Instead of shooting for work-life balance, solo attorney, Joleena Louis, discusses how a shift towards work-life integration has created more personal time.
The ever increasing demands on my time have made me give up on the dream of a work-life balance and shift towards work-life integration.
Previously, I focused on creating boundaries (a.k.a balance) between work and personal time, but that did not always work so well.
Since my recent divorce, I have in many ways let work take over my life and personal time. Instead of two separate forces pulling me in separate directions, I am now focusing on work-life integration, meaning reconciling both areas of my life, which seems like a more realistic approach for my career as a solo.
Here are a few changes I have made to integrate my work life and personal life.
1. Complete tasks based on peak productivity times.
I find it easier to focus on writing earlier in the day, and do my best planning after 9pm.
I designate any drafting of documents such as motions, legal writing, and blog posts before 7am, and leave business planning to later in the day.
This approach leaves me time to do personal errands like grocery shopping and laundry in the middle of the day.
2. Batch process like items.
I return phone calls, texts and emails (both business and personal) at set times every day so that I am not doing it all day.
I plan to start scheduling meetings and consultations on the same one or two days a week to make my week flow better, and prevent the mental interruption of switching from meeting mode and then back to writing.
3. Find ways to mix personal and business tasks.
Most of my friends are lawyers, so I try to attend CLE’s and networking events with them.
Coordinating my social life with work allows me to spend time with my friends and it allows me to enjoy the event a little more.
In some ways, it is like having a networking team, because not only do I reach out to people, my friends introduce me to the people they meet at the event as well.
Another thing I do is call relatives during my down time between cases. I might take a few minutes to call my grandparents before my case gets called in court since they are easier to reach during the day.
4. Keep your business mobile.
By keeping a paperless office, I can do work from almost anywhere. This allows me the flexibility to get work done while still partaking in activities I enjoy.
I recently had an opportunity to go on a last minute getaway despite having two motions to write. I worked on the motions during the drive and when my companion was occupied. I got my work done and still fully enjoyed the trip.
As a solo I realize I can’t keep work and personal life completely separate.
I have to be accessible outside of the 9-5 time frame and I certainly have to be able to do work outside of that time frame to complete all of my lawyer and business owner tasks.
One of the greatest benefits of being a solo is control of our schedule, and that control along with integrating work and personal life makes it easier to create a balance based on your individual life.
Comment below and tell us how you productively integrate your work and personal life!
Integrating work with personal life may be the best route for a solo attorney to keep focus.
Learn more tips from our eBook “Organize For Success.”
Joleena Louis is a matrimonial and family law attorney at Joleena Louis Law, a ﬁrm she founded after leaving a boutique matrimonial ﬁrm in Brooklyn. Joleena is a client in Law Firm Suites’ start-up program in Downtown, New York. Her weekly blog series Things I Wish I Knew… explores her thought process and experiences in her transition from small law ﬁrm employee to successful solo practice entrepreneur.