Tips for achieving work-life balance

October 26, 2017

In today’s age, we are a constantly “on”. Whether it’s text message, phone, email, facetime or skype, we can (and often do) find any pocket of the day to conduct business.  As a legal professionals’ recruitment firm, we speak with many associates who are looking for some form of work-life balance and who feel some level of unhappiness due to the lack of “balance” in their current role.

This leads into a deeper conversation around how work-life balance is defined by the individual – since the term can take on different meanings for different people. So, what does work-life balance really mean to you? Is it the ability to shut off your work email after 5pm? Sticking to a strict 9-5 workday? Having the time to enjoy things that matter to you personally, such as spending time with family, finding time to workout, or achieving mind-body mindfulness?

Inquire about flex-time or other policies

Achieving work-life balance has its challenges but is possible. Some law firms have a flex-time, or work from home policy allowing their associates to either spend more time with their families or cutting down on commute time significantly.  When it comes to asking for flex-time or other flexible work options, it’s important to communicate why this is important to you. If you aren’t available at certain times of the day or weekends because of family obligations, let the firm know. Some law firms will take these matters into consideration.

Use technology to your advantage

Using technology to your advantage can help alleviate stress and allow for some additional “me time”.  Some say technology should be used as your friend and should help make your life easier. However, banning technology at certain times to focus on your family, extra curriculars and volunteering can go a long way to allowing you to feel a separation from the office and focus your attention elsewhere.

Take time for yourself

Allow some time throughout the day to focus on you. Try walking to work, taking a few minutes to be more mindful, taking a yoga class or going for a run at lunch, or even simply de-cluttering your mind to allow yourself a sense of self-acknowledgement. Finally, taking a (well-deserved) vacation can help you take some time away to feel the “balance” you are seeking. The key to making any of these practices successful is to immerse yourself in the moment – if you are constantly checking your emails or making work calls, you won’t be able to create any separation or balance for yourself. It’s important to set boundaries or limitations – say, if you are on vacation, only checking work emails or returning phone calls once a day, at a set time, and leaving your phone behind at the hotel to focus on the people and the experiences around you for the remainder of the day. Be sure to set expectations with your firm before leaving so there isn’t any confusion about your availability while out of the office.

Lawyers have demanding practices, but there are many tools that can be used to help find a balance between maintaining a strong practice and making time for yourself, your family and community.  Obtaining your version of work-life balance can be challenging but there are many small yet powerful ways of reaching these goals to achieve the lifestyle you are looking for.

Finally, talk to your specialist legal recruitment consultant if you are considering your career options and would like to have a confidential discussion.

Akash Bir, Senior Recruitment Associate