By Hermione Shou
Like many of us, you are tired, but you keep pushing through life. As a legal professional or a student with long work hours, you may already be amongst the 1 in 4 Canadian workers who find their lives very stressful due to work and family obligations.
Work-life balance is a simple concept. However, it can be so hard to execute that instead of dancing your own routine, we turn into puppets, controlled by the demands of life. It is time for you to break out of this cycle and to control your own show… But what does it take? What can your employer and you do to help you achieve work-life balance and avoid burnout?
This issue is not new in the legal world. In the last decade, the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) has developed the Guide to Developing a Policy Regarding Flexible Work Arrangements to encourage work-life balance in the legal profession.
The LSUC has also created the Justicia Project with 57 Ontario law firms to give female lawyers career advancement support, since women may face career challenges if they give birth and go on maternity leave. Recently, men are also seeking flexible work hours, as found in a study about Ontario lawyers by Queen’s University professor Fiona Kay, and law firms are beginning to accommodate their requests as well.
Despite the fact that firms are implementing solutions for employees, such as alternative work weeks and child-care facilities, it is mainly up to you as an employee to make the right decisions to ensure work-life balance, as a Canadian Lawyer Magazine article suggests.
There are numerous strategies that allow you to dance around your schedule and achieve work-life balance as a legal professional. However, my favourite are the 6 tips that Julie Stauffer recommends in Successfully Juggling Work and Family: Tips for Lawyers. Here is a quick summary of it:
6 daily tips to work-life balance as a legal professional
- Stay organized by creating and sharing your schedule, as well as prioritizing tasks.
- Create a second plan for unpredictable work needs.
- Take advantage of technology to complete work outside of your workplace.
- Develop supportive relationships with your partner, family, and neighbours so that you can count on their help when you have an emergency.
- Allocate “me-time” for yourself to do all of your favourite things with your loved ones.
- Stay realistic with your expectations of what you can accomplish to avoid burning out.
Life can get busy—we all know that. But it is your choice to either continue being a puppet that is controlled by the demands of life or to be a brightly shining star on your own stage. So, go ahead! This time around, don’t burn out—break out and dance! This is your show on your stage.
To get you excited for balancing your work and personal life, I would like to share this neat video with all of you: