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Best practices in solo law: Work-life balance

Productivity and Work-life Balance Go Hand-in-hand

One of the main reasons solo lawyers cite for wanting to launch their own firms is achieving a greater sense of work-life balance. After long hours – and too many weekends – working at a big law firm to meet billable-hour quotas, the draw of setting one’s own schedule can be strong. In fact, Careerbliss.com listed law firm associate as the No. 1 unhappiest job in 2013 in part due to long hours and lack of work-life balance.

So, let’s assume you launched (or plan to launch) your solo practice in part because you want control over your time – and because you also want a life outside of your work. As an entrepreneur, that means learning to set some personal boundaries around your work that allow for more balance.

work-life balance for lawyers

Vacation recharges your brain and leads to better productivity.

As a new business owner, it can be tempting to put in extra hours in the name of building your business, but consider:

  • Fewer hours equals better productivity
    Research has shown that productivity actually declines as the number of hours worked increases. “People who put in a solid 40 hours a week get more done than those who regularly work 60 or more hours,” reported Inc. magazine.
  • Sleep is good for business
    A Harvard study estimated a $63.2 billion loss in productivity each year due to employees’ lack of sleep. When tired, you might be at work, but you are operating below par. So, set aside that brief until tomorrow and get a full night’s rest.
  • Vacation really does recharge you
    Fast Company reports that “Small business owners are especially bad at taking time away. According to the 2013 Sage Reinvention of Small Business Study, 43 percent of small business owners are taking less vacation time than five years ago.” However, an Intuit study also showed that 82 percent of small business owners reported improved job performance following a vacation. Pack your bags – your business will thank you for it.
  • Relaxation is good for your brain
    Stanford researcher Emma Seppala reported to Fast Company, “…brain imaging research shows that relaxation is not only restorative but actually leads [to] enhanced memory and facilitated intellectual understanding.” Relaxing can free your mind to explore new ideas and problem-solve.
  • It works for other entrepreneurs
    Need more inspiration for seeking work-life balance as you build your law practice? Check out what these Lifehack entrepreneurs have to say on the subject.

We know the solo lawyers who work in LawBank offices or our co-working space are well-rounded people with interesting work and personal lives. We’d love to hear from you: What does work-life balance mean to you? What are your non-work priorities that help make you “you”? E-mail us at info@law-bank.com.

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