Workplace burnout has become such a common issue among professionals that the World Health Organization now classifies it as a syndrome. It generates up to $190 billion per year in healthcare costs, according to Harvard Business School estimates.
Burnout doesn’t show up in just one form, like stress. It can occur as a result of work overload, feeling under-challenged, self-neglect, or even impostor syndrome. Lawyers, in particular, have a higher risk of experiencing burnout than other professionals, which is why, in this article, I’m sharing nine ways you can eliminate–and prevent–burnout.
Doing everything yourself is a recipe for burnout. You do not have to be the only one taking care of your law firm. If you hired a team, it’s because you expect them to share the load, so let them shine by delegating. You free up time, and they get to feel trusted, appreciated, and important. If you’re worried about their work quality, put in the time to properly train them (or have someone help you). Your team will never get good at their jobs if they never get to do them.
2. Get to know your team
Forming a positive relationship with each team member can increase job satisfaction and loyalty. Getting to know their names, birthdays, and hobbies outside of work is a great way to bond with your employees. When they feel like you care, they’re motivated to work harder. Just make sure you maintain appropriate employer/employee boundaries, because BFF land with your team members is a recipe for disaster.
3. Get organized
You have enough on your plate without adding lost files to the mix. Establish a clear, simple, consistent filing system, follow it, and instruct your team to do the same. It may not sound like that big of a deal, but all that time you and your team waste searching for misplaced files and supplies really adds up (including the strain it puts on your mind).
4. Build a supportive professional network
Relationships with other lawyers or small firm leaders gives you a group of peers who get it. Venting to people who understand your struggles releases a tremendous amount of pressure. So does hearing from people going through similar struggles (and perhaps even sharing ideas you can all use to improve).
5. Take time off
Even if it’s only a few days here and there, getting away from work is critical to avoiding burnout. A break from the office helps those batteries recharge and releases stress. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a two-week vacation to Jamaica (although it can be!). Just adding an extra day to a long holiday weekend can make a huge difference.
6. Factor in business development
Keeping your law firm healthy and growing requires dedicated time for business development. Don’t let it fall to the wayside, because when it gets pushed aside, so do your business goals. Whether it’s blocking off Fridays or an hour at the end of each day, make business development a non-negotiable part of your schedule.
7. Plan your day for productivity
Everyone has certain times of day they’re most productive, so plan your workday according to when that time is for you. That way you’ll be able to get more done in less time, with better quality work. For example, if you’re not good with early mornings, then schedule appointments for mid-morning or later. If you are good with early mornings, then schedule work for those times. Being strategic with what works for you is key to avoiding burnout.
8. Learn to say no
If you don’t have the bandwidth for an urgent project, say no, especially if the client isn’t willing to pay for the rush. Be strategic in general about the projects you take on, because even if they pay well, nightmare clients are more trouble than they’re worth. Ditch the neediness and pick projects based on a set of standards instead of from desperation, to people-please, or just because the client is willing to pay.
9. Set aside time for yourself
Self-care, family time, and other activities you enjoy is essential to decompressing, releasing stress, and preventing burnout. There’s always more to do at the office and you’ll probably never be completely caught up, so treat self-care as a necessity rather than a “nice to have.”
Avoiding burnout doesn’t require complex, drastic changes. (If you wait for it to get that bad, your mind and body will force you to take time off, so the time to start preventing burnout is now.) Instead, it’s as simple as small adjustments to the way you work. Make those adjustments, stick with them, and see for yourself how much better you feel.
If you or your team are on the brink of burnout, book a complimentary Clarity Call with me to get out of the vicious cycle. https://go.oncehub.com/claritycallwithMollyMcGrath