By Anna Johansson • November 14, 2017•Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life
The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy and happiness – a time to cherish your family and look to the future with hope. Unfortunately for lawyers, it can also be a season of great tension. How you manage this tension and handle conflicting obligations is important.
4 Tips for Navigating the Holiday Season
As a lawyer and a mother, you have a lot on your plate. Not only do you have to deal with work and all of the obligations that pop up in November and December, but there may also be the expectation that you’ll head-up your family’s social calendar. Whether right or wrong, this is something you have to deal with. The following tips may help you through:
1. Curb Your Expectations
Your expectations are your worst enemy. This isn’t to say you need to take a pessimistic outlook, but be realistic with what you believe will happen. Expectations are particularly problematic if you’re divorced with kids.
“Many disagreements start because of parents’ expectations of what will happen,” attorney Michael Lynch says. “You expect that children will spend Christmas with you. The other parent may expect the same. Parents need to communicate with each other and plan for these times before they arrive. By planning ahead of time, Christmas has a chance to be happier and far less stressful for everyone involved.”
2. Make Holiday Parties Worth Your Time
As a lawyer, you probably get invited to lots of holiday parties. Not only are there the ones at your firm, but there are also client parties and industry events. Before you know it, the next six weeks are booked.
If you’re going to attend a business-related holiday party, make it worth your time. This means maximizing each party as a networking opportunity and never letting your guard down.
3. Invest in Holiday Marketing
The holiday season is the perfect time to invest in a little marketing and advertising – and it comes at the perfect time. Many firms find that they have extra money in the budget at the end of the year and some well-timed marketing or client outreach can reduce the tax bill come April.
As lawyer coach Daniel Roberts mentions, “Everyone likes to be remembered. Mailing holiday cards to your past and present legal clients is a wise investment of the time and money you have left in your marketing budget.”
If you have money left over after mailing out holiday cards, consider investing in online content or paid advertising to generate leads for the new year.
4. Make Plenty of Time for Family
Your career is incredibly important, but remember that the holiday season is about family. If you’re so focused on your job that you neglect to spend time with your loved ones, you’re going to end up miserable.
Since your schedule is so busy, you need to strategically carve out family time. This means actually writing it into your calendar like you would a meeting with a client or a corporate holiday event. This might seem clinical or unnecessary, but it will greatly reduce your chances of backing out and disappointing your friends and family. It will also force you to relax, which may go against your fast-paced nature.
Don’t Just Survive the Holiday Season
The holiday season is a time for happiness, reflection, and thanksgiving. If you find yourself just trying to survive every year, you’re doing yourself, your career, and your family a disservice. The holiday season presents a number of unique challenges – there’s no doubt about that – but make it a point to address the tension head-on and make the most of the opportunities you have.