saving money. Our mission is to help you bring flexibility into your life during overwhelming times such as now.
This was a guest post by Flex Legal's current apprentice Parnian Ashrafi. Parnian is a wise-beyond-her years high school student who was matched with Flex Legal's founder, Erin Cowling, through FLIK - a community that connects and womxn apprentices with female founders.