All Work and No Play: How can we find a balance?

By Lisa-Marie Hill

Are you the 1 and 4 Canadian workers that admits to being highly stressed in your day to day life? Do you find it hard to balance your career with your ever growing list of demands that life throws at you? Take a deep breath, because you are not alone.

There is an increasing number of professionals experiencing the dreaded “burnout”, along with many other health problems, both physical and mental. And it isn’t just women feeling the stress. I know many men that share the household and child responsibilities while juggling long hours at the office.

Jatrine Bentsi-Enchill wrote a fascinating article on the chaos of the work-life balance for legal professionals. She stresses that more and more lawyers are developing stress related illnesses such as insomnia due to a lack of balance between their professional lives and their private lives.

Although many large firms have begun implementing incentives for lawyers with families such as alternative work weeks and easy access to child care, there is still a pressure to keep up with long billable hours. Why hire two lawyers for the same job when one can just work longer to finish it all right? Wrong. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day to do it all.

Bentsi-Enchill outlines some tips to help professionals prioritize and balance their work with their personal lives:

1. First, you must determine what is important to you. Think about what your priorities are. There is no point in wasting precious time on something that does not make you happy. It is much easier to find a work-life balance when you set out your goals and priorities.

2. Identify what is standing in your way to achieving your goal. She calls these “balance blockers”. Once you identify what is holding you back, you can begin to cut out what isn’t important, and spend more time on what is.

3. Set personal time for yourself every week. This is non-negotiable and it is important not to reschedule. This is you time. Go for a hike, drink copious amounts of wine, whatever you need to do to calm your mind.

4. Consider hiring a life coach, or therapist. Everyone needs someone to talk to. Therapy is very effective, just try it.

5. Last but not least, have a vision. Sit down with a pen and write down what is important to you, and what you want to achieve out of your life. Now get to it!

Be patient with yourself. This magical “work-life” balance that you hear of will not appear over night.

If you are in the legal profession or will be soon, consider researching a program that will help you multi task. There are programs out there that can shave lots of time off your work week. Just watch this video and see what you could do with extra “you’ time!


About the Author

Paralegal Student
Communications Students.