In the law office, stress is a type of kryptonite that saps your team’s creativity and sabotages its outcomes.
And those negative effects aren’t just confined to the office. They’re carried home as well.
In a recent survey, a majority of workers said work stress is the number one factor limiting their productivity and damaging their relationships with co-workers. And 54 percent said they take their stress home with them.
The goal is balance, which is easier said than done. That’s why a recent Lawyerist blogpost – which offers a laundry list of ideas to bring serenity to the law office – is so helpful.
“Here at Lawyerist, we believe in healthy law firms,” according to this blogpost. “Balance is at the heart of it all. Without it, you risk your mental health and general wellbeing.”
Below are some of the highlights of the Lawyerist post:
There’s no need to stress out – at home or at work – when you’re insured with Lawyers Mutual. Our email newsletter “Practice Reimagined” offers timely tips, pointers and valuable links on wellness, work-life balance and quality of life.
Bring Calmness to Your Firm
- Tidy and organize your workspace.
- Decorate it with items that make you happy (pictures of your kids, a vase of fresh flowers, inspirational quotes).
- Get comfortable, high-quality furniture, starting with a good chair.
- Add plants and greenery, which will improve air quality and ease anxiety.
Set a Healthy Schedule
“Build a balanced work schedule with healthy working hours. We recommend setting aside a certain number of hours each day as dedicated work time. You don’t have to stick to the typical 9 to 5 if that’s not what works best for you. Find what works best for you and stick to it. Change your working hours in Google Calendar. If you have a website, list your working hours for all to see. And no matter what, turn off your computer at quitting time and walk away. Don’t work outside your set hours.”
Structure Your Time When Working Remotely
- Claim a designated workspace. “Draw a line between your workspace and living space. Don’t bring your laptop to the couch. If you can, choose a space that has a door or other physical barrier that allows to you physically shut out work when it’s time to quit for the day.”
- Stick to your working hours. In other words, stop when it’s quitting time.
- Avoid multi-tasking.
- Schedule vacations. When you take time off, go all in by leaving work behind – literally and metaphorically.
Making Time for Family
- Power down your devices and turn off notifications when you’re with your family.
- Be fully present for them.
- Focus on the basics of good health: sleep, exercise, healthy good, social connections.
- Team up with an “accountabilabuddy.”
- Don’t over commit.
Managing Stress and Anxiety
“Stress and anxiety are things to never take lightly. Creating a lawyer work-life balance that works for you is the first step towards better managing your stress. As you develop the right balance, remember to leave room for healthy sleep and calm downtime.”
Meditation and Mindfulness
Try this simple exercise: “Take a moment to sit in a quiet place. Close your eyes and take deep breaths through your nose. Be present in the moment, listening to the sound around you. As you feel thoughts creep up, acknowledge them, and then let them pass, returning to the present moment. What you want to do is simply be present without distraction. Let your thoughts wander and then bring them back. With practice, you’ll find it easier to control those stressful thoughts that often creep up when you least expect them.”
Jay Reeves is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Now he writes and speaks at CLEs, keynotes and in-firm presentations on lawyer professionalism and well-being. He runs Your Law Life LLC, which offers confidential, one-on-one consultations to sharpen your firm’s mission and design an excellent Law Life. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-619-2441.