To boost productivity, you don’t need to log more hours in your law business
As you work to build your independent law practice, you might feel tempted to log extra hours in the name of business development. Or you might simply fear missing out on any opportunities. As counterintuitive as it might seem, however, it’s best to take a breather in order to boost productivity. Why?
Your mood impacts your productivity (and your business)
According to research, people who feel more positive about life also produce better results at work:
“The University of North Carolina’s Barbara Fredrickson has shown that positive emotions broaden minds, build interest, and energize, while negative emotions restrict thinking, and discourage receptivity to new things and initiative. It stands to reason, then, that employees with a more positive outlook, more satisfied with their work, would tend to be more productive.”
In fact, positive people tend to post better sales and report better relationships with coworkers. In addition, perceived work-life balance impacts how positive someone feels at work:
“People who feel they have good work-life balance work 21 percent harder than those who don’t…”
Think about that for a minute. Would you rather log 21 percent more hours, or would you rather achieve 21 percent more during your regular working hours?
More time at work does not necessarily mean more work completed. On the contrary, it can leave you exhausted and overwhelmed, which can lead to a negative cycle. If you feel run down, angry or sad all the time, your work and your business will suffer.
Vacations fuel business
According to Psychology Today, more than 50 percent of Americans do not use all of their vacation days. As a small business owner, you might not even allot vacation days for yourself, but you should.
“…while Americans may pride themselves on their hard work and dedication, research suggests that we will actually work harder, perform better, and have greater health, stamina, and enthusiasm for our work if we take time off.”
Studies cited by the publication show that vacations and time off lead to:
- Better immune function
- Increased resiliency in the face of stress
- Higher productivity
- More engagement at work
- More creativity and innovation
More food for thought. Think about the last time you felt stuck in your practice or business. Did you grind away at your computer, hoping for a breakthrough, to no avail? Did an answer finally come to you later, in the shower or while on a walk around the neighborhood?
Your brain needs those breaks to function well, and taking time off can help you tap into new ideas and new approaches to old problems.
Finally, think about why you work
Ok, so we’re lawyers. We love the intricacies of the law and our chosen practice areas. Some of us feel most alive when at work, true, but what about your other drivers?
While you work to make money (and/or contribute to your community in a meaningful way), think about what motivates you to earn new clients and build your business:
- Providing for your family
- Desire for a nice lifestyle
- The ability to travel or pursue hobbies
Now, consider honestly if you have the time and energy to enjoy those other aspects of your life. If you have reasons to work beyond the work itself, be sure to make time to enjoy them. Don’t wait for someday. You can clock out at the end of each day to enjoy your life away from work.
To learn more about achieving greater work-life balance as an independent lawyer, contact us. We offer flexible work spaces for lawyers in Denver who want more out of life than billable hours. Now in three central locations.