By Anna Johansson • November 25, 2017•Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life
As a lawyer who is focused on productivity and maximizing billable hours, it can feel like you don’t have any time to relax. But you have to ask yourself, “Am I making relaxation a priority?”
Overworking Isn’t Healthy
In our American brains, we operate under this assumption that more work leads to more productivity, which fosters greater happiness and satisfaction. Ironically, most of us discover that more work is generally a precursor for more stress and anxiety – as well as poorer health.
Just as an engine can get overheated from running too long, our bodies and minds can become compromised in the pursuit of excessive work.
“It's one thing to pull a long day every once in a while to finish a project or deal with a crisis, but it's another to routinely stay late at the office or work into the night,” entrepreneur Lindsay Kolowich says. “That's chronic overwork – and it can have extremely negative impacts on your health, happiness, and overall quality of life.”
Kolowich points to a number of studies that show a negative correlation between chronic working and sleep, habits, heart health, drinking, type-2 diabetes, mistakes, and perspective.
Finding Time to Relax
As a lawyer, overworking is somewhat in your DNA. You’ve been raised, educated, and trained to maximize productivity in the form of billable hours. If you don’t bill enough hours in a given day, week, or quarter, then it supposedly sends a signal to your firm that you aren’t dedicated.
While the correlation between billable hours and productivity is nonsense, that’s the way it’s viewed. So when you think about what’s best for your career and what’s best for your health, the solution involves finding time to relax without lowering your billable hours in a significant manner.
Here are some practical ways you can do this:
1. Use a Meal Delivery System
Did you know that those who work in excess of 40 hours per week increase their chances of being overweight? Every 10 extra hours worked is associated with a weight gain of 2.5 pounds. While there are a number of possible reasons for this connection, part of it has to do with the fact that busy professionals don’t have time to cook their own healthy meals.
In your case, the best solution may be to use a meal delivery program, which delivers fresh ingredients to your doorstep and prevents the need to shop, sort through recipes, and portion out meals.
2. Stop Overbooking Weekends
Treat your weekends like they’re holy. This means stop trying to overbook every single minute with activities, outings, and time with friends. It’s okay to have a lazy Saturday where you sleep in. In fact, it’s encouraged!
3. Totally Unplug at Night
Your day at the office is fast-paced and filled with stress. When you get home, you need to take time to unwind. This means unplugging and turning off all devices. No social media, news, or TV. These few hours of time protected from the outside noise will prove invaluable and catalytic in your life and career.
If you find it difficult to unplug for two or three hours in the evenings, then this tells you something about yourself. It’s an indication that you’re way out of balance and need a serious correction to get back on track.
Think About Your Health
When you think about it, nothing matters so much that you should be willing to compromise your physical and mental well-being. There’s nothing wrong with meeting a quota of billable hours, but do really want to do so at the expense of your health? Fix this issue now, while you’re young, or it’ll become a major problem in your life.