There’s not a job out there that doesn’t involve stress to one degree or another. Whether it’s the pressure of hitting a goal or the anxiety of having to work under a difficult boss, stress seems to be part of the job no matter where you go.
But let’s face it, there is a significant difference between the stress someone flipping burgers is experiencing and the burden a trial attorney faces each day in court. Most attorneys recognize that this pressure comes with the territory and are willing to deal with it. Some even pride themselves on their ability to cope with large amounts of stress on a regular basis.
Here’s the problem – more and more attorneys are facing burnout these days than ever and even those who believe they’re able to handle high amounts of stress really don’t know what their breaking point is. In fact, attorneys who have reached that point in their careers where they simply can’t deal with the stress anymore are often surprised to find themselves there. They simply didn’t realize how bad things were. They’re suddenly faced with major health issues or a personal life crisis that sends them crashing down.
Most attorneys love what they do and want to continue to do it for as long as they can. For them, it’s all about managing the stress and not necessarily eliminating it.
Here are 5 ideas on what you can do to help manage stress so you avoid burning out:
Reports continue to surface showing that attorneys tend to get less sleep on average than most professions. Some attorneys wear this lack of sleep as a badge of honor only to experience health problems later in life.
Try adding just one-half hour of sleep to your routine each day. There’s no end to the data that proves how important sleep is to our productivity, our alertness and our ability to deal with stress.
- Activities Outside of Work
We hear that phrase “Don’t take your work home with you” all of the time. The problem is, if you don’t have something else to focus on at the end of your work day, it’s really tough to not let your mind slip right back into your work.
Whether it’s coaching your kids sports team, joining a bowling league or learning an instrument, develop another passion in life that allows your mind to escape the stress of work.
- Identify Stressful Clients
Young attorneys often find themselves in the position where they’re willing to take on any client no matter what the circumstances just to have the work. Experienced attorneys know how just one high-maintenance client can ruin their week. Some clients just aren’t worth it.
Start making a list of signs to watch out for so you can avoid these high-stress clients. If you start to pick up on these signs early on in your interaction with a potential client, you may be able to avoid them altogether.
- Get Some Exercise
This may seem cliché, but it’s one of those reminders we can never hear enough. Not only does regular exercise keep you healthy and more alert, it also is known to relieve stress.
If joining a gym is not in the cards, you might try setting 2 or 3 evenings a week aside to go to the park with your kids. Keeping up with them at the park can be a pretty good workout.
Are you dealing with tasks in the office that could be handled by your staff? Could hiring a project attorney for a few hours a week make a difference? Many attorneys miss the boat when it comes to spreading their work out to those who work for them.
Take some time to reassess the duties and tasks you do everyday to see if they can be delegated to someone else. Even small tasks can add up quickly when it comes to additional stress.
Be sure to check out the list of benefits that the American Academy of Trial Attorneys has to offer for members. From management software to legal research, our benefits are there to help you be successful.