Don’t Stress It: Maximizing Your Priceless Unbilled Time
There’s no denying that a career in law is accompanied by an array of both rewards and challenges. Among these challenges is the time-consuming nature of a legal profession. In fact, the ABA Journal recently reported that one dedicated attorney, in particular, billed approximately 3,600 hours in 2017 alone. Though an extreme situation, this is an exaggerated example of a tribulation faced by attorneys everywhere: what can dedicated legal professionals do in order to manage their time so that it’s not entirely swallowed up by professional obligations?
The Harsh Reality
Whether single or heads of families, numerous attorneys struggle to cultivate free time outside of work. This challenging balance may be taking a toll on legal professionals’ mental health: studies reveal that between 20 and 40 percent of practicing attorneys suffer from a psychological dysfunction. 26% of these lawyers are reported to have depression and anxiety. Although each individual, and his or her struggles with mental health, is unique, there’s a considerable chance that the high stress levels associated with practicing law exacerbate the high degrees of anxiety reported by attorneys in the United States.
Managing Stress and Making Time
How, then, can working professionals mitigate the harmful habits that can often accompany their chosen careers? This question is particularly relevant to women and men whose familial responsibilities must be prioritized alongside their careers. Time and time again, women professionals, in particular, are disproportionately asked “how they balance it all” upon reaching certain career landmarks. The truth? Women and men who must take care of family responsibilities alongside their professional obligations have even more pressure on their hands regarding time management. Although each family, professional situation, and individual is different, there’s no question that the 21st century has made more time management tools than ever available to lawyers. We won’t pretend that an effective software, be it our own or another, is the only key to a successful, healthy, and fulfilling work-life balance. However, it is a crucial stepping stone towards opening the door to more free time for self-care, hobbies, and family time.
The loved ones of dedicated professionals often feel the residual stress upon their shoulders, as well, often due to missed opportunities for quality time spent together. In fact, both David and Ori, our CEO and CTO, are married to attorneys. A major contributing factor to their inspiration in creating PracticePanther was the combined desire not just to help their wives manage their stressful professional responsibilities, but also to give their spouses avenues to automate their time and, thus, better manage their availability for family time and personal hobbies.
Legal practice management software, whether it’s ours or another, is by no means the only avenue available to attorneys to better manage, and thus open up their time. In fact, there are countless automation tools available to all professionals looking to simplify their workload and save time. Luckily, there are excellent resources available to assist anyone in cultivating the hobbies that matter most to them, be it after-work tai chi lessons, beginners’ pottery classes, sunrise hikes through a local park, or family fun days, the countless memory-making activities out in the world shouldn’t evade those who wish to have fruitful careers. Neither should mental health resources, be it professional counseling, guided meditation, or a new gym membership, be unavailable due to your busy schedule.
Being dedicated to both your professional and personal life will require sacrifices; that is inevitable. However, a balanced lifestyle should not come at the price of your general wellness. Now more than ever, there are countless tools available to make sure that the various facets of your life are given their due time, effort, and attention.