Technology often gets a bad rap when it comes to work-life balance. Modern workers are always ‘switched on’ and working around the clock leading to chronic stress, anxiety and burn out. Checking emails and taking work-related calls on annual leave, or outside of normal business hours, is often the norm for many professionals, especially those working in high-pressure jobs with high expectations, such as lawyers.
However, there is also a very positive effect that embracing modern technology can have on improving work-life balance, with the notion that, “…we can embrace the technology available to us to reduce our time that we are ‘connected’, while still feeling comfortable that we are up to date with what’s going on at work.”
This approach will help you to free up your time so that you can relax, recharge, re-connect with friends and family, and enjoy holidays and hobbies. It will also help you to increase efficiency, save time (and money) and provide a better service to your clients.
Here are a few simple tips that I hope will help.
Find a mindful activity to do that allows you to switch off from work during your daily commute. You can access an endless range of music via services such as Spotify or just listen to the radio. You could also listen to non-work-related podcasts relevant to your hobbies and interests.
Meditation has been shown to reduce stress levels. There are many great apps you can download and access when you’re on the go. Some are free to begin with, so you can get a feel for the app and decide whether it suits you. For example, Head Space.
You can also enjoy free mediation anytime with Take a Break! Meditations for Stress Relief. This app is available for both iPhone and Android and provides guided meditation for stress relief – no prior experience necessary.
The availability of modern technology also makes working on the go easier. If you’re keen to get into your day and feel like working, you can use your commute time to read and respond to emails and keep up to date with your professional networks such as LinkedIn, Law Society Bulletin, or the Lawyers Weekly newsletter. Checking LinkedIn or reading the latest industry news is a great way to ease into your workday. It also means that any travel delays will cause less disruption to your workload. All you need is a smartphone, tablet, or laptop with internet connection. If you prefer to travel light, then having access to your client and matter related information through a mobile app such as LEAP Mobile App will provide you with the ability to work wherever and whenever you need to. The same applies if you ever find yourself caught up with flight delays or waiting around at court.
Get out of the office and away from your desk for lunch. Recharging can add to your productivity and a lunch time walk is the perfect way to increase your daily activity level. You can use your smartphone for motivation and to keep you on track. Most smartphones provide step counters and enable you to set goals. Alternatively, many busy professionals are using wearable fitness trackers to ensure they achieve their fitness and wellbeing goals. Click here to find the best fitness tracker for you.
Walking can increase creativity. Keep a pair of sneakers at your desk and always have your headphones at hand. You can listen to industry relevant podcasts or webinars at the same time as increasing your daily activity levels and getting some fresh air. Use your smartphone to capture new ideas and dictate notes that come to you as you are walking.
Take a well-deserved break from work. Provide a handover plan to your colleagues so you can feel comfortable leaving your work commitments. Perhaps set up an online booking system via your website with a service such as LawTap so that both new and existing clients can book appointments with your colleague, or with you on your return, while you’re away.
Looking after yourself will help you to realise your full potential and provide your clients with the best possible service.
Ultimately, it’s important that you make your own personal choices as to your health and well-being. We’re all different, and the ideal work-life balance for you might not be the same as for your colleague, partner or friend. Above all, it’s important that your body and mind are healthy as this will allow you to get more work done in less time, and still have enough energy to enjoy the things that matter to you most.
References and further reading:
The Law Society of New South Wales Journal has published many articles on stress and wellbeing issues. To access these (you will be prompted to log in as a member or subscriber), conduct an Advanced Search on the Journal Archive.
About the author: Lynette Quartararo
I joined LEAP over two years ago as a Product Consultant. I am passionate about helping small law firms utilise technology to increase efficiency and improve work-life balance. Having operated my own small business in the past, I understand the challenges faced by small business owners and the importance of overall well-being.