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Tips to Improve Work-Life Balance in the New Year

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on January 03, 2017 6:00 AM

Balancing work-life can be like balancing a tire. When changing tires, a good mechanic will balance new tires before putting them back on an automobile. The task requires moving lead weights strategically around the circumference of each wheel until it rotates evenly. Balancing is important to ensure a smooth ride and a long life for the tire.

It's a good time for lawyers to make adjustments to balance their work and their lives as they begin a new year. This may require moving some burdens around to make life's journey smoother and the ride a little longer.

Time Management Skills

Being available to your clients 24/7 may impress them, but it will not leave time for you, your family, your friends. There is only one day at a time, and one life to live. If you find there is not enough time in the day, make adjustments to your clock. Work-life balance means having great time management skills:

  • Draw a clear line between your personal and work time.
  • Know when to make calls and when to do administrative tasks to optimize your time.
  • Maximize meeting times: be strategic and work closely with co-workers to achieve best practices.
  • If you're an overachiever, consider cutting back to realistic goals so you feel you've succeeded in realistic time.

Alternative Schedules

Part-time is a familiar alternative to full-time work, while telecommuting, flextime and job-sharing are newer options being implemented to balance work and life at firms across the nation.

Telecommuting allows attorneys to choose a couple of days to work from home, cutting down on commute times and workplace distractions. Flextime is attractive to families with working parents, offering different schedules, such as 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., to accommodate family needs without sacrificing office time. Job sharing involves two part-time attorneys contributing to achieve full-time hours but handling separate tasks.

Follow a Leader

We all have the same amount of time, but some people seem to accomplish more with it. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for example, went to Columbia Law School and raised a toddler at the same time.

At a recent meeting with the Association of Corporate Counsel in Washington, D.C., Justice Ginsburg urged attorneys to "get together with each other and decide with each other 'what we want' in terms of workplace changes. Attorneys should take the lead in reimagining what it means to work as a lawyer, and law firms should act on those suggestions."

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