Letter from the President
Originally published in the printed bar journal, Communiqué (May 2016).
Lawyers Deserve a Day at the Park
I recently spent an afternoon at Floyd Lamb State Park. It’s one of my favorite places in Las Vegas and whether I am walking the trails, enjoying a picnic, reading a book, or simply watching my dog play in the grass, being outdoors helps me relax and unwind. Relaxed and unwound is exactly how I felt – until my phone began a seemingly incessant series of dings and buzzes to remind me of the work assignments requiring my attention. Darn.
As I headed home to my laptop, I wondered how my work-life balance got so . . . unbalanced. I am pretty organized, I focus on my work when I am at the office, and I have learned (okay, I’m learning) to effectively delegate. Yet, the dinging and buzzing continue.
The truth is, maintaining a work-life balance is difficult, especially for lawyers. We work in adversarial environments where attention to detail is critical and failure could prove devastating; our performance is under constant scrutiny; our success is often defined by the billable hour; and we must typically manage not only our own stress and emotions, but those of our clients as well. But we love what we do, which is why we struggle to separate our work and personal time.
Here are some tips for harmonizing your professional and personal lives:
1. Go offline
Technology tends to force work into your home life. Shut your phone off to detach yourself from work-related stressors and enjoy quality personal time. If that seems too extreme, try checking e-mail only at specific times, or ask your clients to limit their calls and texts to specific hours.
2. Pursue hobbies
Hobbies generate creative energy and are a great way to relax, recharge, and spend quality time with family and friends. If you are already thinking that you don’t have enough time for a hobby, consider how well-rounded it will make your resume, or how many potential clients you might meet by connecting with people outside of the office.
3. Don’t be so hard on yourself
Balance does not mean a rigid 50/50 split between home and office. Sometimes one or the other will rightfully take priority. What’s important is recognizing when you’ve been leaning in one direction for too long and making the changes necessary to restore your balance.