Maintaining a work-life balance in the legal field can be tough. Deadlines are an everyday reality, clients need your time and attention, and there is always one more thing you could strike off the to-do list before going to bed for the night.
But if you don’t find a good work-life balance, your quality of work may suffer. Your health, too, can be adversely affected. In order to keep yourself in your best shape, you need boundaries that maintain your work-life balance. Here are six ways to take control:
- Track your time. You may already track your time for billing purposes. For a few days, track all your time, including both work-related and personal activities. What’s necessary? What satisfies you the most? What can be delegated, dropped, or rescheduled for a more convenient time?
- Don’t leave work without a to-do list. Before you leave every day, write down the three tasks you must accomplish the next day. Limit this list to three. If you’re working on a large task, list the thing you must do to move the task forward tomorrow. Put this to-do list someplace you’ll see it the moment you reach your desk. When you have a plan, it’s easier to say “no” to plans and priorities that distract you.
- Set email times. Check your email no more than three times a day. Mid-morning, after lunch, and an hour before you leave work are popular times. Limiting email time helps you focus on your to-do list instead of getting sucked into other people’s needs.
- Review your options. Does your workplace offer flex hours, a compressed workweek, job sharing, telecommuting, or similar scheduling flexibility? Find out what your options are; then talk with your family to see if any of them would help you reach a better balance between work and your home life.
- Plan around big events. Certain events in a legal support professional’s work life, like preparation for an upcoming trial, demand that you be present in the office during (and often after) business hours. At other times, a lull may make it easier to schedule some flex time or work from home. Schedule around big events so your supervisor sees you’re always there when needed most, and that you can be trusted to get things done even if you’re not physically present.
- Talk to a recruiter. In some legal practices, the culture and pace themselves are toxic to a work-life balance – especially if they run counter to your personality or work style. If you find yourself in this situation, contact a recruiter to help you find a job that offers a better fit.
At Kent Legal, our experienced recruiters can help you find a legal support position that offers the work-life balance you need in order to thrive. Contact us today to learn more about our legal support employment opportunities in Toronto.