1. Achieving a better Work-Life balance doesn’t just happen. It requires changing your behavior and setting new boundaries. Take a walk at lunchtime - a change of scenery, moving your body and breathing fresh air will give you more energy. Leave work in the evening when you are tired. Working long hours after the dinner hour brings diminishing returns - your productivity will decline with each passing minute. If you must work longer hours, do so only when an urgent project demands it, and not as a rule.
2. If you have an urgent project and must work more than 8 hours in a day, make it a priority to take time for both a lunch break and a dinner break and a stretch or a walk. Remember the old saying about traveling on an airplane and using the air mask if the oxygen gets low? You must put the air mask on yourself first and then assist others who may need help with their mask. If you do not take care of yourself, you will not be able to be your best at work or at home.
3. If you are not taking care of yourself and your needs are at the bottom of your priorities, please do yourself a favor and take stock to figure out why. You may be depressed, or have low self-esteem, or you may place priority on your ability to care for others and as a result, you let your own needs go unmet. There is a reason you do this, and it will benefit you to find out the reason and start changing.
4. Setting new boundaries between work and home will feel uncomfortable at first, until you get used to it. It is like breaking in a new pair of shoes. It is difficult for us to change, but they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This applies to the problem of an imbalance between work and home. You will need to change your behavior in order to get different results. If you say you want more balance, you must follow up with action.
5. Place a priority on your relationships with friends and family, especially those who have known you for a long time. Nourish your relationships with people in your home life, and carve out time to be with them. Go on a “technology fast” and instead of spending time on Facebook or Twitter, connect the old-fashioned way by arranging a date to get together with a friend for face-to-face time during a lunch break or on a weekend.
If you need help taking action on any of these resolutions, please give the D.C. Bar Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) a call at 202-347-3131.
Visit http://www.dcbar.org/for_lawyers/bar_services/counseling/about.cfm for more information on LAP resources available through the D.C. Bar.