By Paula Davis-Laack • September 01, 2010•Balancing Private and Professional Life
I had the opportunity to talk to some second and third year law students this past weekend. Even though they had only completed one week back at school, I could tell they were gearing up for another year full of too much work and too little sleep. You don’t have to be a busy law student to feel drained and disconnected. The following 5 questions will help you assess what changes you can make to get back more time in your day.
Do I Need a System? Systems are specific and consistent processes you follow to give structure to certain tasks. For example, I helped coach a client to develop a system for cleaning her desk because the clutter was causing her to put off tackling certain work assignments. Systems help you to automate activities so that you can focus your time and energy on more important tasks. Systems can be whatever you want them to be, but they need to be reviewed regularly and be measurable.
Am I Addicted to Adrenaline? Do you work best under pressure and/or find that you leave important tasks to the last minute? Sometimes last minute projects are unavoidable, but if you consistently find yourself in rush mode, it might be time for you to make an honest assessment about why that is the case. Some adrenaline is good, but too much can lead to unwanted physical health issues.
Is Fear or Guilt Causing My Busyness? When I was a young attorney, I sometimes declined invitations to networking events citing my busy schedule as the reason. While that was often the case, there were times when I wasn’t feeling as confident about my networking skills, so I hid behind my schedule. Most people don’t consciously associate fear or guilt with being busy, but how many times do you schedule appointments because you think you should or get worried because you aren’t keeping up with what other busy professionals are doing?
Are My Activities Purposeful? Having a busy life is wonderful, but busyness needs to be intentional and purposeful in order to be productive. Intention and purpose come from getting clear about your work and life vision. What do you want to accomplish at work, both short term and long term? Will attending those three new meetings advance that vision? What type of family life do you want to create? Does signing your son or daughter up for another activity fit into that vision?
Do I Need Help? We often use our busyness as a badge of honor and take pride in saying we can juggle more than the next person. Review each of your to-do items to see whether you can delegate any of them or hire someone to help.