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5 Things to Do Before You Leave the Office

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By Robyn Hagan Cain on April 03, 2013 12:22 PM

For some lawyers, the work day never ends.

Twenty years ago, lawyers left their phones and computers at work. Thanks to increased mobility, lawyers now send email from their phones, read briefs and cases on tablets, and are rarely seen without a laptop. Unfortunately, the never-stop-working work ethic means that more attorneys are burning out.

So how do you stop the vicious cycle? Try actively disconnecting from the office at the end of the day.

Of course, that's easier said than done. If you're the type of person who can't rest until you've reached a proper stopping point, it may be helpful to start winding down your day approximately 30 minutes before you leave the office.

Last year, Forbes' Jacquelyn Smith outlined 14 things you should do at the end of every work day. If you have time for a 14-step end-of-day ritual, check out her tips. If you're looking for an abridged way to end your day, we've refined some of her tips and added a few of our own to create a handy checklist of five things to do before you leave the office.

  1. Input Your Billing. If you have to enter your own billing, do it at the end of each day instead of the end of each month.
  2. Check Your Calendar. Sometimes filing deadlines can slip your mind; don't spoil a client's claim because you overlooked a date on the calendar.
  3. Respond to Email. If there are unanswered messages in your inbox that needs attention, take care of them before you leave. What's the point of going home to your family/friends/pets if you're going to ignore them while responding to email?
  4. Create a To Do List. Smith says that you should plan and prioritize what you will do tomorrow before you leave today.
  5. Say Goodnight. While Smith claims that saying goodbye to colleagues can make you feel happier and more fulfilled, it's also practical to bid your law firm colleagues adieu. If your firm has an unspoken don't-leave-until-the-boss leaves rules, saying goodbye notifies those who report you that they can also leave.

These, of course, are just a few suggestions. You should customize your end of day ritual with whatever steps help you disconnect. The important thing is that you find a way to leave the office at the office so you can avoid burnout.

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