The Struggle for Work-Life Balance
by: Adam Bustamante
The concept of work-life balance is one that, while easily understandable, is difficult to master in practice.
Enjoyment and Accomplishment
A common element of this balance, as mentioned in an article about strategies for busy lawyers, is the idea of feeling both enjoyment and accomplishment. Ideally, one can find enjoyment at work and home while accomplishing what you need to do at work. As hard as it might be to find enjoyment at work, there are some ways this can happen:
- Know your strengths
- Complete tasks you know you are good at
- Learn new things that interest you
- Focus less on performance and more on enjoyment and learning
I believe that if we are able to strike the right balance of completing everything we need to at work while still having time to find relaxation and enjoyment outside of work, then the balance will be met.
Despite people’s best efforts to reach this balance, many of them struggle to do so. I feel as though this is largely caused by how demanding their jobs are. Even though our personal life may be quite complicated, I think it is the more often than not the stress of jobs that makes it difficult to achieve a work-life balance.
Law firms especially can be extremely demanding for several reasons:
- Long hours
- High stress
- Client pressures
- A constantly changing paradigm
An important point to remember is that we all make the choice to work in a potentially demanding environment. Lawyers, for example, when starting their practice or working for a firm, know that they are likely entering into a work environment that expects hard work and a very busy schedule. I believe it is up to the individual to do as much as possible to prepare in order to stay on top of their work which can help them balance work and life.
My Own Experience
I myself have had to balance two forms of work as well as my personal life. Aside from being a full time paralegal student, I also work part time at a Wal-Mart. I tend to vary from feeling as though I have a good balance to feeling swamped and burned out. I have noticed that what helps me achieve the balance is allocating myself time to enjoy various interests such as sports, exercise, music, and spending time with friends and family. In contrast, I feel tired from both work and life if there are no special events or activities going on and if I feel overwhelmed with assignments and a schedule that seems too busy to keep up with.