Tanya and Neha

Partnering Up For Perspective: Top Tips to Tackle Work-Life Balance Issues

For this month’s Partnering Up for Perspective, we decided to get together, reflect, and identify top strategies some of the most successful female attorneys in the San Francisco Bay Area have used to create balance. 

For all the female attorneys and working professionals out there, here are some top tips to tackle work-life balance issues:

1. Make some “Me” time. Discipline is key in maintaining a work-life balance.  When you tell yourself you will not check your Blackberry, answer work calls, research cases, etc., stay true to your word. Sometimes, you just have to draw the line. It’s hard to say “no,” but it’s important to learn to do so. 

2. Plan! Women who make a schedule, "to-do" list, or prioritize ahead of time are more productive and get things done. As a result of this straightforward method of organization, women attorneys find that, aside from working more efficiently, they have more time to pursue personal hobbies, spend time with their families, work out, etc.  Once you find the best way to plan your activities and work, make it a habit.

3.  It gets better in time. Experience plays a huge role in maintaining a work-life balance.  Young associates often have no choice but to put in long hours and work hard, and rarely do enjoy the luxuries that experience brings.  The experience that you will receive in time will allow you to produce better quality work over shorter periods of time. As you gain the ability to delegate duties to others, you will be able to focus a little more on a life outside of the office.

4. Life goes on. Attorneys will have bad days in court, or exchanges of harsh-words with opposing counsel, and sometimes even co-workers. Rather than dwelling on the past, it’s important for you to let go of the past, focus on the present, and prepare for the future.  The simple act of “letting things go” frees up one’s mind to focus on more important things, such as finding balance.

 As you can tell, this list is neither extensive nor confusing. The challenge therefore lies not in understanding these tips, but actually putting them to practice.  Life often gets “too busy” for any of us to focus on ourselves.  What we need to focus on is the fact that there is not much of a life if we don’t live it for ourselves. 

What works for you? Do you have any tried and true methods of obtaining balance in your own life?

Until next month’s column and some new perspective on work-life balance issues,

Tanya Falleiro and Neha Sareen

 

 

2 Comments

Peg

My #1 balance tips is: Manage Expectations.  A lot of the feeling of “imbalance” is closely related to the feelings of “guilt” or “stress”.  It makes you feel guilty and stressed out if you can’t be somewhere that you promissed you would be or somewhere, regardless of what you promissed, that is where somebody is expecting you to be.
Therefore, don’t over commit yourself, either at work or at home.  Don’t promise to make it to every little league game (or any of them if it just isn’t possible).  Don’t promise to be the chaperone for the field trip if there is a chance that work will interfere.  Don’t promise to lead a transaction if it is certain to interfere with some important personal event.  Exceeding people’s expectations feels good.  Failing to meet them feels terrible.  Sometimes work and non-work things are going to collide and you can’t avoid it in all cases in a client-service oriented profession.  However, I urge you to take a look at what you can control and reign in the super-woman over- promissing habits.   Doing this changed my perspective on balance immensely and has freed my from much of the guilt I used to feel.

Reg-o-rama

After 1L year, I started telling incoming 1Ls basically a combination of your numbers 1 and 2: if there is something that you love, that you know you shouldn’t try to live with out (for me: judo, for a friend I know, playing guitar) that will really make you a happier, stress-free-er person, put it in your schedule!
<em></em>Unless you treat it as being as important as going to class (or, after school, work/meetings), it will get pushed to the side and you will suffer—and so will your grades/psyche/performance.

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