Lawyers

5 Easy Tips For Avoiding Burnout & Staying Productive

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If you don't take time to unwind, you're toast.

If you don’t take time to unwind, you’re toast.

Building a successful solo practice is hard work. In fact, most solo practitioners that I’ve spoken with work around the clock. Normal office hours are probably not an option and vacations are hard, if not impossible, to plan. Nonetheless, while it can be incredibly gratifying to work hard to build your own business, it’s also important to be careful not to burn out. For that reason, taking regular work breaks is necessary for your physical and emotional health. If you want to continue to work at your peak performance levels, you’ll need to plan for the occasional break. Here are five tips to help you avoid burnout.

1. Work Out Regularly

Studies have proven that regular exercise improves cognitive performance, reduces anxiety, and relieves stress. Personally, I like to plan my workouts during the afternoon. I find that my concentration and productivity often take a serious dip between 3:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Even a brief workout during that period helps revive my mental energy and focus so that I can be more efficient when I return.

2. Go For Walks

Sometimes a little fresh air really does wonders. On days where I can’t justify spending a lot of time away from work, I nonetheless make time for a short walk. Even a short five minute walk in the sun—to a nearby cafe, for example—clears my head and helps me stay centered.

3. Eat Well

I love a cheeseburger and fries as much as the next guy, but I’ve discovered that greasy, fatty foods don’t serve me well when I need to be productive. Instead of feeling rejuvenated, some foods make me feel lethargic and dull. Meanwhile, healthier foods tend to provide a burst of energy to help me tackle difficult projects. Eat well, feel well.

4. Take Time Off

Vacations aren’t just fun—I believe they are necessary. Have you ever had a difficult problem that you couldn’t solve? You know, where the more you try to get to figure it out, the more you feel like your just spinning your wheels? Sometimes when I step away from those tough problems I find that the answer just comes to me naturally. Distance provides perspective.

5. Make Time For Hobbies

Hobbies aren’t just for people will an abundance of free time. In fact, it may be even more important for busy people to have hobbies that they enjoy. Many experts believe that hobbies enhance our creativity and help us focus. They help reduce anxiety, anger, and depression. And, unsurprisingly, they help decrease our stress levels.

While it’s good to work hard and be dedicated to the success of your business, it’s just as important to take care of yourself and prevent burnout. Time to yourself isn’t a luxury: it improves your overall efficiency and productivity.

We’d love to hear your tips for avoiding burnout in the comments section.

About Matthew Hickey

Matthew is an entertainment attorney, blogger and music enthusiast. Having previously worked as an attorney in law firms both large and small, and now as a practicing solo attorney, Matthew believes that there has never been a better time to start a solo practice or small firm. By utilizing social media and new technology, small firms and solo attorneys can surpass their large firm counterparts in terms of marketing and providing clients with efficient, reliable legal services at affordable rates. When he isn’t wearing his “lawyer hat” he is humble-bragging about his extensive vinyl collection over at the food and music website Turntable Kitchen.
Posted in: Lawyers
COMMENTS
  1. Joe Carson says:
    June 14, 2013 at 7:56 am

    It’s hard to take time off as a lawyer, or most believe it is, but just taking time to do what you love (hobbies) is a great way to ease the mind and settle yourself before you go back for more clients and more cases.

  2. Thiago says:
    October 24, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Basically, live a real life. I’ve seen people struggle with it, too. I think that’s part of the reason behind the success of lawyers in Keswick Ontario. They have balance.

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