(410) 685-3993 | (410) 685-7878 | (800) 492-1964
Director, ext 3040
Carol P. Waldhauser
Assistant Director, ext 3041
THE LAP ZONE:
"Work vs. Life: Give Me Just a Little More Time!"
By Carol P. Waldhauser
Oh dear! Oh dear! I
shall be late for a very important date!
- The White Rabbit,
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
For many of us in the legal profession, work often ranks as the most
important aspect of our lives, our personal lives coming in a close
second. It just seems that there is not enough time for both a
professional and personal life. Ironically, our daily routines take on the
markings of a legal case: Work Life vs. Personal Life. Some of us
recant – “Give me just a little more time, then I’ll achieve the balance I
need” – while others resemble the White Rabbit rushing about in Lewis
Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
It is abundantly clear that
the legal profession demands as much time as possible; indeed, that
imbalance is inherent with the practice of law. Hence, we understand “the
problem” – but how do we solve it? How do we achieve a balanced life?
Personal management is the
ability to prioritize, schedule, and execute responsibilities to personal
satisfaction. It is a management skill taught to individuals to help them
gain a sense of control over both their professional and personal lives.
Personal management is a reorganization process where you manipulate
factors and elements (not people) in your environment to your best
advantage in order to travel the path of life balance.
Some steps to initiate
personal management techniques include, but are not limited to, time
strategies and time tactics. Time strategies deal with the areas in which
you spend your life. Like any strategy, it is a broader plan for how your
life will unfold, how you divide each day among your dominant interests.
Call it time management.
You must learn to
prioritize, schedule and execute. Prioritization means ranking
responsibilities and tasks in the order of importance. Before this can be
done, however a list of all current responsibilities must be written down.
Scheduling is time allocation for prioritized responsibilities or
the skill of matching specific task or responsibility with a designated
time period in which to accomplish it. Execution of
responsibilities is a systematic progression of steps taken toward the
satisfactory completion of each priority or task.
Remember, when we cannot or
do not leave work at work it cheats both our families and ourselves out of
precious little down time or time that we get together.
The following is a list of
possible solutions to consider.
Delete a few
non-essential tasks from your to-do list.
Leave work on time
Acknowledge your day’s
accomplishments when you leave work.
Plan your night on the
drive home. Also, do something fun; pick up a gift for your family – or
even your dog – before going home.
Get excited about your
Remember, you deserve to
enjoy the time you spend at home, and your family deserves to enjoy you
(even if that family is your dog or cat).
The following is a list of
other simple things that you can do to improve your life.
Find a nice place to
pound the pavement and do it 20 minutes a day, three times a week. Not
only will you reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes,
but you’ll feel incredibly smug as well.
How many nights a week do
you watch TV? (Be honest.) Try watching one hour less per night (or for
one night less per week) than you do now. If nothing else, you’ll start
working on the rest of your good resolutions.
Clean the top of the
refrigerator and organize the stuff that’s piled over by the phone.
Getting rid of even that little bit of chaos can help the rest of your
life go better.
Eat dinner together with
your family (or with a friend).
Plan a vacation.
Get away for the weekend
with your family or a friend.
Volunteer to help out
with your children’s sporting activities or in the community.
Cut back on work-related
Work on projects or
Of course, there is no such
thing as perfect balance. There will be days when balance means working
longer hours, spending time with family and friends, exercising or
relaxing, working on a community project, handling finances…or when
balance means growing spiritually. You can, however, enjoy a better
balance between work and the rest of your life by monitoring your number
of dominant interests and the amount of activity within each one.
Experts agree that a day
filled to the brim with career and other responsibilities, leaving no time
for oneself, results in burnout and possibly disease and illness. Good
personal management requires you to balance your life between work and
leisure. Remember that balance is essential for optimal well-being,
stamina and serenity.
For more information
regarding the above or other issues that negatively affect your quality of
life, contact the MSBA Lawyer Assistance Program at
firstname.lastname@example.org, or call
Carol Waldhauser at (410) 685-7878 or (800) 492-1964, ext. 3041. And
remember, we do together what we cannot do alone!