Use these tips to help you keep up and easily attain success in a fast-paced work environment: you’ll find more meaning and purpose in your work while avoiding burnout.
By Mark M. Childress, Family Lawyer
If you’re a lawyer, you’ve most likely experienced working at a firm with a fast-paced environment. Though this kind of environment can support a level of assertiveness and creativity, it can also cause many people to feel overwhelmed and burnt out. In 2019 the World Health Organization (WHO) classified workplace burnout as an occupational phenomenon. As a result, they released their own evidence-based guidelines for mental-wellbeing in the workplace in 2022. Earlier this year, Bloomberg Law also conducted its own study on attorney burnout and well-being. After interviewing 614 in-house and legal firm attorneys, results revealed that survey respondents struggled with an overall decline in well-being and experienced burnout in their jobs 52% of the time. With data revealing a rapid decrease in attorney welfare, knowing how to navigate a fast-paced work environment will boost your mental well-being and help you excel at your duties.
Here are 5 Ways for Family Lawyers to Thrive in a Fast-Paced Work Environment
1. Take Breaks
This may sound simple, but it’s effective. When you work in a place that continually has something going on, it can be easy to get lost in your tasks and neglect yourself. If your mind and body are running on empty, it will eventually affect the quality of your work. Whether you take a break whenever you’ve completed so many responsibilities on your to-do list or schedule an hour-long lunch break, having a break system in place allows you to hit the pause button and decompress.
Being able to effectively communicate with your legal practice manager and colleagues is crucial when you’re juggling multiple cases and responsibilities. If you feel you have an overwhelming workload, communicate and see if you can hand off some projects to other colleagues or extend certain deadlines. Likewise, listening to your colleagues’ needs is just as important. By taking the time to listen and fully understand what is being shared, you can learn more information, create a collaborative environment, and help those around you feel more valued.
3. Know Your Boundaries
Having a team player mentality is important when you’re working at a firm with a high number of clients. However, if you overextend yourself, you run the risk of becoming more of a hindrance than a helpful contributor. That’s why it’s important to know your limits and set appropriate boundaries. The following tips can help you learn how to recognize and set healthy boundaries at work…
- Identify your priorities and focus on the most important ones first
- Learn to say no when you’re offered extra work
- Establish a hard deadline for when you end work each day
- Delegate any work that is outside of your scope of responsibilities
- Take time off when you need it and when it’s offered
4. Stay Organized
Staying organized is key when you’re working for a fast-paced firm. Once you establish an organizational system that works for you, it will be easier for you to stay on task and avoid missing any important deadlines. Whether you create a filing system, use color-coded sticky notes, implement a digital planner, or sign up for a project management tool, organizing your assignments and schedule will help you meet the demands of the various clients and cases you are handling.
5. Set Goals
Setting personal goals is a great way to stay motivated and achieve success both in and out of the workplace. As you strive to set timelines and be proactive with the goals you set, you can develop new skills, increase your motivation, simplify large projects, and advance your career by showing your firm’s partners that you are committed to helping your team succeed. In order to achieve the goals you set at work, it’s best to find strategies that work for you. Here are some easy ways to set and achieve your own work goals.
- Create personal goals that align with your company’s objectives
- Write out your goals and track the progress of each one over time
- Make an action plan for accomplishing each goal
- Use the SMART goals methodology-SMART is an acronym used to help guide the goal-setting process and stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound
- Frequently revisit and reevaluate your goals
- Find people who will hold you accountable and encourage you to complete your goals
- Celebrate each goal you complete
Working in a fast-paced environment can be quite a thrilling experience when it’s managed properly. As you make time to find a working style that allows you to keep up and easily attain success, workplace burnout will no longer be the standard. Instead, you will find more meaning and purpose in your work and become more proficient in your overall job performance.
Mark M. Childress is the Founding Attorney of the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress in the Dallas-Forth Worth area. His family law practice includes military divorce, and he devotes 100% of his practice to litigation. Mark has been listed as a “Rising Star” by Thomson Reuters, Super Lawyers, from 2011 to present. www.markchildresslaw.com
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